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IZeF-RG Inclusion

(Speaker: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann)


The country-wide implementation of inclusion in Germany has been one of the most comprehensive school reforms in recent decades with hardly any other school policy warranting such controversy and attention (Grosche, 2015). Since the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006), establishing inclusive educational systems to enable all schoolchildren to participate in general education has constituted a central educational policy mandate (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, 2011a; 2011b; Degener & Diehl, 2015). Due to this mandate, the organisational structure of the German school system has been undergoing change, e.g. through the partial dissolution of separating systems (e.g. special needs schools) and the development of inclusive settings. This has led to an increase in the combined schooling of pupils, with and without special educational needs (SFB; Klemm, 2015). This restructuring of the German school system has led to changes in the profiles of teachers with respect to their duties and responsibilities, particularly with regard to the increasing integration of general and special educational expertise (Kultusministerkonferenz, 2011; Melzer & Hillenbrand, 2015). In this context, Moser and colleagues (2011) speak of a "readjustment of the professional standards and skills in special needs education for inclusive settings" (Moser et al., 2011, p. 143). Also for teachers in general schools, the implementation of inclusion goes hand in hand with further professional development, which is also reflected in changes in the courses of study at many universities in Germany. Since not all teachers are equally prepared with respect to managing these tasks, this readjustment has resulted in a need for professional training for inclusive education, which ideally should already begin in the first training phase. Teachers in inclusive settings must therefore also acquire competences to be able to deal appropriately with the corresponding requirements emerging from new areas of responsibility, while special needs teachers have to be able to adapt their specific competences in such a way that they can be transferred to a new setting under changed conditions. With respect to inclusive education, one possibility to qualify teachers in the aforementioned areas, and thereby prepare them better for the new requirements, is process-supplementary, target group-specific advanced training for inclusive education (Leko & Roberts, 2014). This is, thus, an important prerequisite for the professional and effective design of inclusive education for all learners (Jordan, Schwartz & McGhie-Richmond, 2009). So far, however, there has been a lack of positively evaluated advanced education programmes in German-speaking countries that qualify teachers with regard to the implementation of inclusion by drawing on expertise from special needs education, educational science and teaching subject specific content. The projects of the IZeF-RG process these requirements in the context of national or district-wide, school-related or university level projects. In addition, multi-stage support concepts, such as the response-to-intervention approach or the school-wide-positive-behavior-support approach, offer a potential for development that has largely been unavailed of in schools, especially with respect to the professional approach to dealing with challenging learning behaviours.

The following research projects can be found in the IZeF-RG Inclusion:

Moki „inclusive“ – The child in view

Multi-professional and cross-system inclusion concept for children and young people of school age

In addition to the family environment, the school environment is a decisive factor for the development of children and young people. However, if we take a look at those with a higher need for support, the school offers on their own are usually not sufficient. Here, a prevention-oriented cooperation of intra- and extra-curricular professions is central in order to provide children, young people and their families with the best possible help. Therefore, education and training partnerships play a decisive role, which include not only the parents and the intra-school professions but also the school environment with its support systems. As a result, prevention-oriented, coordinated and high-quality support for children and young people as well as families requires cooperation between the various actors established in the school infrastructure. In terms of co-constructive cooperation, this should be characterised by an intensive professional exchange between the various actors, in which they relate their individual knowledge to each other, thereby acquiring new knowledge and developing joint strategies for action. The aim of the project is to establish and evaluate a coordinated and multi-professional cooperation between youth welfare services, schools and the municipal integration services at the school as a place of life, including the family system.

Project team: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne), Representative Prof. Dr. Karolina Urton (University of Cologne), Sophia Schmitz (University of Cologne)

Cooperation partners:
Bergische Diakonie gGmbH, City of Monheim on the Rhine, Primary school on Lerchenweg with its all-day sponsor AWO Bezirksverband Niederrhein e.V., Peter-Ustinov Gesamtschule

Project duration: 2020-2023

PARTI - "Participation and Recognition in Response-To-Intervention"

In exaggerated terms, inclusion models are either participation-oriented or evidence-based, but not both at the same time. In particular, the evidence-based response-to-intervention (RTI) step-by-step model has ignited criticism, since RTI, by strictly separating primary and special education, leads to a relinquishing of the responsibility for pupils with disabilities and, thus, puts their participation in education at risk. The PARTI project presents a participation-oriented T-RTI model in which teachers of both professions plan and conduct their teaching simultaneously in a participation-oriented and evidence-based manner. In a quasi-experimental design with a wait list control group, primary school and special education teachers undergo advanced training. It is expected that such advanced training will enable teachers to increasingly relate their respective expertise to one another, thereby more effectively developing inclusive pedagogical knowledge and action, and that this will lead to positive effects on the pupil level in the long term.

