Profile image of Ben Whitburn

Dr Ben Whitburn



Senior Lecturer in Education (Inclusive Education)


Faculty of Arts and Education


SoE Arts & Ed


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2017
Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2015
Master of Education, , 2002

+61 3 924 45221


Ben Whitburn holds the position of Senior lecturer (inclusive education) in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University. Ben's research and teaching motivations are spurred by a concern that educational participation is not made accessible to all: that participation in public and private institutions is dependent on apparent abilities and norms. Informed by critical disability studies, Ben engages multiple collaborative partnerships between people with disabilities and their families, teachers and school leaders, university educators and public policy makers, and resource developers to consider how accessibility to—and participation in—education can be advanced.
Ben's PhD by publication (conferred in 2015) concentrated specifically on the experiences of young people with disabilities enrolled in mainstream schools located in Australia and Spain. This transnational comparison drew extensively on students' perspectives to learn the effects of divergent policies and practices that seek to develop inclusive schooling systems, such as the provision of paraprofessional support, accessible resources, curriculum and pedagogies. Ben supervises research students with aligned interests, including PhD students on various national and international significance such as intercultural competence of school leaders in Australia, Migrant teacher identities in Victoria, inclusive school community development in Vietnam, practices of secondary teachers in Indonesia, and policy development and enactment in early years learning in the Maldives.
Ben coordinates the inclusive education pathway units of the Master of Teaching at Deakin University (EIE701-4). Ben uses teaching opportunities in this program to support preservice teachers to develop critical awareness of how inclusion can be developed, through an understanding of their responsibilities to design accessible and engaging learning experiences. He draws on his own experiences teaching  in both special education contexts in Australian schools as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) overseas. Ben is a member of REDI (Research for Educational Impact) in the School of Education.

Read more on Ben's profile

Research interests

Schooling experiences; disability studies; policy enactment; inclusive pedagogy; poststructural representation.

Teaching interests

Equity in education;

Studies of ableism;

Policy implementation;

Inclusive teaching and learning;

Critical inquiry;

Knowledge areas

Critical disability perspectives; poststructuralism; critical policy sociology; qualitative methods; equity.


Commended Ray Debus Award 2016

- Australian Association for Research in Education


Junior Scholar Award July 2014
-American Educational Research Association’s special interest group in Disability Studies in Education. 


Filter by


The construction of giftedness in education policy in New Zealand and Australia: implications for inclusive education policy and practice

Melanie Wong, B Whitburn

(2019), Vol. 38, pp. 75-94, Belonging : rethinking inclusive practices to support well-being and identity, Leiden, The Netherlands, B1


Ontologies of inclusion and teacher education

B Whitburn, Tim Corcoran

(2019), pp. 1-15, Global perspectives on inclusive teacher education, Hershey, Pa., B1


The kids are alright: they have been included for years

B Whitburn

(2018), pp. 159-175, Palgrave handbook of disabled children's childhood studies, London, Eng., B1


Seven reasons to question the hegemony of visible learning

L McKnight, B Whitburn

(2018), Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Time for inclusion?

M Thomas, Ben Whitburn

(2018), pp. 1-15, British journal of sociology of education, Abingdon, Eng., C1


The subjectivities of 'included' students with disabilities in schools

B Whitburn

(2017), Vol. 38, pp. 485-497, Discourse, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Making sense of everyday practice : by whom, for whom, for what?

B Whitburn, V Plows

(2017), Vol. 6, pp. 3-11, Inclusive education : making sense of everyday practice, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, B1


Inclusive education, subjectivities and the posts

B Whitburn, J Moss, J O'Mara

(2017), Vol. 6, pp. 31-44, Inclusive education: making sense of everyday practice, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, B1


The fetish of the lens: persistent sexist and ableist metaphor in education research

L McKnight, B Whitburn

(2017), Vol. 30, pp. 821-831, International journal of qualitative studies in education, Abingdon, Eng., C1


The policy problem: the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and implications for access to education

B Whitburn, J Moss, J O'Mara

(2017), Vol. 32, pp. 467-479, Journal of education policy, Abingdon, Eng., C1


The National Disability Insurance Scheme and access to education: progressive or coercive policy discourse?

B Whitburn, J Moss, J O'Mara

(2017), Vol. 21, pp. 1065-1079, International journal of inclusive education, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Where's my comfort zone?: Reflections of two Aussie researchers abroad

K Neely, B Whitburn

(2017), pp. 207-216, Postgraduate study in Australia: surviving and succeeding, New York, N.Y., B1


Voice, post-structural representation and the subjectivity of 'included' students

B Whitburn

(2016), Vol. 39, pp. 117-130, International journal of research and method in education, Oxford, Eng., C1


The perspectives of secondary school students with special needs in Spain during the crisis

B Whitburn

(2016), Vol. 11, pp. 148-164, Research in comparative and international education, London, Eng., C1


National and international disability rights legislation: a qualitative account of its enactment in Australia

B Whitburn

(2015), Vol. 19, pp. 518-529, International journal of inclusive education, London, Eng., C1


Attending to the potholes of disability scholarship

B Whitburn

(2015), pp. 215-224, Disability studies: educating for inclusion, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, B1


The indelible ink of the special stamp: an insider's research essay on imprints and erasures

B Whitburn

(2014), Vol. 29, pp. 624-637, Disability & Society, Oxford, England, C1


Accessibility and autonomy preconditions to 'our' inclusion: a grounded theory study of the experiences of secondary students with vision impairment

B Whitburn

(2014), Vol. 14, pp. 3-15, Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Oxford, England, C1


The "inclusion" of students with vision impairments: generational perspectives in Australia

B Whitburn

(2014), Vol. 10, pp. 1-18, International Journal of Whole Schooling, United States, C1


'A really good teaching strategy' : secondary students with vision impairment voice their experiences of inclusive teacher pedagogy

B Whitburn

(2014), Vol. 32, pp. 148-156, British journal of visual impairment, London, England, C1


The dissection of paraprofessional support in inclusive education: 'you're in mainstream with a chaperone'

B Whitburn

(2013), Vol. 37, pp. 147-161, Australasian Journal of Special Education, Cambridge, England, C1


The impression that I get : educational inclusion explored through the voices of young people with vision impairment

B Whitburn

(2011), pp. 1-13, AARE 2011 : The proceedings of the 2011 AARE International Research in Education Conference : Researching Acrossa Boundaries, Hobart, Tas., E1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Engagement to provide independent expert services in criminal proceedings.

Dr Ben Whitburn

  • 2019: $13,581

Industry and Other Funding

Paid Non-local Study Leave Scheme (Australia) in the 2017/18 School Year

Dr Tim Corcoran, Prof Julianne Moss, A/Prof Louise Paatsch, A/Prof Dianne Toe, Dr Ben Whitburn, Mrs Maria Nicholas, Dr Kim Davies, Dr Claire Spicer, Prof Christine Ure, Dr Joanne Quick

  • 2018: $160,522


Associate Supervisor

Gary Robert Shaw

Thesis entitled: How might interculturality be developed in an Australian primary school?

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), School of Education