04 SES 04 B, Teachers' Perspectives on Inclusive Education
With funding awarded by St Christopher’s Trust and also the University of Cumbria, the principal investigator was able to collect data in two mainstream and two special educational needs schools in Bangalore, India.
This case study investigates inclusive practice, cultural contexts and perceptions of disability in one of the Christian foundation Special Needs School in Bangalore. The aims of the research are:
Perceptions of disability in a Christian foundation Special needs school in Bangalore
How these perceptions are informed by cultural contexts and belief systems
A forum for sharing good practice and identifying teacher development needs
In the last 30 years there has been a fundamental shift in India in the education of children with special educational needs away from segregated provision towards a more inclusive approach (Das et al, 2012). Legislation such as the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) and initiatives such as the Education for All Movement (2001) and the Action Plan for Inclusive Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (2005) have focussed attention on the provision of educational opportunities for children with special educational needs in Indian schools (Bhatnagar and Das, 2014). Although considerable progress has been made, it is recognised that much remains to be done in order to ensure that the needs of children with special educational needs are met in Indian schools (Thapan 2014).
There are many factors that inhibit effective inclusion of students with special educational needs within Indian schools. Some of these are structural aspects of education policy, including the large percentage of Indian schools that are private; the lack adequate inclusion policies in many schools (including a lack of goals and objectives for inclusive education), and restrictive practices that limit the opportunities of students to enrol in mainstream schools (Bhatnagar and Das, 2014). Other aspects of impediments to inclusive education within schools include poor physical infrastructure including access difficulties and lack of physical adaptation to schools (Bhatnagar and Das, 2014), financial limitations such that funding does not meet basic needs (Bhatnagar and Das, 2014; Sharma et al., 2009) and large class sizes that make effective one-to-one interventions difficult to achieve (Sharma et al., 2009; David and Kuyini, 2012). Whilst these factors inhibit the access of children with special educational needs to mainstream schools, the focus of this study is on those factors that impact on the everyday experiences of teachers and students in school.
The purpose of this case study is to contextualise how the concept of disability is understood by a sample of children, their parents and teachers in one of the schools and how these perceptions are informed by cultural contexts and belief systems. The case study also identified perceptions of effective educational provision for special needs children and provided a forum for sharing good practice and identifying teacher development needs.
The philosophical stance adopted is constructivism utilizing an interpretive approach ‘reality and knowledge reside in the minds of the individuals and knowledge may be uncovered by unpacking individual experiences’ (Savin-Baden and Howell-Major 2013:56). Through an ethnographic lens perceptions of disability were explored, as understood by the sample of individuals from the school. The project gained ethical approval from the University of Cumbria and adhered to BERA guidelines. The multi- disciplinary research team (Special Educational Needs, Religious Studies, Geography and occupational therapy colleagues) designed a range of fit for purpose data collection tools. Data was analysed using a grounded theory constant comparison method to identify emerging themes from the data (Auerbach and Silverstein 2003, Robson 2002).
• Armstrong, A, Armstrong, D. and Spandagou, I. (2013) Inclusive Education : International policy and practice London: Sage • Auerbach, C. F., & Silverstein, L.B. (2003). Qualitative data: An introduction to coding and analysis. NY: NYU Press. • Bangs, J., & Frost, D. (2012). Teacher self-efficacy, voice and leadership: Towards a policy framework for education international. Brussels: Education International Research Institute. • Bhatnagar, N., & Das, A. K. (2013). Nearly Two Decades after the Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act: Concerns of Indian Teachers to Implement Inclusive Education. International Journal of Special Education, 28, 2 • Bhatnagar, N., & Das, A. K. (2014). Regular school teachers' concerns and perceived barriers to implement inclusive education in New Delhi, India. International Journal of Instruction, 7(2), 8. • Dadzie, S. (2000) Toolkit for tackling racism in schools Stoke on Trent: Trentham books • Das, A. K., Kuyini, A. B., & Desai, I. P. (2013). Inclusive Education in India: Are the Teachers Prepared?. International Journal of Special Education, 28(1), 27-36. • David, R. & Kuyini, A.B. (2012) Social inclusion: Teachers as facilitators in peer acceptance of students with disabilities in regular classrooms in Tamil Nadu, India. International Journal of Special Education, 27, 2, 1-12. • Elton-Chalcraft, S. (2011)' “We are like dictionaries Miss, you can look things up in us”: evaluating child-centred research methods'. Education 3-13.vol 39 no 2 April 2011 pg 187-202 • Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Macpherson, P. and Tyson, E. (2008) Ethical issues ch 5 in Elton- Elton-Chalcraft, Hansen, A., Twiselton, S. (Eds) (2008) 'Doing Classroom Research – a step by step guide for student teachers'. Buckingham: Open University Press • Robson, C. (2002) 2nd ed Real World Research Oxford: Blackwell • Savin-Baden, M. and Howell-Major, C. (2013) Qualitative Research : the essential guide to theory and practice London: Routledge • Sharma et al., (2009). Attitudes and concerns of pre-service teachers regarding inclusion of students with disabilities into regular schools in Pune, India. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37(3), 319-331. • Thapan, M. (2014) Ethnographies of schooling in Contemporary India New Delhi, India :Sage • Yin, R.K. (2009) 4th ed Case Study Research. Design and Methods Thousand Oaks CA : Sage
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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