04 SES 02 A, Researching Inclusion Across Countries: Teacher Self-Efficacy, Student Rights and Educational Success
Inclusion is “based on the assertion of the same right to a quality education within their communities for all learners” (UNESCO, 1999, p. 21). Since the issuance of the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994), governments globally have increasingly focused on the development of inclusive education systems. As a result of this growing commitment to inclusion, classroom populations are becoming increasingly diverse. Educational settings that promote inclusion are more successful in achieving learning for all, the ultimate goal of education. Teachers who have adopted inclusive teaching approaches are able to improve academic standards for all students over time (Jordan, Schwartz, & McGhie-Richmond, 2009). Even when placed in inclusive classrooms, many students with disabilities do not participate optimally in the academic or social life of the classroom. Significant concerns remain about the capacity for schools to effectively support the diversity of learners present in schools and the capacity for traditional educational approaches to support inclusion (Slee, 2010). As a result, many students with disabilities are still segregated; they still experience negative classroom climates and peer interactions; they are still alienated and bullied; and they still fail to reach their academic potential (Symes & Humphrey, 2010). The challenge is to equip and empower teachers with the competence and confidence required to effectively teach all students in inclusive classrooms. Pre-service teacher education programs and in-service professional development are key in teachers’ development of effective instructional practices for inclusive classrooms.
Little is known about the nature and duration of experiences required for the development of effective inclusive instructional practices in pre-service teacher education programs (King et al, 2010). It is known that for successful school inclusion teachers must possess the belief that all children belong in the neighbourhood school and the belief that they are responsible and have the competence to teach them (Jordan, 2018). Teacher self-efficacy, the belief that one is a capable educator, is known to influence teacher professional commitment, resilience, teacher performance, and student achievement (Holzberger, Philipp, & Kunter, 2013). Teacher self-efficacy is a key competency for teachers in inclusive classrooms. Teachers with high self-efficacy work harder and persist longer to assist students who experience learning challenges (Woolfolk, Hoy, Hoy, & Davis, 2009). Teachers need to gain theoretical and practical knowledge that prepares them for their teaching practice; and also possess the belief that they are responsible for the education of all of their students within diverse classrooms (Jordan et al., 2009). Developing expertise in teaching is a gradual and multifaceted process, involving the acquisition of content and procedural knowledge, skills and abilities, a student-centered approach to instruction, and professional self-awareness and understanding. Effective professional learning leads to improved practice, which in turn, leads to student achievement (Katz & Dack, 2013). Pre-service teacher education programs are vital in teachers’ development of effective instructional practices for inclusive classrooms (Miesera & Gebhardt, 2018).
This paper presents a comparison of the beliefs of pre-service teachers at the end of their respective teacher education programs in Germany and Canada. Three separate questions are compared. What are preservice teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching? How efficacious do they feel about teaching in inclusive classrooms? What are the key experiences that prepare them for instructing in the inclusive classroom.
At the end of their pre-service program, participants completed the Teacher Efficacy for Inclusive Practice questionnaire (TEIP, see Sharma et al., 2012), which assessed their feelings of teacher efficacy as their teacher education programs concluded. Participants beliefs about their roles and responsibilities for including students with exceptional needs in the classroom, including those with disabilities or at-risk for academic failure, was measured with the Beliefs about Learning and Teaching Questionnaire (BLTQ, see Glenn, 2018). These psychometrically sound measures were completed in English in Canada and in German in Germany A subgroup of participants in Canada was interviewed to better understand what experiences preservice teachers have had that influence their instructional practice for inclusive education. A concept mapping technique was employed (Kane & Trochim, 2007). Concept mapping involves the creation of a structured conceptualization through a 6-step process: (1) identify participants and research questions; (2) transcribe participants’ interviews, remove redundant statements, and record unique statements; (3) return these statements to participants. Each participant reviews all of the responses to the same question, and sorts them into groups that make sense to her or him; (4) apply statistical analyses to the participants’ groupings of statements, and decide on the optimal number of concepts; (5) label the concepts after reviewing labels provided by participants in the sort task (6) create a computer-generated map identifying the relationships amongst ideas within a given thematic cluster and show the position of each cluster within the overall structure. The Canadian participants participated in steps 1 to 6. The German participants completed steps 3 to 6. The unique statements were translated to German. Statements were compared with the concept maps to determine the similarities and differences between Canadian and German preservice teachers for experiences that contribute to inclusive practice.
