05 SES 03, Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
In The Netherlands, one of the aims of education policy is to improve the capability of mainstream schools to provide pupils with special educational needs (SEN) with adequate education. In 2014, new measures come into effect that hand over more power to school boards that cooperate on a regional level. These regional clusters are expected to set up a local support structure for schools, teachers and pupils, allocate budgets for supporting pupils with SEN and make arrangements with local authorities to provide a link to youth care. This approach accords with ongoing efforts in many European countries to make education more inclusive and better cater for the needs of youth at risk.
Learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) are often a cause of pupils being identified with SEN by their teachers (Van der Veen et al., 2010). The school context is of great importance, since an inadequate school situation will contribute to the development of EBD (Graham, 2008). Moreover, there is a reciprocal relationship between social, emotional, and behavioural problems and cognitive achievement (Hallahan et al., 2005). Teacher-pupil interaction at school plays an important role in challenging pupils. Teacher-mediated interventions have been found to improve the academic performance of pupils with EBD (Pierce et al., 2004). Research showed that teachers tend to respond to disruptive pupils in ways that amplify the pupils’ inappropriate behaviour, whereas increasing their exposure to academic material, improving the task quality, and paying them more positive attention, have positive effects on the classroom behaviour and academic achievements of pupils with EBD (Sutherland & Oswald, 2005). It has been shown that having high expectations for and supporting active involvement of all learners increases cognitive attainment (Hattie, 2008). Teachers’ attitudes and competences are important preconditions for including SEN pupils in mainstream schools. In addition, the availability of support in school is of great importance (Avramidis & Kalyva, 2007; Avramidis & Norwich, 2002).
In The Netherlands there are considerable differences between schools with respect to the school population. In large cities, many schools have a large population of disadvantaged pupils from ethnic minority groups. In towns and rural areas, school populations are usually more varied, with fewer pupils from ethnic minority groups and, in some cases, a considerable number of pupils of Dutch origin with low-educated parents. These differences may lead to different challenges for teachers. Teachers have to be prepared to educate all pupils, including pupils with various types of SEN and youth at risk. Ongoing learning and professional development are preconditions to accomplish this (Watkins, 2012). However, whether professional development activities are effective depends upon several factors, including the form, duration, participants, the degree of content focus, active learning, and coherence (Birman et al., 2000).
The focus of the present study is on competences that are required of teachers in order to be able to provide optimum education to pupils with SEN in mainstream primary schools. The goal of the study is to answer three research questions:
1) What competences do teachers in mainstream schools need to be able to provide optimum education to pupils with special educational needs?
2) What is the present level of competences of these teachers?
3) What are promising ways of fostering competences of teachers for educating SEN pupils?
Avramidis, E., & Kalyva, E. (2007). The influence of teaching experience and professional development on Greek teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 22 (4), 367–389. Avramidis, E., & Norwich, B. (2002). Teachers’ attitudes towards integration / inclusion: a review of the literature. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17 (2), 129-147. Birman, B.F., Desimone, L., Porter, A.C., & Garet, M.S. (2000). Designing Professional Development That Works. Educational Leadership, 57 (8), 28-33. Graham, L.J. (2008). From ABCs to ADHD: the role of schooling in the construction of behaviour disorder and production of disorderly objects. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12 (1), 7–33. Hallahan, D.P., Lloyd, J.W., Kauffman, J.M., Weiss, M.P., & Martinez, E.A. (2005). Learning disabilities. Foundations, characteristics, and effective teaching. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge. Pianta, R.C., La Paro, K.M., & Hamre, B.K. (2006). Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Manual. Charlottesville, VA: Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning. Pierce, C.D., Reid, R., & Epstein, M.H. (2004). Teacher-mediated interventions for children with EBD and their academic outcomes. Remedial and Special Education. 25 (3), 175-188. Sutherland, K.S., & Oswald, D.P. (2005) The relationship between teacher and student behavior in classrooms for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: transactional processes. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 14 (1), 1-14. Veen, I. van der, Smeets, E., & Derriks, M. (2010). Pupils with special educational needs in the Netherlands: number, characteristics, and school career. Educational Research, 52 (1), 15-43. Watkins, A. (Ed.) (2012). Teacher Education for Inclusion. Profile of Inclusive Teachers. Odense, Denmark: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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