Learning the Pedagogy of Potential: Social Inclusion and Teacher Education

  • Ian ThompsonEmail author
Living reference work entry


Potential in education suggests the possibilities for learning and development for every child and young person. Yet the overwhelming evidence in England is that the potential of many young people is not currently met by school systems. The strong link between social disadvantage and poor educational outcomes is well documented in the research literature as have been the effects of poverty on young people’s health and well-being. Evidence from empirical research studies and statistical analyses has repeatedly shown that the most economically disadvantaged students with a special educational need have the poorest educational outcomes in England in terms of educational achievement and emotional well-being. England is the only jurisdiction in the United Kingdom (UK) where education is directly controlled by the education department of the central UK government. It is also, arguably, the jurisdiction where neoliberal rhetoric and neoconservative practice is most entrenched and where social inclusion is most threatened. For these reasons, England is an interesting context in which to explore the challenges for initial teacher education (ITE) programs to respond to rapidly changing and increasingly exclusionary policy and practice in the schools that preservice teachers may encounter in their teaching practice and future employment. This chapter argues that it is the responsibility of schools, teachers, and ITE programs to help reduce inequalities and promote social inclusion. A broad definition of social inclusion is adopted within the context of school education. The chapter sets the context of social inclusion and practices of social exclusion in the English education system. It examines approaches to social inclusion and social exclusion in ITE programs and considers questions of performativity within a dual stated commitment to accountability and inclusion. The chapter then considers the pedagogy of social learning in inclusive schools.


Social inclusion Initial teacher education Pedagogy Potential Performativity Disadvantage School exclusion Social situation of development Sociocultural Vygotsky 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • David John Matheson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health, Education and Well-beingUniversity of WolverhamptonWalsallUK

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