Project team:
University of Wuppertal: Prof. Dr. Michael Grosche (Head, location manager), Prof. Dr. Christian Huber, Prof.‘in Dr.‘in Kathrin Fussangel, Prof.‘in Dr.‘in Cornelia Gräsel, Prof. Dr. Friedrich Linderkamp, Markus Spilles

University of Cologne: Prof. Dr. Johannes König (Location manager), Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann, Prof. Dr. Dr. Kai Kaspar, Prof.‘in Dr.‘in Conny Melzer, Prof. Dr. Christian Rietz, Dr.‘in Sarah Strauß, Katharina Neroznikova, Gino Casale & Johanna Krull

Project duration: 2018-2021

Further links: Website of the BMBF | Project page at the BMBF

Scientific monitoring of the Mettmann district (NRW) concerning inclusive schooling (Mettmann 3.0)

The continued scientific monitoring of inclusive schools in the Mettmann district is composed of five major subprojects:

Subproject 1: Continuation of the already existing, positively evaluated concept of deductive stimulation for preschoolers to facilitate the transition into school, as well as the opening of all daycare centres in the district with the objective of sustainability. Especially considering children at increased psychosocial risk. (MultiMo KiTa)

Subproject 2: Implementation and process-related monitoring of a multilevel, multimodal approach (MultiMo) to support proper handling of students‘ behavioral problems in schools of the Mettmann district. (MultiMo School)

Subproject 3: Scientific monitoring of universal schools and support centres aiming to take into account the social-emotional development of the students in terms of mental health, as well as the students‘ learning development.

Subproject 4: Continuing the implementation of the virtual schoolboard in schools of the Mettmann district and close linking to subprojects 1 and 2.

Subproject 5: Resumption of the process-accompanying qualification of pedagogic professionals within the context of preschool- and school-based inclusion, as well as the development and implementation of qualification modules for process-accompanied support of the specific acquisition of expertise relevant for special education teachers, both in collective learning and support centres.

Project team:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wilbert (University of Cologne), Karolina Urton (University of Cologne), Johanna Krull (University of Cologne), Tatjana Leidig (University of Cologne), Max Bourkel (University of Cologne), Jule Behr (University of Cologne)

Project duration: 2019-2021

Multimo - Multiprofessional, multimodal and multilevel diagnostics and support for externalising behavioural problems in school

Externalising behaviours usually appear before entering school and reinforce unequal starting conditions of students. The support of affected children represents a great potential not only for the performance and social participation of these children themselves, but also has an effect on the quality of the entire teaching, the social climate and, last but not least, on the perception of stress and the risk of burnout among educational staff. From a special needs education perspective, the Multimo project can therefore make a significant contribution to the development of inclusive settings and health prevention for children and educational staff.

Project team:
Research team: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne), Charlotte Hanisch (University of Cologne), Johanna Krull (University of Cologne), Dr. Dennis Hövel (University of Cologne), Stefanie Richard (University of Cologne), Dr. Gino Casale (University of Wuppertal), Dr. Tobias Hagen (University of Cologne), Hanna Meyer (University of Cologne), Leonie Verbeck (University of Cologne), Katrin Floß (University of Cologne), Marie Schottel (University of Cologne)

In cooperation with: Prof. Dr. Manfred Döpfner (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Holger Pfaff (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Robert Volpe (Northeastern University Boston/USA)

Funding: Innovation pool for special needs education at the University of Cologne | Curative Education Academy for Educational Assistance and Learning Support (Cologne)

Project duration: 2019-2021

Literature (selection):
Hanisch, C., Casale, G., Volpe, R. J., Briesch, A. M., Richard, S., Meyer, H., Hövel, D. C., Hagen, T. , Krull, J., & Hennemann, T. (2019, online first). Gestufte Förderung in der Grundschule: Konzeption eines mehrstufigen, multimodalen Förderkonzeptes bei expansivem Problemverhalten. Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung.

