The role of the school in tackling the exclusion of students within the framework of inclusive education: a perspective from critical realism


  • Areti Stylianou
    Institute of Education, UK.


Open and closed systems, inclusive education, poor ethnic minority students


for theorising the contested relationship between the school vs. society in tackling the exclusion of students, within the framework of inclusive education. Data collected through semi-structured interviews with teachers, as part of a PhD thesis, are used to examine if the school is an open or closed system and how this affects the exclusion of students. In particular, teachers’ views, working at two highly diverse schools in Cyprus, are used, to shed light on the relationship between students’ disadvantage, in terms of their immigrant and low socio-economic background, and their exclusion, in terms of their academic achievement at the school. Further, teachers’ views are used to examine if through its functioning the school responds to students’ disadvantaged circumstances. This research suggests that the school cannot tackle students’ exclusion because, even though it is an open system, it operates as a closed system.

Keywords: Open and closed systems, inclusive education, poor ethnic minority students

Biografia do Autor

Areti Stylianou, Institute of Education, UK.

Areti Stylianou has a PhD in Education from the UCL, Institute of Education, UK. She has
been supervised by the world scholar Roy Bhaskar, who is considered to be one of the main
representatives of critical realism. After Roy’s death and during the end of her studies, Professor
David Scott and Michalinos Zembylas took over the supervision of the thesis. Currently she
is working at the Pedagogical Institute, Ministry of Education in Cyprus at the Curriculum
Development Unit. She has also worked as a primary school teacher in public school sin Cyprus,
as a teachers’ trainer at the Teachers’ Training Department and as a researcher at the Centre for
Educational Research and Evaluation. Her research interests concern the application of critical
realism in empirical research, especially as far as concerns the phenomenon of teachers’ dis/
empowerment within the context of inclusive education. Email:


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Como Citar

STYLIANOU, A. The role of the school in tackling the exclusion of students within the framework of inclusive education: a perspective from critical realism. Polifonia, [S. l.], v. 23, n. 33, p. 37–50, 2016. Disponível em: Acesso em: 13 jul. 2024.