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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union 

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Windows into inclusion – building common understanding

HAMK Give Team arranged a hybrid webinar called “Windows into inclusion – building common understanding” on the 16th of February 2023. There were over 60 participants to hear and comment about inclusion. The webinar lasted two hours and was divided into two parts: an introduction to inclusion including a presentation of the project and expert lecture and then a panel discussion with the conclusion.

The main window at the webinar was inclusion and how we can build common understanding. How can all people get involved in society, labour market, and vocational education? Sanna Heino introduced participants to think about their own perceptions. How do we see inclusion? Are our windows into inclusion open or closed? Are they in sunshine or shadow?

Sanna Ryökkynen presented the results of her doctoral thesis “They did not give up on me: Vocational students’ perceptions of the special support in their studying.” Sanna highlighted in her presentation a need to recognise each student’s potential: Students with special needs want to be depicted by significant others in a broad-minded and positive way not only as students with special needs but as human beings with valuable skills and capabilities. It is not enough to understand the special needs of the students to change the world, but we need education policy measures and practices which are disconnected from the economic growth and efficacy.

 Sanna’s presentation gave a lot of thought to the participants. It also got praise from the audience.

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Sanna Ryökkynen presenting her research results

The climax of the webinar was a panel discussion. There were four participants to discuss inclusion from different points of view. The audience heard vocational student’s, student’s of special needs teacher education, labour market’s and vocational special education institution’s experiences and opinions about inclusion. Simo Uusinoka hosted versatile, good mood, and positive panel discussion which dealt with past, present, and future. Finally, Simo asked about the inclusion fantasies of debaters. The student crystallised fantasy very touching: “The best fantasy is realizable. For me, it is to get a good job where I enjoy and can be part of a work community.”

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The panel discussion

In this webinar audience and we in the HAMK team got many ideas and new thoughts about inclusion. The webinar showed how important it is to continue discussion and share experiences and opinions. Hopefully, we can hear students’ voices still more in the future. Their experiences are very valuable for all discussions and arrangements. Probably each of us windows into inclusion opened a little bit more after this webinar.  Maybe someone was able to open a new window into inclusion.

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Sanna Heino and Simo Uusinoka summarizing the webinar

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