School experiences of students with special educational needs in inclusive education settings in Azerbaijan

The study aims to examine school experiences of students with special
educational needs (SEN) in inclusive education settings in Azerbaijan.
The study sheds light on the peer relationship, a sense of school belonging
of students with SEN, and enablers and barriers they face in
practicing inclusive education. The current study was necessitated
due to the lack of sufficient knowledge and limited research on inclusive
education in Azerbaijan. In addition, the research paper addresses
students’ perspectives, and student participants were involved in the
study. The belongingness and social model of disability theories were
adapted to investigate school experiences of students with SEN. The
qualitative ethnographic design approach was used as a method to
uncover the research topic. Participant observation, informal interviews
were employed to investigate, explore and explain school experience
of students with SEN and explore. As a significant source of data,
participant observation and informal interviews were utilized. In addition,
casual conversations were held with class teachers to learn
students’ medical and educational backgrounds. The analyzed and
discussed study findings show that students with SEN experience
positive peer relationships; they interact and develop social relationships
with their peers. The results emerged from the findings indicating
that students with SEN feel they belong and accepted in inclusive education
settings. Although national legislation and the supportive environment
somehow accommodate students with SEN in inclusive
education, educational establishment, national legislation, education
context and teachers were not found to be in favorable to successfully
implement inclusive education.

Keywords: inclusive education, students with special educational needs (SEN), Azerbaijan, school experiences, enablers and barriers

Azerbaijan Journal of Educational Studies is an academic journal founded by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The journal publishes original articles in the following areas of research: education management; educational philosophy and educational theory; education policy; curriculum; educational technologies; pedagogy; sociology of education; history of education; special education; teacher training; assessment, etc. The journal also includes reviews of books on education published in local and foreign publications.
The journal is among the publications recommended by the Supreme Attestation Commission under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.