04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
The ratification of the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities obliges the signatory states to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels” (Art. 24 CRPD). Thus, it constitutes an international challenge, raising questions, for instance, about how to prepare preservice teachers for their future tasks (e.g. Forlin, García Cedillo, Romero-Contreras, Fletcher & Rodríguez Hernández, 2010). The presence of capable teachers is one of the main factors for the development of high-quality inclusive learning environments (Romi & Leyser, 2006). Teachers’ beliefs, their attitudes, self-efficacy and willingness towards inclusion have a great impact on their acting in class (Forlin et al., 2010; Sharma, Forlin & Loreman, 2008). Therefore, apart from professional knowledge and skills, present models of teachers’ competences underline the importance of professional values and beliefs as well as of motivational orientations (Baumert & Kunter, 2011).
In 2018, the University of Paderborn implemented a research project which deals with the students’ development of competences regarding the implementation of inclusive education called “KinU - Kompetenzentwicklung im inklusiven Unterricht”. Within this project preservice primary or special school teachers in their undergraduate studies will initially participate in a university course that deals with the topic of inclusion. During this course they will work on the issues of definition and understanding of inclusion, education and training in inclusive classes, social participation and observation in inclusive classrooms. The Austrian and Italian (South Tyrolian) school systems will be thematized, too.
Afterwards the participants of the experimental group will take part in a field trip to South Tyrol (Brixen) and Upper Austria (Linz). They will participate in the partner universities’ seminars, observe teaching lessons and get into contact with Italian and Austrian students and lecturers. Italian and Austrian students will visit the University of Paderborn and German schools as well. Meanwhile the control group will observe teaching lessons in “inclusive schools” in Germany. In this second part of the course, both groups of students will work on observation tasks (e.g. How are learning tasks differentiated to address the learning needs of the individual student?). Based on scientific literature and talks, the students are then asked to reflect about what they have observed, thus getting them “involved, [allowing] them to become part of a new experience [and making] them work on an analytical task” (Goetz, Jaritz & Oser, 2011, p. 5).
Germany, Austria and Italy have all signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Thus, all three countries face the same challenges of implementing inclusive education and an effective teacher training. There are, however, huge differences regarding the realization of inclusion and the historical background of educating students with special educational needs. Whereas in Italy by law there are no special schools since 1977, which makes Italy the only country in Europe that has reached 99.6 % inclusion of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools (European Agency, 2018b), the Austrian school system more closely resembles Germany’s highly differentiated one (Textor, 2018). However, since the 1990s learners with special educational needs by law are able to go to mainstream primary (1993) and lower-secondary schools (1996) (European Agency, 2018a). In addition, model regions for inclusion were implemented in Carinthia, Styria and Tyrol (Textor, 2018).
The KinU-project allows students of the experimental group to get to know two foreign school systems with different approaches to and states of inclusion. Therefore, the main question of the project is whether the confrontation with the South Tyrolian and Austrian school system does positively influence the development of inclusive competences. Does it positively change the students’ attitudes, self-efficacy, willingness and motivation towards inclusive education?
The present project will be carried out at least twice, thus surveying a sample of N=160 students who qualify as teachers for primary or special schools. The first project round will take place during the summer term 2019. Two parallel courses are offered to the students as regular university seminars focusing on inclusion. The participants are divided into an experimental and control group. Whereas the students in the first group will take part in an excursion to Southern Tyrol and Upper Austria, the control group meanwhile will stay in Germany and conduct observations in “inclusive” schools. In order to investigate the development of students’ competences, the project was designed as a quasi-experimental study with three measurement times. The students are asked to fill in a questionnaire thrice. The first survey will take place prior to the beginning of the university course. A second survey will be realized at the end of the theoretical seminar sessions, whereas the third measurement time goes along with the end of the excursion to Italy and Austria respectively the observations in Germany. The questionnaire will contain scales regarding students’ attitudes, self-efficacy, willingness and motivation towards inclusive education. The students’ answers are assessed on five-point Likert scales. Apart from the questionnaire an additional knowledge test will be applied to assess students’ inclusion-related proficiency and learning growths over time. In a further step, individual interviews will be conducted to get a deeper insight into the participants’ individual inclusive development and self reflection processes.
