04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 04
General Poster Session
Where do children with special educational needs receive the best learning opportunities – in inclusive or exclusive school settings? Until now, international studies focused this research question comparing the effects of inclusive and exclusive institutional learning environments on children’s cognitive achievements in primary schools. The majority of investigations found a favorable development of cognitive competencies if children with special educational needs (SEN) attended an inclusive school compared to exclusive settings (e.g., Baker, Wang, & Walberg, 1994; Myklebust, 2006; Ruijs & Peetsma, 2009). Kocaj, Kuhl, Kroth, Pant, and Stanat (2014), for example, investigated the relation between the type of schooling and academic achievements of children with SEN with a large representative sample of German primary school students. Their results are in line with prior research, indicating that children with SEN attending inclusive regular schools show higher competencies in math, reading as well as listening in contrast to comparable students attending schools for special educational needs. However, it remains unclear, which factors lead to these different achievement levels. Following the assumption that children with SEN attending inclusive regular schools and schools for special educational needs are akin regarding their individual characteristics due to statistical matching, one possible explanation is the teacher’s classroom behavior. Here it is assumed that teachers of both schooling settings differ in their teaching methods as well as their interactions with students (Hocutt, 1996; Schumann, 2007; Wocken, 2005). Thus the question arises, how and to what extent do teachers of both institutional learning environments differ with reference to their applied teaching and what teaching methods encourage the development of competencies of children with SEN.
The aim of the present study is to provide a review of empirical research findings of teachers’ classroom behavior in schools for special educational needs. Therefor the current status of research is analyzed and synthetized in a narrative literature review to address the following two research questions: (1) What teaching methods can be observed in primary schools for special educational needs? (2) To what extent does the teachers’ classroom behavior differ in both schooling settings?
Due to the fact that definitions as well as concepts of schools for special educational needs and education of special education teachers vary from country to country, the present literature review focused on one nation – Germany. To identify relevant literature the following eight databases were used for investigation: FIS Bildung, PsycINFO, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), PsycARTICELS, PsycBOOKS, PsycINDEX and Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. The literature search was identical referring to all databases with a search syntax consisting of 110 combinations of German keywords (e.g., school for special educational needs AND teaching methods, school for special educational needs AND differentiation, school for special educational needs AND classroom management). Afterwards the determined publications (N = 777) were selected in a two-step process on the basis of criteria for including (e.g., German sample, focus on schools for special educational needs, focus on teachers’ classroom behavior) and excluding a publication (e.g., exclusively another school type, exclusively lesson plans, no empirical study) to identify the relevant literature with regard to the research questions for a later full-text analysis and synthesis. Although the main focus of the present literature review was the teaching in schools for special educational needs, also studies comparing both learning environments were included in the analysis. In the first step all publications were rated solely by their title. Therefor two independent raters decided with reference to the inclusion as well as exclusion criteria whether a publication fitted to the aim of the present study or not. In this first step N = 212 publications were accepted (κ = 0.81) for the second step of the selection process – the abstract rating. Similar to step one, two independent raters judged here on the basis of the abstracts of the accepted publications whether they were appropriate or not. As a result of the selection process, N = 13 publications remained in the sample (κ = 0.83). Then the remaining full-text publications were coded by two independent raters based on a categorical system taking four publication characteristics (e.g., author, year of publication), 16 categories regarding the studies’ sample and design (e.g., class size, applied tests and materials, kind of investigation) and categories referring to the study’s findings (e.g., concerning teaching methods, academic achievements, pedagogical orientation) into account. After examining the inter-rater agreement of the full-text coding (κ = 0.96) the research findings of all analyzed publications were synthetized.
The present narrative literature review revealed two main results. (1) The situation in classrooms of schools for special educational needs in Germany is nearly undiscovered. Only 13 studies investigated the teachers’ classroom behavior in this school type. Furthermore solely three of them were published after 2008, showing the lack of current research in this field. Due to the huge diversity regarding the sample sizes (ranging from N = 2 to N = 700), the composition of the sample referring to the children’s special educational needs, investigated constructs as well as employed instruments and methods a comparison of the studies is rather challenging. However, what did the analyzed studies reveal about the teaching in exclusive school settings? The studies indicate, for example, that classical teaching methods dominate (e.g., teacher-centered teaching), although there is evidence that Montessori-oriented teaching is associated with higher achievements in math, literacy, and reading compared to traditional teaching methods. Additionally investigations concerning the process quality in classrooms found that the teaching quality (e.g., internal differentiation) is at a low to medium level. (2) Inclusive schools and schools for special educational needs differ in terms of the teaching quality but are almost equal regarding applied teaching methods. Studies comparing both learning environments indicate that teachers in inclusive classrooms show, for example, a higher student orientation, better classroom management as well as structuring. The findings of the present narrative literature review indicate desiderata referring to the lack of studies investigating the classroom situation in schools for special educational needs and the systematic comparing of the teachers’ classroom behavior in inclusive schools and schools for special educational needs.
Baker, E. T., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (1994). The effects of inclusion on learning. Educational Leadership 53:33-35. Helmke, A. (2010). Unterrichtsqualität und Lehrerprofessionalität. Diagnose, Evaluation und Verbesserung des Unterrichts [Teaching quality and teacher’s professionality. Diagnosis, evaluation and improvement of teaching]. Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyer. Hocutt, A. M. (1996). Effectiveness of special education: Is placement the critical factor?. The future of children, 77-102. Kocaj, A., Kuhl, P., Kroth, A. J., Pant, H. A., & Stanat, P. (2014). Wo lernen Kinder mit sonderpädagogischem Förderbedarf besser? : Ein Vergleich schulischer Kompetenzen zwischen Regel- und Förderschulen in der Primarstufe [Where do students with special educational needs learn better? A comparison of achievement between regular primary schools and special schools]. Kölner Zeitschrift Für Soziologie Und Sozialpsychologie, 66(2), 165-191. Myklebust, J. O. (2006). Class placement and competence attainment among students with special educational needs. British Journal of Special Education, 33(2), 76-81. Ruijs, N. M., & Peetsma, T. T. (2009). Effects of inclusion on students with and without special educational needs reviewed. Educational Research Review, 4(2), 67-79. Schumann, B. (2007). „Ich schäme mich ja so!“ Die Sonderschule für Lernbehinderte als „Schonraumfalle“ [“I feel so ashamed!“ The special school for children with learning difficulties as sheltered environment trap]. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt. Wocken, H. (2005). Andere Länder, andere Schüler? Vergleichende Untersuchung von Förderschülern in den Bundesländern Brandenburg, Hamburg und Niedersachsen (Forschungsbericht) Mai 2005 [Different countries, different students? Comparing analysis of children with special educational needs in the federal states Brandenburg, Hamburg and Niedersachsen (research report) May 2005]. Retrieved at http://bidok.uibk.ac.at/download/wocken-forschungsbericht.pdf
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