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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Leadership for Inclusion
Module Code SI401
School 74
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Sinead McCauley Lambe
Semester 2: Sinead McCauley Lambe
Autumn: Sinead McCauley Lambe
Module TeachersPaula Lehane
Sinead McCauley Lambe
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The aim of this module is to develop students' knowledge, skills and abilities in relation to their unique role as teachers in providing for the holistic development of all students, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). It also aims to explore how teachers can use this knowledge, skills and ability to influence others in their wider school community. The module will encourage students to critically reflect on their experiences as inclusive teachers in previous professional placements in order to develop more effective practices in their future careers. Students will think critically, analyse and solve previously encountered inequity challenges (e.g. including learners in literacy lessons in a way that does not result in marginalisation) both as individuals and in groups. To support this problem-solving approach, students will be shown how to locate and apply relevant research to support the development of effective, research-informed inclusive practices. Discussions on school structures (e.g. formal leadership roles/teams) and culture and the value of a collaborative approach in supportive inclusive practices will also be undertaken, with special emphasis on the interpersonal skills required in such a context. Particular emphasis will also be placed on the value of lifelong personal and professional learning and avenues to address this will be discussed in sessions e.g. co-teaching, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Droichead, Cosán, ILSA (Irish Learning Support Association), IATSE (Irish Association of Teachers in Special Education). Upon completion of this module, students should have a more in-depth understanding and awareness of their responsibilities and duties as inclusive practitioners, particularly in relation to collaboration and communication. They should also have the skills necessary to lead inclusive practice in schools.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically reflect on the nature and use of interpersonal skills to affect positive change in schools.
2. Identify personal leadership strengths and needs in light of past experiences on professional placements.
3. Locate and apply relevant research as appropriate to their teaching context, identifying, critically analysing and integrating new knowledge regarding curriculum, pedagogy and assessment into their practice
4. Critically review the leadership roles that may be assumed by primary school teachers for the effective inclusion of all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs.
5. Explore opportunities to volunteer (demonstrating leadership) and participate in formal and informal professional learning opportunities.
6. Understand and apply a problem based learning approach to addressing inclusive and special education issues in complex educational settings.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture8No Description
Workshop16Students working individually and in small groups on tasks related to the learning content. Work is recorded on cloud platforms e.g. Google Docs
Independent Study40Reading and viewing resources before and after workshops/lectures
Assignment Completion45Completion of Assignment
Group work16Collaborative group work discussing complex classroom scenarios (online discussions/ independent study)
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Understanding Leadership in Schools
Presentation on what is meant by leadership in schools and how different forms of leadership can emerge e.g. principal, assistant principal vs. subject experts and non-positional roles etc. Discussions on how leadership can be practised in school and how such practices have visible effects e.g. school culture, staffrooms. Students are asked to consider how they can be leaders of inclusive practice in schools.

Clarifying your Vision
Individually, and in collaboration with colleagues, students are invited to reflect on their attitudes, and beliefs about teaching and learning in relation to inclusive education which inform and guide their professional practice. Students are asked to consider how their vision or ‘ideal’ can inform their inclusive classroom practices and how they interact with other relevant stakeholders e.g. pupils, parents, colleagues, the school principal, school management, co-professionals and the wider community. Leadership involves the enactment of these values.

Leadership as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) and beyond
Review of the role of Professional Learning Communities in supporting effective teaching and learning in classrooms by supporting the life-long learning journey of a teacher using reflective, collegial and learner centred approaches. Discussion on other relevant avenues for professional development as well e.g. Droichead, Cosán, ILSA (Irish Learning Support Association), IATSE (Irish Association of Teachers in Special Education). Students are encouraged to reflect on what should happen after they have engaged in new relevant learning i.e. leadership involves sharing knowledge etc. and how this can be achieved through a range of tools/avenues.

Problem Based Learning
Review of Grudnoff et al.’s (2017) six facets for equity as a way of viewing challenges to inclusive education and practice. Analysing classroom based equity/inclusion challenges using a problem based learning approach. SWOT approach and Action Plans are used to support and organise learners’ approaches to addressing such issues in a systematic way that supports reflection and review. Review of tools and approaches (e.g. digital tools, teachers designed tasks, pupil voice) that can conduct an ethical, systematic, holistic and strengths based assessment of pupil needs. Extrapolating and synthesising key information from pupil work samples to inform SWOT analyses/Action Plans.

Understanding Change in Schools
Students will understand the complexity of the change process and examine the main features of the implementation of deep changes. From there, they will consider the principles of leadership for change. Using groupwork/online for a, students will relate the principles of leading learning/change and inclusion. The role of culture, context, structure, strategy, processes, policy, agency and systems in the change process will also be considered through an inclusive lens.

Working with Others
Reviewing the role of different stakeholders in the Irish education system e.g. pupils, parents, colleagues, SNAs, the school principal, school management, co-professionals and the wider community. Discussion on different strategies for developing positive relationships and communicating effectively with these stakeholders.

Communication and Relationship Building in Schools
Presentation of a range of complex classroom based interpersonal scenarios and reflecting on possible approaches to addressing them. Evaluating the potential efficacy of different communication/collaborative approaches to addressing the states issues.

Gathering evidence to inform practice and personal development
Students will be given an overview of how to search relevant Irish literature in relation to inclusive/special education (e.g. REACH database). Students will be encouraged to engage in various forms of data gathering (e.g. reflections, student work, professional conversation) and critically analyse and evaluate relevant knowledge and research so as to make a plan moving forward.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentStudents must reflect on their most recent professional placement to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats towards developing and implementing an inclusive pedagogical approach considering the Grundnoff et al.’s (2017) facets of equity. Students must carry out a SWOT Analysis and devise an action plan to address their equity challenge. Students must then use O’Driscoll’s (2007) template of reflection to consider what they have learned throughout this problem solving process and how this will inform their actions as professionals in the future.100%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • MacBeath, J., Dempster, J., Frost, D., Johnson, G., & Swaffield, S.: 2018, Strengthening the connections between leadership and learning: Challenges to policy, school and classroom practice.,
  • Harrison Berg, J.: 2018, Leading In Sync: Teacher Leaders and Principals Working Together for Student Learning,
  • Yukl, G. A.: 2013, Leadership in organizations.,
  • Travers, J., Balfe, T., Butler, C., Day, T. Dupont, M., McDaid, R., O'Donnell, M., & Prunty, A.: 2010, Addressing the challenges and barriers to inclusion in Irish schools, Dublin: St Patrick's College, Special Education Department., Dublin,
  • Driscoll, J.: 2007, Supported reflective learning: the essence of clinical supervision?, Bailliere Tindall,
Other Resources

52133, Video, Centre for School Leadership, 0, Fireside Chat with Fiona King., https://vimeo.com/479798042, 52134, Journal Database, REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland., 2022, REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland., https://reachjournal.ie/index.php/reach,
Programme or List of Programmes
BEDBachelor of Education

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