10 SES 07 B, Preparing Teachers for Inclusion
School inclusion requires a process of cultural renewal and understanding that should start from the teachers’ subjective dimension: the exploration of their resources and their individual training needs, their knowledge and experience, providing them with values and competencies that are necessary for the educational application of the principles of inclusion (EADSNE, 2012; WHO, 2011). Within this perspective, both initial and in-service teacher training constitutes a crucial step in professional development.
In this regard, research has recently drawn the attention on the concept of attitudes as a variable affecting the intentional dimension and decision-making mechanisms, thus representing an important predictor also in relation to teachers’ actions (Aiello et al., 2016).
Attitude is defined as “a disposition to respond favourably or unfavourably to an object, person, institution or event” (Ajzen, 2005, p. 5), so it can be considered as the link between the basic knowledge of the subject, the external environment and the behavior.
In light of these reflections, in recent decades a specific research field has been developed which is aimed at investigating teachers’ attitudes toward the inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorders.It highlights that positive attitudes are a key factor in the education of students with disabilities and, specifically, of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Humphrey & Symes, 2013; Park & Chitiyo, 2011; Cassady, 2011; Robertson et al., 2003; Simpson et al., 2003).
The literature on this subject also emphasizes that teachers' attitudes towards autism are affected particularly by variables such as personal and professional experience and training (Segall and Campbell, 2012; Horrocks et al., 2008), gender (Park & Chitiyo, 2011),the level of school in which teachers work (Chung et al., 2015; Park and Chitiyo, 2011), teachers' perception of the available resources in relation to the support of a team of experts and the support of professionals in the classroom (Rodríguez et al., 2012).
Stemming from these considerations, the present pilot study aims to:
- provide a translated and validated version of the AAST Scale (Autism Attitude Scale for Teachers) for the Italian context for further research in the field of teachers’ attitudes towards students with autism;
- explore the attitudes towards students with autism of a group of teachers who participated in continuous professional development courses in the academic year 2016/2017.
The sample used for the study is composed of 306 mainstream and support teachers teaching at different school levels in the region of Campania who took part in continuous professional development courses on the theme of autism. Specifically, the questionnaires were administered face to face to teachers attending a post-graduate course in "Didactics and Psychopedagogy for Autism Spectrum Disorders" organized by the University of Salerno, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education during the academic year 2016/2017. Moreover, they were administered during a training course that involved teachers from various schools in Campania, particularly in the provinces of Caserta and Benevento. The research protocol included the administration of a questionnaire (face to face and online), which is divided into two parts. The first section collects demographic data aiming at providing a detailed description of the sample, whereas the second section comprises a translated and revised version of the Autism Attitude Scale for Teachers (AAST, Olley et al., 1981), which was initially developed as a means for assessing the attitudes of teachers whose school were about to receive autistic pupils for the first time and evaluating the effect of in-service training for those teachers.Once the authors of the scale had given their consent, the scale was translated into Italian. Attention was particularly paid to the adaptation of the items to the Italian educational context. The translated and revised version of the AAST Scale is composed of ten items scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. As what concerns the validation of the instrument, in a preliminary stage, an Exploratory Factorial Analysis (EFA) was conducted in order to explore the factorial structure of the scale. In a second stage, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed in order to test the empirical validity of the posited 2-factor model of the AAST. In a third stage of the analysis, the internal consistency of each subscale was assessed via Cronbach’s alpha. Further analysis will be carried out to highlight possible statistically significant differences with respect to the four variables taken into consideration on the basis of the scientific literature, namely: • gender • being mainstream or learning support teachers • teaching in primary or secondary school • personal and professional experience
The results of the EFA showed that the solution with two correlated factors explained the 29.99% of the variance and yielded a simple structure for all the items. Multiple fit indexes showed a very good fit with the data (X2(36) = 293.23; S-B X2(26) = 41,41; CFI = .94; TLI = .91; RMSEA = .04; SRMR = .04; Chi-Square/df = 1,59). These results suggested that the measurement model hypothesized for the AAST was empirically supported by the data (Hu,& Bentler, 1999). The final model for the Italian version of the AAST Scale is composed of 10 items and consists of two sub-dimensions, defined as: "Critical impact of the autistic student" (6 items) and "Taking care of the autistic student" (4 items). The scale has good psychometric characteristics that can make it a useful tool for measuring teachers' attitudes towards children with autism spectrum disorders; the two sub-dimensions of the scale have a good / acceptable internal validity. With respect to the four variables taken into consideration on the basis of the scientific literature, we expect that: - females will have a more positive attitude than males; - mainstream teachers will have a more positive attitude than learning support teachers; - teachers teaching in primary school will have a more positive attitude than those teaching in secondary school; - teachers with more personal and professional experience will have a more positive attitude than those with little or no personal and professional experience.
Aiello, P.,Sharma, U., Dimitrov, D.M., Di Gennaro, D.C., Pace, E.M., Zollo, I., Sibilio, M. (2016). “Indagine sulle percezioni del livello di efficacia dei docenti e sui loro atteggiamenti verso l'inclusione”. In L’Integrazione Scolastica e Sociale, vol. 15, n. 1, pp. 64-87. Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, Personality and Behaviour. Berkshire: Open University Press. Cassady, J. M. (2011). Teachers' attitudes toward the inclusion of students with autism and emotional behavioral disorder. Electronic Journal of Inclusive Education, 2(7). Chung, W., Chung, S., Edgar-Smith, S., Palmer, R. B., DeLambo, D., & Huang, W. (2015). An examination of in-service teacher attitudes toward students with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for professional practice. Current Issues in Education, 18(2). European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2012). Profile of InclusiveTeachers, Odense, Denmark: Author. Horrocks, J. L., White, G., & Roberts, L. (2008). Principals’ attitudes regarding inclusion of children with autism in Pennsylvania public schools. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, 38(8), 1462-1473. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1-55. Humphrey, N., & Symes, W. (2013). Inclusive education for pupils with autistic spectrum disorders in mainstream schools: Teacher attitudes, experience and knowledge. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(1), 32-46. Olley, J. G., Devellis, R. F., DeVellis, B. M., Wall, A. J., & Long, C. E. (1981). The Autism Attitude Scale for Teachers. Exceptional children, 47(5), 371. Park, M., &Chitiyo, M. (2011). An examination of teacher attitudes toward children with autism. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 11(1), 70-78. Robertson, K., Chamberlain, B., &Kasari, C. (2003). General education teachers’ relationships with included students with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(2), 123-130. Rodríguez, I. R., Saldaña, D., & Moreno, F. J. (2012). Support, inclusion and special education teachers’ attitudes toward the education of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Research & Treatment, 2012. Segall, M. J., & Campbell, J. M. (2012). Factors relating to educational professionals’ classroom practices for the inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(3), 1156-1167. Simpson, R. L., de Boer-Ott, S. R., & Smith-Myles, B. (2003). Inclusion of learners withautism spectrum disorders in general education settings. Topics in LanguageDisorders 23 (2), 116-133 World Health Organisation (2011). World Report on Disability. Geneva: World Health Organisation. Re¬trieved on March 30th, 2014 from: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789240685215_eng.pdf?ua=1.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.