Course Design Principles for Building Inclusive Higher Education Systems

WP2 of the IncluMusic project, titled "Course Design Principles for Building Inclusive Higher Education Systems," aimed to create training courses for educational professionals to foster inclusive higher music education for students with special educational needs (SEN). This initiative was designed to provide teachers, administrative staff, and academic tutors with the necessary competencies to accommodate SEN students effectively.

The work package involved several key activities:

  • Research on existing training practices (A2.1)
  • Co-design sessions to formulate design principles and content (A2.2 and A2.3)
  • Focus groups with experts to validate these principles (A2.4)
  • Finalization of the design principles and course content (A2.5)
  • Proposals for comprehensive training courses (A2.6)

These activities led to the development of a provisional six-module framework, which was refined into a final course structure. The curriculum was structured around core Design Principles, including empathy, flexibility, creativity, and inclusive student engagement, alongside methodological and specific strategies for teaching SEN students.

The project's research phase highlighted several good practices from various European institutions, such as:

  • The Sibelius Academy's course on Special Education in the Arts in Finland, which integrated the Orff method with music creation.
  • Germany's Master's degree in Inclusive Music Education / Community Music at the Katholische Universität Eichstät-Ingolstadt, with a focus on diversity and social justice.
  • Ireland's University of Limerick's Master in Community Music program, emphasizing practical skills and community music development.
  • Italy's LUMSA University's Master in Academic Tutor specialized in Inclusive Music Didactics, covering disability studies and music pedagogy.

Further, Liverpool Hope University in the UK offered a joint degree in Music and Special Educational Needs Education, while Berklee Valencia in Spain advanced inclusive excellence through its Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The needs analysis interviews conducted with various stakeholders from conservatoires across Europe identified prevalent BES types, challenges such as insufficient training resources, and the need for inclusive policies and support systems. These interviews informed the development of a curriculum that addressed the specific needs and challenges identified.

The focus groups played a crucial role in validating the Design Principles, ensuring they were comprehensive and clear. They also highlighted the need for more inclusive assessment methods, clearer definitions for SEN, and a stronger focus on educational obstacles.

The finalized Design Principles Framework and the proposed training courses were meticulously reviewed and were set to address the nuances of inclusive education, including legal aspects, cultural sensitivities, and practical teaching methods. The project aimed to bridge the gap between policies and practice, ensuring that inclusivity was not just a concept but an actionable practice in music education.

This synthesis of the WP2 activities and outcomes provides a condensed overview of the IncluMusic project’s efforts to develop a robust and inclusive educational framework for higher music education. It encapsulates the collaborative research, design, validation, and proposal stages that have contributed to a comprehensive approach to SEN education in music, reflecting a diverse and inclusive ethos.

Please find at the link the final versions of the

1) Design Principles Framework

2) Proposal of training courses

3) Curriculum division