It is expected that students participating in the experimental group will more positively benefit from the project with respect to their attitudes, self-efficacy and beliefs. The confrontation with different school systems and interactions with students, teachers and lecturers from different countries may broaden their horizon. For instance, Kricke, Kürten and Amrhein (2015) state that whereas German students often have a narrow understanding of inclusion focusing primarily on disability, international students frequently integrate different dimensions of heterogeneity into their conceptions, thus having a broader idea of inclusion. Therefore, it is assumed that the preservice teachers will critically question and reconsider their previous conceptions of inclusive education (Goetz et al., 2011; Kricke et al., 2015). In agreement with Kricke et al. (2015), it is anticipated that, following the excursion, the students will be more willing and motivated to deal with and implement inclusion. The international experience may lead to “more global minded educators [with] new professional horizons and a fresh perspective on the educational system of their home country” (Goetz et al., 2011, p. 1). Based on the article of Sharma, Forlin and Loreman (2008) it can generally be expected that participating in a university course about inclusion will improve the students’ attitudes. Burton and Pace (2009) additionally note a positive development of students’ attitudes, beliefs and confidence following university modules and structured field experiences (tutoring students). Furthermore, due to the results of previous studies, differences between students qualifying for teaching at primary school and those qualifying for teaching at special school are assumed in the way that students of special education seem to be more supportive of inclusion. However they also tend to be more concerned about the right preparation especially of general educators (e.g. Forlin et al., 2010; Romi & Leyser, 2006).
Baumert, J., & Kunter, M. (2011). Das Kompetenzmodell von COACTIV [The COACTIV model of teachers’ professional competence]. In M. Kunter, J. Baumert, W. Blum, S. Krauss, & M. Neubrand (Hrsg.) (2011). Professionelle Kompetenz von Lehrkräften. Ergebnisse des Forschungsprogramms COACTIV (pp. 29-53). Münster: Waxmann. Burton, D., & Pace, D. (2009). Preparing pre-service teachers to teach mathematics in inclusive classrooms: A three-year case study. School Science and Mathematics, 109(2), 108-115. European Agency (2018a). Country information for Austria – Legislation and policy. Available at: https://www.european-agency.org/country-information/austria/legislation-and-policy (last accessed: 07.01.2019). European Agency (2018b). Country information for Italy – Legislation and policy. Available at: https://www.european-agency.org/country-information/italy/legislation-and-policy (last accessed: 07.01.2019). Forlin, C., García Cedillo, I., Romero-Contreras, S., Fletcher, T., & Rodríguez Hernández, H. J. (2010). Inclusion in Mexico: Ensuring supportive attitudes by newly graduated teachers. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(7), 723-739. Goetz, T., Jaritz, G., & Oser, F. (2011). Introduction. In T. Goetz, G. Jaritz, & F. Oser (Eds.). Pains and Gains of International Mobility in Teacher Education (pp. 1-6). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Kricke, M., Kürten, L., & Amrhein, B. (2015). „Der Blick über den Tellerrand“ – Innovation und Professionalisierung durch Internationalisierung einer inklusiven LehrerInnenbildung [“Seeing the bigger picture” – Innovation and professionalisation through internationalisation of inclusive teacher training]. In M. Kricke, & L. Kürten (Hrsg.). Internationalisierung der LehrerInnenbildung. Perspektiven aus Theorie und Praxis (pp. 81-98). Münster: Waxmann. Romi, S., & Leyser, Y. (2006). Exploring inclusion preservice training needs: A study of variables associated with attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 21(1), 85-105. Sharma, U., Forlin, C., & Loreman, T. (2008). Impact of training on pre-service teachers’ attitudes and concerns about inclusive education and sentiments about persons with disbilities. Disability & Society, 23(7), 773-785. Textor, A. (2018). Einführung in die Inklusionspädagogik (2. Aufl.) [Introduction to Inclusive Pedagogy]. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt. United Nations (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD]. Available at: http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf (last acceced: 09.01.2019].
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