1st Edition

In Search of Education, Participation and Inclusion Embrace the Uncertain

By Jonathan Rix Copyright 2024
    214 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Search of Education, Participation and Inclusion offers an original, coherent and inspiring approach to the delivery of education for all. Jonathan Rix, backed by extensive research, builds upon his wide-ranging professional and personal experiences to explore three conceptual innovations – models of certainty and uncertainty, the while of participation and communities of provision. Through these innovations, the reader examines the challenges faced by school systems in delivering inclusive and participatory experiences of learning.

    Topics explored include:

    • theories of education, participation and inclusion
    • the constraints on our education systems as they struggle to deliver certainty in a world of uncertainty
    • how the challenges of our systems collaborate with inequality to produce marginalised experiences of participation
    • the exclusionary nature of our communities of provision
    • how we can understand and enhance moments of participation
    • how embracing uncertainty can lead to more meaningful participation and towards more inclusive communities
    • policies and practices that enhance the possibility of education for all

    This is a crucial read for any educator, educational leader or researcher with an interest in the development of innovative theory and practice in the fields of inclusive education and participatory practice.

    1. What does it take to embrace? Part 1 – Being apart;  2. The embrace of certainty;  3. Where uncertainty leads?  4. Participating with inequality;  5. Seeking fairer participation;  6. Building exculsionary communities;  7. Including ourselves;  8. What does it take to embrace?;  Part 2 – Being a-part


    Jonathan Rix is a professor of Participation & Learning Support at The Open University and Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, having taught for many years in schools and other community settings. His award-winning research has included groundbreaking participatory projects involving disabled people, multi-national studies of special education, explorations of effective pedagogy in mainstream schools and parental experiences of services. Among his numerous publications is Must Inclusion Be Special?, also published by Routledge.

    I have found the book that I wish I had written.  Written to be read, considered and reread, In Search of Education, Participation and Inclusion: Embrace the Uncertain is the most refreshing and thought-full text in our field that I have read for some time.  At the outset it is a thoroughly engaging, provocative and scholarly work that presses the reader to account for their own educational thinking and practices.  Rix offers absorbing narratives to lead us into very accessible explanations of the assumptions we hold that direct our thinking about and practices in education.  Using the metaphor of “embrace” we are invited to explore and analyse our own beliefs and sets of relationships, conceptual and practical, with education and schooling.  Drawing on Dewey, amongst many others (I did say this is a meticulously scholarly book), we are presented with education as a means for applying certitude in an increasingly uncertain world. Jonathan Rix lithely exposes obviously ridiculous foundations of the way we have gone about the business of educating and schooling while reassuring the reader that we can, by “embracing the uncertain” do it another way.  In doing so, we will untether ourselves from the misadventure of schooling in its present form and create opportunities for children and young people free from the very thin identities we have bestowed upon them that hinder learning.  Those around me will certainly be urged to procure and read this thought-changing book.    

    Roger Slee, PhD, Professor in Disability and Inclusion, University of Leeds, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Inclusive Education

    At a time when educational outcomes are the tail wagging the dog, when research gurus promote off-the-shelf solutions and top-down approaches to solve educational inequities, when curriculum means follow a textbook, and when research fetishize certainty through experimental designs and big data analysis, Jonathan Rix challenges the reader to do the opposite: Embrace uncertainty. In Search of Education, Participation and Inclusion offers a fresh look at educational exclusion and its possible solutions. This book, filled with intimate stories and thoughtful reflections, argues that uncertainty led us to an unimagined path that can be more expansive and inclusive than those we imagine in the first place. Those looking for easy (certain) solutions to complex educational exclusions search elsewhere; those who have the courage to embrace the uncertain and serpentine path towards a more just and inclusive education, look no further.

    Federico R. Waitoller, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Special Education at The University of Illinois at Chicago, Associate Editor, Review of Educational Research 

    In Search of Education, Participation and Inclusion provides the reader with an excellent critical overview of current theories and practices concerning inclusive education. It looks at this relevant subject from multiple perspectives. It navigates the complex and often conflictual debate about inclusive education by developing an exciting dialogue with other disciplines that helps review and expand our frame of reference regarding this topic. In addition, it goes straight to the point in addressing some of the most pressing questions that researchers and practitioners usually struggle with when they aim to secure all children more equal and fair opportunities for education. Finally, the author effectively supports reflection on educational research and practices with powerful examples taken from his wide professional and personal experience. Accordingly, while the book helps the reader achieve a thorough understanding of the complex problems inclusive education faces today, it also provides an authoritative guide to those working in this crucial field.

    Fabio Dovigo, PhD, Professor, Educational Psychology Department, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Founding Editor, European Journal of Inclusive Education

    I found this book absorbing, funny, moving and thought provoking. As educationalists, the book challenges us to stop wanting, needing, planning for and expecting certainty, and it calls on us to resist fixedness in our pursuit of a “better” way. I have learned to question my own dependence on certainty because as Jonathan Rix explains so eloquently, we can keep education open to possibilities if we go where uncertainty leads us. In this book we also learn that uncertainty (rather than certainty) is the substrate for developing more inclusive and participative ways of being through education. The author employs anecdote, theory, philosophy, drawings, diagrams, models and polemic to support and entertain us in our journey toward relinquishing certainty in favour of more fluid ways of being. Most of all, the book reminds us that singular, monolithic, authoritarian and fixed positions on what education is and how it should unfold, are useless. Please read the book. It will inspire you!

    Deborah Robinson, EdD (SFHEA), Professor of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, Institute of Education, University of Derby