"On the Way to an Inclusive School System" - A Qualification Measure for facilitators in North Rhine-Westphalia

Within the framework of a large-scale qualification procedure of the Ministry for School and Continuing Education of North Rhine-Westphalia, approx. 300 facilitators are being trained in the interdisciplinary areas of emotional-social development, language and learning. The measure is being evaluated by the Chair for Educational Assistance and Social-Emotional Development Support in cooperation with a working group from the University of Oldenburg. Thereby the quality of qualification and further training as well as the individual effects are to be collected four times during the survey. In addition, an implementation analysis is to be carried out, which will look at the conditions that promote or hinder the implementation of the measure.

Further information can be found on the project homepage.

Project Management: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne) & Prof. Dr. Clemens Hillenbrand (University of Oldenburg)

Project duration: 2011 - 2015

Literature (selection):
Hennemann, T., Hillenbrand, C., Casale, G., & Hagen, T. (2015). Anwendungsbezogene Materialien der landesweiten Qualifizierung »Auf dem Weg zum inklusiven Schulsystem«. Medienbrief Lernmedien und Inklusion des LVR-Zentrums für Medien und Bildung, (1), 17-19.

Hennemann, T., Casale, G., Fitting-Dahlmann, K., Hövel, D. C., Hagen, T., Leidig, T., Melzer, C., Grosche, M., Wilbert, J., Hillenbrand, C., & Vierbuchen, M. C. (2017). Konzeption, Evaluation und erste Befunde eines landesweiten Qualifizierungsprogrammes zur Umsetzung von Inklusion in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, 68(11), 532-544.

"Coaches for inclusive education - Professional inclusion of life-experienced, severely disabled academics to support the school-based inclusion of disabled pupils"

The project "Coaches for inclusive education" has had two basic objectives. 1. the funding of inclusion in regular schools and 2. the professional integration of severely disabled, predominantly older academics. The means to achieve these goals was the conception of a new job profile “Coaches for inclusive education”, which instrumentalizes the own disability experience supplemented by a broad training as a basis for an advisory activity in the field of school inclusion.

Project team:
Annika Bartling (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne) in Cooperation with mittendrin e.V.

Project duration: 2015-2018

Literature (selection):
Bartling, A., & Hennemann, T. (2018). Wesentliche Erkenntnisse der wissenschaftlichen Begleitevaluation. In E.-M. Thoms, & S. von der Burg (Hrsg.), Coaches für inklusive Bildung Menschen mit Behinderung unterstützen inklusive Schulen - Ein Projektbericht (S. 71-93). Books on Demand: Norderstedt.

Development and evaluation of a combined model of diagnostics and support for the learning and social behaviour of pupils

The systematic combination of diagnostics and support has a positive influence on the effectiveness of school-based support and can, thus, make a significant contribution to the prevention of behavioural disorders (e.g. Grosche & Volpe, 2013; Huber & Grosche, 2012; Volpe, Briesch & Chafouleas, 2013). There is still potential for development in German-speaking countries in the case of such a systematic combination, which is characterised by the application of universal behavioural screenings or the examination of concrete support measures through behavioural diagnostics (e.g. Casale & Hennemann, 2015; Grosche, Hennemann, Volpe & Casale, 2015). In an international research project conducted by the Universities of Cologne and Wuppertal and the Northeastern University in Boston, MA (USA), a model for the systematic combination of diagnostics and support for the German-speaking region is being developed and evaluated. Based on a universal diagnosis by means of behavioral screenings, evidence-based behavioral support measures are to be implemented in schools, such as the “KlasseKinderSpiel” (class child game) (Hillenbrand & Pütz, 2008), and their effectiveness evaluated in individual cases by means of behavioral progression diagnostics. In order to optimise the model with regard to a successful implementation, all actors involved (e.g. teachers, school principals) should be involved in the process of (further) development (Hagermoser Sanetti & Kratochwill, 2009).

Project team:
Dr. Gino Casale (University of Wuppertal)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne)
Prof. Dr. Michael Grosche (University of Wuppertal)
Prof. Dr. Robert J. Volpe (Northeastern University, Boston, USA)
Prof. Dr. Amy M. Briesch (Northeastern University, Boston, USA)

Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP)/ International School Psychology Association (ISPA): International Research Grant (Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Michael Grosche)
Jacobs Foundation: Marbach Residence Program (PI: Prof. Dr. Robert J. Volpe)
Special Needs Education Academy: Project Funding of Innovative Research Projects

Project duration: 2014-2020

Literature (selection):
Casale, G., Hennemann, T., Volpe, R. J., Briesch, A. M., & Grosche, M. (2015). Generalisierbarkeit und Zuverlässigkeit von Direkten Verhaltensbeurteilungen des Lern- und Arbeitsverhaltens in einer inklusiven Grundschulklasse. Empirische Sonderpädagogik, 7(3), 258-268.

