Being the Subject of Education – Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Experiences of Students With Disabilities, Their Teachers and Parents


    Emilia Śmiechowska-Petrovskij , Marzena Dycht , Kamil Kuracki




How to Cite

Śmiechowska-Petrovskij, E., Dycht, M., & Kuracki, K. (2023). Being the Subject of Education – Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Experiences of Students With Disabilities, Their Teachers and Parents. International Journal of Special Education, 38(3), 107–122.


Educational changes resulting from sanitary orders during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the personal freedom and sense of subjectivity among participants in educational processes. The aim of the study was to identify the personal experiences of the sense of being the subject of education of three groups: students with special educational needs, including disabled students, their teachers and parents, during and after the pandemic. 
The article applies the concept of a sense of subjectivity, which includes 4 dimensions: a sense of: 1) freedom of choice, 2) agency, 3) responsibility for one’s actions, and 4) interpersonal contacts based on equality and partnership. Reconstructions of the experience of being a subject of education were carried out within the framework of qualitative study (focus group interviews), which was a part of the Polish national Psychological and Pedagogical Support Programme for Students and Teachers, conducted by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw and partners. The article discusses 4 dimensions of the sense of subjectivity in three groups of respondents. The study revealed a diversity of experiences. It was found that students with special educational needs experienced a low sense of subjectivity in education; however, the determinants of this condition were not only the result of the peculiarities of education in times of the pandemic, but above all to the specificity of the educational system itself. Among teachers and parents, the sense of subjectivity was higher and characterised by other qualitative indicators (mainly in the area of the sense of responsibility and agency). 


sense of subjectivity, subject, special education, COVID-19, special educational needs (SEN) students, disability, parents, teachers

Author Biographies

Emilia Śmiechowska-Petrovskij, Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego

PhD, assistant professor

Marzena Dycht, Faculty of Education Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

PhD with habillitation, professor at university

Kamil Kuracki, Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego w Warszawie

PhD, assistant professor