04 SES 07 C, Teacher Views of Inclusive Education
“Inclusion involves change. It is an unending process of increasing learning and participation for all students” (Booth & Ainscow, 2002) – European educational systems are in a process of change. Inclusive education has become a leading idea and focus of interest in educational research and school policy worldwide. In contrast to Canada, Finland or Italy, for example, Germany has relied on segregated special schooling for a long time (Riddell, 2012). Therefore, inclusive education is a particularly new challenge for German society and teachers whose attitudes are in the centre to this study. The present research project focuses on German teachers’ perspectives on inclusive education as well as potential relations between their attitudes and students’ social and emotional well-being in class. In detail, the following research questions are investigated: Are there any links between teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education and their beliefs about ability and disability and secondly, are teachers’ inclusive attitudes associated with their pedagogical orientation? Furthermore, teacher and student data are systematically linked to answer the question whether teachers’ self-reported beliefs show any correlations with students’ ratings of classroom climate and their feelings of social integration.
The presentation depicts some general findings with regard to teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion: As international reviews indicate, there is a widespread approval amongst general education teachers that students with disabilities have the fundamental right to participate in general education (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002). But in spite of this apparent agreement with the general philosophy of inclusion, a majority doubts that inclusive education is feasible and can be put into reality successfully. General education teachers state that they feel overburdened and ill-prepared for inclusive education by their professional training (Amrhein, 2011; Avramidis & Norwich, 2002; Forsa, 2015). They suspect additional stress and workload und criticise insufficient resources, for example with respect to the professional staff at schools and appropriate materials to differentiate learning opportunities. Some teachers also expect that there might be disadvantages for students without special educational needs.
Empirical research has revealed several teacher beliefs to be related to inclusive attitudes. Besides teachers’ self-efficacy, beliefs about ability and disability prove to play a vital role in the context of inclusive education. According to the model of Dweck and Leggett (1988), people have different implicit theories when thinking about ability or intelligence. The first set of beliefs, called entity theory, regards intellectual abilities as stable and mainly genetically determined. The second set of beliefs, called incremental theory, considers intelligence as modifiable by effort and influenced by the environment.
Focusing on the question how individuals construe the term “disability”, Jordan and Stanovich (2003) distinguish two different perspectives. The first perspective stresses a rather medical point of view that regards disabilities as a pathological deficit, located in the disabled person. On the contrary, Jordan and Stanovich describe an interactionist and potential-oriented perspective. This model of disability approves that a disabled person does not simply suffer from a medical condition, but that certain conditions in society may restrain people with disabilities from fully participating in different areas of life and from developing their potentials. Studies show that beliefs about ability and disability influence teachers' thinking and behaviour in inclusive settings. So, teachers were less committed to supporting children with special educational needs, when they perceived ability as a stable and invariable entity and when they regarded disability as a pathological deficit (Jordan, Glenn & McGhie-Richmond, 2010). With regard to pedagogical orientations there is some evidence that teachers who particularly emphasize traditional values like discipline and teacher authority hold rather unfavourable attitudes towards inclusive education.
Amrhein, B. (2011). Inklusion in der Sekundarstufe – Eine empirische Analyse. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt. 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. Beck, E., Baer, M., Guldimann, T., Bischoff, S., Brühwiler, C., Müller, P., Niedermann, R., Rogalla, M. & Vogt, F. (2008). Adaptive Lehrkompetenz. Analyse und Struktur, Veränderung und Wirkung handlungssteuernden Lehrerwissens. Münster: Waxmann. Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE. Dweck, C. S. & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality. Psychological Review, 95(2), 256-273. Forsa - Politik- und Sozialforschung (2015). Inklusion an Schulen aus Sicht der Lehrerinnen und Lehrer– Meinungen, Einstellungen und Erfahrungen. Repräsentative Lehrerbefragung von Forsa im Auftrag des Verbandes Bildung und Erziehung. Berlin. Jordan, A., Glenn, C. & McGhie-Richmond, D. (2010). The Supporting Effective Teaching (SET) project: The relationship of inclusive teaching practices to teachers’ beliefs about disability and ability, and about their roles as teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 259-266. Jordan, A. & Stanovich, P. (2003). Teachers’ personal epistemological beliefs about students with disabilities as indicators of effective teaching practices. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 3(1). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2003.00184.x/full [26.06.2013]. Loreman, T., Earle, C., Sharma, U. & Forlin, C. (2007). The Development of an Instrument for Measuring Pre-Service Teachers’ Sentiments, Attitudes, and Concerns about Inclusive Education. International Journal of Special Education, 22(1), 150-159. Rauer, W. & Schuck, K. D. (2003). FEESS 3-4. Fragebogen zur Erfassung emotionaler und sozialer Schulerfahrungen von Grundschulkindern dritter und vierter Klassen. Göttingen: Beltz. Riddell, S. (2012). Education and disability/special needs - policies and practices in education, training and employment for students with disabilities and special educational needs in the EU. An independent report prepared for the European Commission by the NESSE network of experts. European Commission. Scheunpflug, A., Stadler-Altmann, U. & Zeinz, H. (2012). Bestärken und fördern - Wege zu einer veränderten Kultur des Lernens in der Sekundarstufe I. Seelze: Friedrich.
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