Teacher education in New Zealand: Perpetuating or rejecting ‘special’ education?

Teacher education in New Zealand: Perpetuating or rejecting ‘special’ education?

Gill Rutherford, PhD, University of Otago

Monday 12th October, 16:30, Stoddart-7513a

Please see below for information on an upcoming free Sheffield Institute of Education  (SIOE), Sheffield Hallam University External Research Seminar.

This event is free but your attendance needs to be confirmed  by emailing d.philliskirk@shu.ac.uk.

This seminar provides an overview of the work being done in a New Zealand teacher education programme to reveal and contest the hegemony of ‘special’ education ideology and tacit dichotomising of students as ‘normal’ or ‘special needs.’ Drawing from the theoretical frameworks of Disability Studies and Childhood Studies, student teachers are offered alternative ways of knowing that privilege the experiences of students who are routinely marginalized, in the hope that these counter-hegemonic narratives will foster more respectful understandings of every student’s inherent worth, competence and rights. Student teachers’ work to date conveys promise that some may enter the profession unfettered by the shadow of special, and imbued with a commitment to teach and learn with all students, irrespective and respectful of difference.

Gill Rutherford, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Education and Disability Studies

University of Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand


A former high school teacher, Gill currently works in teacher education at the University of Otago, New Zealand. The overarching focus of her research, teaching and professional work is Inclusive Education and Disability Studies. Particular interests include the school experiences and perspectives of disabled students; student rights; the role of teacher aides in schools; student and qualified teachers’ thinking about disability; and inclusive teacher education.

Please let Daniel Philliskirk know of any access requirements.

Don’t forget details of Disability Research Forum (DRF) seminars can be found here.


Keep up to date with future seminars at http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/ceir/news-and-events?contype=event


About The Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

The Autism Centre is part of the Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion within the Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University. The Autism Centre promotes a view of autism as a different way of being. Whilst many people may live happy and accomplished lives with autism, different ways of being can challenge and confuse others. To help with understanding The Autism Centre delivers accredited courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. Its team of academics engage with research and consultancy and publish widely on the autism spectrum and disability.
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