With respect to the Canadian sample, the results demonstrate that across Canada, Faculties of Education are preparing teachers who express confidence in educating students with special education needs. Further, these teachers believe that students with disabilities have the ability to learn and that they, as teachers, have the skills and ability to teach within the inclusive classroom. A hierarchical cluster analysis revealed 6 themes: Practicum Experiences; Mentoring Relationships; Education Program; Professional Development Past Jobs/Positions that Influence Practices Now; Personal Life Experience. The analysis had a stress value of 0.17, meaning the map was a very good representation of the data. To select the number of clusters in the final solution, the investigators examined the conceptual meaning of the cluster themes and the statistical bridging values in different solutions (Kane & Trochim, 2007). Each of the 6 clusters contained 16 to 24 statements with an average bridging value between 0.15 and 0.58, which was a very good representation of the data. The Germany sample will be compared to the findings of the Canadian sample to determine if the cluster of statements is similar or different. Discussion will revolve around the reasons for the findings. The results of this research have implications for understanding the acquisition of effective inclusive practices and the development of teachers’ self-efficacy for inclusive practices in diverse classrooms. Of primary importance is the knowledge gained concerning the types and qualities of professional learning that positively influence pre-service teachers’ beliefs, practices, and self-efficacy in inclusive classrooms. Teacher education programs can build on this new understanding to support the implementation of inclusive practices in Canadian and German schools
Brown, C., & Zhang, D. (2016). Is engaging in evidence-informed practice in education rational? What accounts for discrepancies in teachers’ attitudes towards evidence use in schools? British Educational Research Journal, 42(5), 780-801. Glenn, C. V. (2018). The measurement of teacher’s beliefs about ability: Development of the Beliefs About Learning and Teaching Questionnaire. Exceptionality Education International, 28, 51-66. Holzberger, D., Philipp, A., & Kunter, M. (2013). How teachers’ self-efficacy is related to instructional quality: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 774. Jordan, A. (2018). The Supporting Effective Teaching Project: 1. Factors influencing student success in inclusive elementary classrooms. Exceptionality Education International, 28, 10–27. Jordan, A., Schwartz, E., & McGhie-Richmond, D. (2009). Preparing teachers for inclusive education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 535-542. Kane, M., & Trochim, W. M. K. (2007). Concept mapping for planning and evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Katz, S. & Dack, L.A. (2013). Intentional interruptions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. King, G., Specht, J., Bartlett, D., Servais, M., Petersen, P., Brown, H., Young, G., & Stewart, S. (2010). A qualitative study of workplace factors influencing expertise in the delivery of children's education and mental health services. Journal of Research in Interprofessional Practice and Education, 13, 265-283. 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 33(5), 707-722. DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2017.1421599 Sharma, U., Loreman, T. & Forlin, C. (2012), Measuring teacher efficacy to implement inclusive practices. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12, 12–21. Slee, R. (2010). Revisiting the politics of special educational needs and disability studies in education with Len Barton. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(5), 561-573. Symes, W., & Humphrey, N. (2010). Peer-group indicators of social inclusion among pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) in mainstream secondary schools: A comparative study. School Psychology International, 31, 478–494. UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca Statement Framework. UNESCO. (1999). A Review of UNESCO Activities in the Light of The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action. Woolfolk Hoy, A., Hoy, W.K., & Davis, H. (2009). Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs. In A. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation in school (pp. 627-654). Mahwah, N.J: Erlbaum.
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