04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 04
General Poster Session
One declared aim of many developed democratic countries in Europe is to provide equal access to the cultural resources and social assets for all members of our society including people with disabilities (Bourdieu 1986). Education is one of the most valuable assets that offer benefits to an individual as well as a society as a whole. Unfortunately, in some post-communist countries in Europe, such as the Czech Republic, the right for a fully-fledged social participation, particularly in terms of access to education, was hindered or even entirely denied to some individuals. The restriction was most profound in people with a severe intellectual disability. Social exclusion and the segregation of people with intellectual disability (ID) extended in to various life domains. It considerably affected their right for education gained at schools with their peers without disabilities, within the so called mainstream education system. In the Czech Republic, educational needs of pupils with disabilities (particularly pupils with ID) remain to be highly concentrated in special schools. Separated education in special schools hinders the aim to meet the basic human right for education to its full extent (Skrtic 1991).
Since the first decade of the 21st century, the Czech education system has gradually shifted from the strategy of segregation to inclusion of all pupils (including those with ID) into common primary schools. The Czech education policy in 1990s followed a trend of the more developed foreign countries, particularly Western Europe and Scandinavian countries (such as Norway or Finland, etc.). Nonetheless, for the successful implementation of inclusion at the system level, it is desirable to know, how pupils without disability perceive a person with ID. Ideas of pupils without disability about ID may be subject to many misconceptions, ambiguities, mysteries, prejudices and often unjustified fears. This may lead to tentative or even hostile attitudes of pupils without disability towards people with ID.
Academic studies focused on the intuitive ideas of pupils (ISCED 0 to 2) without disabilities about people with (intellectual) disabilities are greatly sidelined as part of the so called "Disability Studies" (in a wider context of pedagogical and psychological research background). A systematically focused research in this area that would map children’s ideas about individuals with a disability from a long-term perspective is absent. Only a fractional interest and not many empirical findings may be found regarding this issue (e.g. Beckett 2014). Similarly to other post-communist countries in Europe, in the Czech Republic, there is a lack of research focused on identification and analysis of ideas about individuals with ID, particularly in children population (Pivarč 2017). There is only a limited amount of information about children's perceptions of specific types of disabilities, moreover, their ideas about people with ID. This research aims to analyze and characterise ideas of pupils without disabilities about the phenomenon of intellectual disability. This objective is specified and based on findings of the current state of scientific knowledge. In the Czech Republic in particular, there has been no scientific study conducted that would focus on a description and analysis of ideas about ID in pupils aged 10–15 years. This research study aims to contribute to this knowledge, and it aims to clarify whether pupil’s ideas about ID differ, in terms of the school year attended, gender, and primarily, in terms of pupils’ experience with ID. Based on its findings, the study ambition is to predict and to evaluate how ideas of pupils without disabilities may affect the process of integration of pupils with ID into common primary schools.
There were 2324 pupils without disabilities aged 10–15 years from 23 Czech common primary schools included in research study. They were pupils attending the 5th (n = 858), the 7th (n = 824) and the 9th (n = 642) year. Girls (n = 1187) were represented more than boys (n = 1137) in the study. In terms of pupils' declared experience with people with ID, there were: 1152 pupils who stated they had a personal experience with a person with ID (who have seen/are seeing such person); 177 pupils who declared to have a personal experience with a person with ID from their family; 672 pupils who have had no personal experience (but they have gained some information about ID from media); 234 pupils who declared to have no personal experience (but they have gained some information about ID from parents, teachers, friends or fellow pupils); 89 pupils who stated they had no experience at all (did not know what ID meant). Pupils' ideas about ID were evaluated using mind mapping methods. It was based on pupils' thought associations that were specified into mind maps using concepts. The mind map given to the pupils contained only one key concept – "intellectual disability" – situated in the middle of the map. Respondents were instructed to state all concepts they could associate with the key concept into the mind map in 10 minutes. A qualitative concept analysis (in terms of the content) was based on data collected as part of the pre-research. In regard to this analysis, concepts associated by the pupils were grouped into 5 categories (Institutionalised care and support for people with ID; Legislative and economic measures; Inter(intra) personal impact of ID; Image of ID; Other concepts). The reliability of the concept coding into categories was calculated using Cohen's kappa coefficient. Kappa coefficient indicated a moderate inter-rater agreement of the concept coding between the independent assessor and the study author (ϰ = 0.52; p ˂ 0.001). The frequency of concept occurrence in mind maps (dependent variable) was recorded within the categories. The frequency of concept occurrence within the given category was monitored in each respondent (independent variable). Effects of independent variables on the dependent variable were calculated using the multiple linear regression. The selection of research sample was based on availability. The author in person administered mind maps. Data collection was performed in 2015–2017. Its rate of return was 97%.
There were 17331 concepts in total recorded in mind maps by pupils (n = 2324) in association with ID. Mean number of concepts per pupil was 7.46. All three analyzed characteristics had a statistically significant effect on the total number of concepts that were recorded in pupils' mind maps (p < 0.001). The effect of pupils' experience with a person with ID (i.e. they have seen such person) was the most statistically significant predictor (β = 0,358). Pupils attending 9th year of primary school were able to specify significantly more concepts than pupils of lower years (β = 0,252). Girls provided one more concept on average when compared to boys (β = −0,122). Pupils' views of ID were in the sense of taxonomisation, categorisation or labelling; in other words, within the medical paradigm/image of disability. Pupils' ideas oscillated on the verge of understanding the so called normality and abnormality, i.e. culturally generated constructs of alterity. The concept of ID was semantically most often associated with the image of disability, i.e. an illness, a defect or impairment, with differences in behaviour or abnormalities (e.g. physiognomic or mental) that a person with ID may have (over 40% of word units out of the overall concept occurrence). Beckett (2014) reached similar conclusion in her study evaluating children aged 6–11, who most often emphasised the biological and medical deficits (dysfunctions) of people with disability. A fixed idea about inabilities, shortcomings or dependence of people with ID on others was predominant in pupils questioned, some of whom also suggested that the care should be provided primarily in special institutions (such as care homes, hospitals, and special schools). It may subsequently support their bias against people with disabilities and other stereotypes in their thinking (e.g. defending or rationalising the social segregation of people with disability).
Beckett, A. 2014. “Non-disabled Children’s Ideas about Disability and Disabled People.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 35 (6): 856–875. Bourdieu, P. 1986. “The Forms of Capital.” In Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, edited by Richardson, J., 241–258. New York: Geenwood. Pivarč, J. 2017. Evidence Concerning Pupils’ Preconceptions of Intellectual Disability in the Context of the Paradigm Shift in Today’s Education. Praha: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy. Skrtic, T. 1991. Behind Special Education: A Critical Analysis of Professional Culture and School Organization. Denver: Love.
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