The department "Inclusive Education“ deals with inclusion and its implementation in different educational contexts. In a humanitarian understanding, we are concerned with questions of equal opportunities and participation of people with individual resources and potentials as well as evidence-based further development of an inclusive society. The primary research interests lie in the fields of inclusive education and special or remedial education. Special consideration is also given to the increasing digitalisation as well as the handling and use of information and communication technologies in teaching, diagnostics and support.
Currently, the staff of the department is focusing on the following main areas of research:
- Evaluation of inclusive education in schools and other institutions
- Professionalisation of teachers and school assistants
- Social-emotional development of children and adolescents, interventions for students with social-emotional difficulties
- Promotion of health literacy in students
- Interventions in inclusive classrooms to promote reading development in general and for students with German as a second language in particular,
- Assessment tools in the areas of language, reading and social-emotional development (paper-pencil and digital)
- Quality of life and housing for people with disabilities
- Early detection of dementia in people with intellectual disability
In recent years, several longitudinal studies (SILKE, LARS), studies on cooperative learning and cooperative teaching methods (KoopLEA), research on attitudes towards inclusion of students with special educational needs and/or refugees, and participatory action research on inclusive practices in the classroom (ReHaRe) have been conducted and assessment instruments (vocabulary, reading skills) have been developed and published (GraWo, DiLe-D, GaLeV).
The department of “Inclusive Education” has carried out several international, as well as national projects, both as coordinating and partner institution (with England, Denmark, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia, Norway etc.). These research projects were funded by various international (Erasmus+, foundations) or national (FWF, BMBWF, Land Steiermark, Gesundheitsfonds Steiermark, AK Steiermark) funding bodies. Regionally, the department works closely with the universities of teacher education and initiated the founding of the Research Centre for Inclusive Education (FZIB) in 2020. In addition to the aforementioned cooperation partners, the department also works closely with other institutions such as schools or associations that deal with inclusion.
Methodologically, we use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Participatory research with children as well as with people with disabilities is a particular concern of ours.
Networks in which the research department is involved and active:
European Literacy Network (COST Action IS1401), Austrian Platform for Health Literacy (ÖPGK), Working Group on Empirical Special Education Research (AESF), Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), European Educational Research Association (EERA), German Society for Educational Science (DGFE), German Society for Psychology (DGPS), German Network for Evidence-Based Medicine (EbM Network), Austrian Society for Research and Development in Education (ÖFEB).
In addition to its research activities, the department is also involved in teaching. In the Development Network South-East, we coordinate the Bachelor's and Master's programmes of the teaching profession “Specialisation in Inclusive Education” along with the universities of teacher education. We participate in various further and in-service training formats, including the university course "Health Promotion and Health Education".
Finally, our department (further) develops, coordinates and offers the Master's programme "Inclusive Education". In addition to theoretical basics and the examination of empirical research methods, this study programme teaches an appreciative and resource-oriented basic attitude towards dealing with diversity and deals with the implementation of inclusion in different areas of society.