04 SES 01 D, Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Attitudes Toward Inclusive Education
Inclusion of students with special educational needs (SEN) in schools is an ongoing issue. Increasing heterogeneity in schools requires an adapted teaching and learning atmosphere, and this presents teachers with new challenges. In order to enable every student’s participation and learning success, it is the teacher’s responsibility to support students in their individual development. Teachers have to adapt learning settings to enable all learners and to make teaching accessible. In order to do this, adaptations to the qualifications of educational staff are required. Previous studies have shown that teacher personality factors are the main influence on a positive atmosphere. Teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and concerns strongly affect the implementation of inclusion in the classroom. Although inclusion and diversity should be a mandatory part of all teacher-training programs, there are few studies regarding the introduction of inclusion in teacher training.
The aim of the current study was to examine the implementation of inclusion in school teacher-training system, with a focus on the correlation between attitudes, experiences and self-efficacy and inclusion. The present study shows the role of teacher-related factors by testing existing survey instruments in different countries. We focused on the following questions: Is there a significant measureable difference between Germany and Canada in attitudes, experience and self-efficacy? Do the predictors experiences, attitudes, age, gender and country explain the variance in self-efficacy in these two countries? Is measurement invariance sufficient to compare different school types; what are the correlates of self-efficacy in inclusive education; how do the correlates relate to each other; and do these correlates align with findings in other settings? Could the results be assigned to other European countries?
We found that while courses dealing with heterogeneity are already a compulsory component of the teacher training of universities, the implementation of special education training in general teacher education is largely absent. This leaves us with an important question about teacher education: should special education be treated as an integrative subject or as an elective offering. Another question arises regarding the international participants: to what extent are the participants’ answers affected by social desirability bias, and how does the different understanding of inclusion and special needs influence the participants’ answers? Furthermore, inclusion specialists are needed for the education and training of new teachers. However, the subject of university instructors’ specific qualifications has so far received insufficient attention, which demonstrates another area for reform and research.
Given that Germany and Canada have taken very different approaches to implementing inclusion in their schools and teacher education programmes, these two countries were selected in order to compare pre-service teachers’ development as inclusive educators. We conducted two studies focusing on the influence of attitudes and self-efficacy by attending inclusive teacher education courses. We used the following quantitative inquiries: a new online survey was given to teacher students and pre-service teachers in Germany and Canada. All the items on the questionnaire were constructed using five categories (five point Likert scale items: strongly disagree, disagree, undecided, agree, strongly agree). We analyzed the resulting factors based on three constructs: experience, attitudes and self-efficacy. Cross-sectional international data was collected. A pre- and post- test relating to teacher education courses concerning inclusive education measured modifications of the German group. A MANOVA analysis showed all scales had a significant difference in the sum score between the ratings of the Canadian and German scales. We conducted a regression analysis to explain the variance in the dependent variable through demographic and experience-related parameters. Prospective data collecting in Austria is proposed in spring 2018 to validate the questionnaire in a European comparison. New German translations of the Attitudes to Inclusion Scale (AIS), Intention to Teach in an Inclusive Classroom (ITICS), Concerns about Inclusive Education Scale (CIES) and Teacher Efficacy for Inclusive Practices (TEIP) were created and conducted in Germany. Group comparisons on each instrument were calculated. Between groups, t-tests were calculated to compare average scores between students preparing for special education schools compared to all other students. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) were conducted in Mplus 7.4. The findings were discussed with international findings from other studies with the same scales.
The present international study examines whether applied scales suit pre-service teachers in Germany and Canada and demonstrates the variation between pre-service teachers preparing for different school types and different countries. The results of the transnational study (Canada/Germany) showed that there was a significant difference in the rating of scales between the countries. There was a correlation between attitudes and self-efficacy in both groups. Concerning the correlation between experience and self-efficacy, there was a strong correlation between the two scales. Only a minor correlation was found between ‘attitudes’ and ‘experience’. The current study did not reveal a correlation between gender and attitudes or self-efficacy. Experience, attitudes, age, gender and country were treated as independent variables affecting the variance of self-efficacy. The study shows experience and attitudes as the strongest factors predicting self-efficacy; gender and nationality have less influence. Further calculations of the Austrian data might show differences or similarities between European countries. The results of measurements in Germany with AIS, ITICS; TEIP, CIES scales indicate that self-efficacy is negatively correlated with concerns and attitudes toward inclusion. The results of the current study also stress the influence teacher-education courses have on attitudes and self-efficacy. Inclusive education is a challenge for general teachers in all school types and this is why teacher-education should be complemented by instruction in inclusive strategies and approaches, which should be offered to pre-service teachers during their initial training, as well as to in-service teachers who have completed their education programme.
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. (2012). Teacher Education for Inclusion. Profile of Inclusive Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/te4i-profile-of-inclusive-teachers_Profile-of-Inclusive-Teachers-EN.pdf Gebhardt, M. (2015). Gemeinsamer Unterricht von Schülerinnen und Schülern mit und ohne sonderpädagogischen Förderbedarf. Ein empirischer Überblick. In: E. Kiel (Hrsg.), Inklusion im Sekundarbereich (S. 39-52). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Gebhardt, M., S. Schwab, M. Krammer, and A. Gegenfurtner. 2015. “General and Special Education Teachers’ Perceptions of Teamwork in Inclusive Classrooms at Elementary and Secondary Schools.” Journal for Educational Research Online; Journal fur Bildungsforschung 7 (2): 129–146. Miesera, S., & Gebhardt, M. (in press). Inklusive Didaktik in beruflichen Schulen – InkDibeS- Ein Konzept für die Lehrerbildung: Videobasierte Fallkonstruktionen inklusiver Unterrichtssettings. In D. Buschfeld & M. Cleef (Eds.), QUA-LIS Schriftenreihe "Beiträge zur Schulentwicklung". Vielfalt des Lernens im Rahmen berufsbezogener Standards. Miesera, S., & Will, S. (2017). Inklusive Didaktik in der Lehrerbildung – Erstellung und Einsatz von Unterrichtsvideos. Haushalt in Bildung und Forschung, 6(3), 61–76. https://doi.org/10.3224/hibifo.v6i3.05 Miesera, S. & Gebhardt, M (2018): Inclusive vocational schools in Canada and Germany. A comparison of vocational pre-service teachers′ attitudes, self-efficacy and experiences towards inclusive education, European Journal of Special Needs Education, DOI:10.1080/08856257.2017.1421599 Park, M.-H., Dimitrov, D. M., Das, A., & Gichuru, M. (2014). The teacher efficacy for inclusive practices (TEIP) scale: Dimensionality and factor structure. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 16(1), 2–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12047 Schwab, S., Holzinger, A., Krammer, M., Gebhardt, M., & Hessels, M. (2015). Teaching practices and beliefs about inclusion of general and special needs teachers in Austria. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 13(2), 237–254. Sharma, U., & Desai, I. (2002). Measuring Concerns about Integrated Education in India. Asia and Pacific Journal on Disability, 5(1), 2–14. Sharma, U., & Jacobs, D. K. (2016). Predicting in-service educators' intentions to teach in inclusive classrooms in India and Australia. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 13–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2015.12.004 Sharma, U., Loreman, T., & Forlin, C. (2012). Measuring teacher efficacy to implement inclusive practices. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(1), 12–21. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2011.01200.x Sharma, U., & Sokal, L. (2016). Can Teachers’ Self-Reported Efficacy, Concerns, and Attitudes Toward Inclusion Scores Predict Their Actual Inclusive Classroom Practices? Australasian Journal of Special Education, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1017/jse.2015.14
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