Grosche, M., & Volpe, R. J. (2013). Response-to-intervention (RTI) as a model to facilitate inclusion for students with learning and behaviour problems. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 28(3), 254-269.

Volpe, R. J., Briesch, A. M., & Chafouleas, S. M. (2010). Linking screening for emotional and behavioral problems to problem-solving efforts: An adaptive model of behavioral assessment. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 35(4), 240-244.

Supporting primary schools on the way to an inclusive system - teaching and methodology in challenging teaching-learning situations

Over a period of one and a half years, the University of Cologne has been accompanying two schools from the Cologne district on their way to an inclusive system. The primary goal is the systematic development of the professional agency of teachers and specialists in pedagogy in inclusive contexts. The focus of the entire project is the development of concrete teaching and methodological measures for schools on the basis of the analysis of the learning requirements of the pupils and the concrete situation on site.
The study focuses, on the one hand, on the question of feasibility and, on the other, on the question of effectiveness. Within the framework of a formative and summative evaluation, effects on teachers and pupils are examined and influencing factors in the context of the quality of implementation are analysed. The University of Cologne offers a total of nine continuing education modules in which the teaching staff and other pedagogical specialists from schools participate. The modules focus on "team development/class planning in a team", "classroom management in challenging teaching-learning situations in (subject) instruction", "collecting learning prerequisites as a basis for developmental and subject-related lesson planning" and "consistently planning classes inclusively through the combination of the subject and developmental levels".

Further information can be found on the project homepage:

Project team: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Matthias Grünke
In cooperation with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes König

Main facilitators: Sol. i. H. Tatjana Leidig und Dr. Tobias Hagen

Project duration: 1 1/2 years

Literature (selection):
Leidig, T., Hennemann, T., van Zadelhoff, F., Grünke, M., Rauh, B., & Rauh, N. (2019). Wie kann es gelingen - Nutzen und (Erfolgs-)Faktoren einer prozessbegleitenden Fortbildung auf dem Weg zur inklusiven Schule aus Sicht der pädagogischen Fachkräfte. Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, 70(4), 178-193.

Spilles, M., Hagen, T., & Hennemann, T. (2019). Wirkungen einer tutoriellen Leseflüssigkeitsförderung auf die soziale Integration von Kindern mit externalisierenden Verhaltensproblemen sowie auf die Lesegeschwindigkeit von Tutoren und Tutanden. Vierteljahresschrift für Heilpädagogik und ihre Nachbargebiete, 88(1), 44-57.

Spilles, M., Hagen, T., & Hennemann, T. (2018). Tutorielle Leseverfahren mit Grundschulkindern mit externalisierenden Verhaltensproblemen. Empirische Sonderpädagogik, 10(1), 39-71.

Scientific support in the district of Mettmann - "School on the way to inclusion"

In its project "School on the Way to Inclusion", the Mettmann district is transforming the school system to an inclusive one, as explicitly demanded by the UN, in a consistent and process-oriented way. In recognition of the complexity of the process of transformation to an inclusive school, the universities of Cologne and Oldenburg are providing scientific support.

Further information can be found on the project homepage.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hennemann (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wilbert (University of Potsdam), Prof. Dr. Clemens Hillenbrand (University of Oldenburg)

Project duration: 2010-2018

Literature (selection):
Hennemann, T., Hillenbrand, C., Fitting-Dahlmann, K., Wilbert, J., & Urton, K. (2018). Auf dem Weg zum inklusiven Schulsystem – Konzeption der wissenschaftlichen Begleitevaluation. Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, 69(1), 4-16.

Krull, J., Urton, K., Wilbert, J., & Hennemann, T. (2018). Der Kreis Mettmann auf dem Weg zum inklusiven Schulsystem – zentrale Ergebnisse der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung. Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, 69(1), 17-39.

Krull, J., Wilbert, J., & Hennemann, T. (2018). Does social exclusion by classmates lead to behaviour problems and learning difficulties or vice versa? A cross-lagged panel analysis. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 33(2), 235–253.

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