04 SES 12 A, Teachers' emotions & perceptions of parents' involvement and diverse classroom-management
Paper/Ignite Talk Session
With the implementation of the Dutch policy called Passend Onderwijs (law on inclusive education), more students with special educational needs (SEN) are included in regular education. As a consequence, regular classes consist of a heterogeneous student population nowadays. To meet all the different individual needs of students, differentiation is an important teacher skill in today’s diverse classrooms. However, it is also a notoriously difficult one (Van de Grift, Helms-Lorenz & Maulana, 2014) through which teachers do not always respond sufficiently to the individual needs of students (Van der Meer, 2011). In this study the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is used to examine why some teachers are able to differentiate well, while others struggle.
According to the TPB, behavior is formed by intentions. Therefore, behavioral intentions are the most important antecedents for whether or not to show certain behavior (Ajzen & Dasgupta, 2015). Behavioral intentions are based on a person’s attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived control (Ajzen, 1991). Attitudes are formed from thoughts about the consequences after the end of the behavior and the value attached to these consequences. Subjective norms concern thoughts and beliefs about the expectations of others in combination with the motivation to meet these expectations. Finally, perceived behavioral control refers to beliefs with regard to whether or not the behavior can be achieved (Ajzen & Dasgupta, 2015). In general it holds that, the more favorable the attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control are with respect to certain behavior, the stronger the behavioral intention will be. In addition, there is a greater chance that an individual will show the certain behavior if both the behavioral intention and the perceived behavioral control are strong.
The TPB has been used in various educational research settings, like inclusive education. However, in the existing research the focus is mainly on (one of) the three factors influencing the behavioral intentions of teachers. For example, De Boer, Pijl, and Minnaert (2011) examined teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education. Sharma, Loreman, and Forlin (2012) were mainly focused on the predictive value of perceived behavioral control. So far, little research has been conducted in which the relationship between intentions and behavior was examined. In the available studies in which the intentions were examined, the behavioral component was often omitted (e.g. Batsiou, Bebetos, Panteli & Antoniou, 2008). To fill the gap in knowledge, all elements of the TPB will be applied in the current study. The main objective is to examine how differences between teachers (in attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived control) play a role in their differentiation practices on the short and long term. By doing so, more knowledge will be gained about teachers’ differentiation practices and how their behavior can be explained. Therefore, the following research questions are defined:
- What attitudes do teachers hold towards inclusive education, and how do teachers experience their perceived control and subjective norms regarding differentiation?
- What behavioral intentions do teachers hold regarding differentiation, and how do these relate to their attitudes, perceived control, and subjective norms?
- To what extent do teachers show their intended behavior in daily practice?
A mixed methods design is used with a total sample of around 100 teachers from secondary vocational education in the Netherlands. In order to answer the first research question, all teachers fill out a questionnaire. The attitudes of teachers are measured by the cognitive and affective scale of the Multidimensional Attitudes Towards Inclusive Education Scale (MATIES, Mahat, 2008). In order to measure their perceived control, the components ‘Efficacy to Use Inclusive Instructions’ and ‘Efficacy in Managing Behavior’ of the Teacher Efficacy for Inclusive Practice scale (TEIP, Sharma, Loreman & Forlin, 2012) are used. For measuring the subjective norms, a modified version of the TEIP is constructed. The same statements are questioned, but from a different perspective. Teachers are not asked to give an opinion about their own actions, but to give an opinion about the extent to which they think that their principal attaches importance to what is stated in the statements. Finally, the behavioral component of the MATIES is used to measure the behavioral intentions of the teachers. All variables are measured on a six-point Likert scale, varying from strongly disagree to strongly agree. In addition to these questionnaires a semi-structured in-depth interview is constructed, which provides the opportunity to get a better understanding of teachers’ opinions. Twenty-five teachers are selected from the complete sample for these in-depth interviews, based on their scores on the questionnaire. To answer the second and third research question, a longitudinal multiple case study is carried out in which 14 of these 100 teachers are followed extensively, through multiple measurements. First of all, teachers fill out a digital diary for 1 class, during 20 weeks in total (within one school year). In this digital diary teachers are asked to reflect on their differentiation behavior within the previous lesson, and to write down their intentions regarding differentiation for the next lesson, and so on. In addition, classroom observations are conducted to measure the differentiation behavior of teachers. Because of the mixed methods design, the data consists of both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data collected with the questionnaires will be analyzed using the software SPSS, while the qualitative data derived from the diaries will be transcribed and coded with respectively F4 and ATLAS.TI. For the analysis of the classroom observations, a coding scheme will be used.
While writing this proposal, data collection is still running. However, based on very preliminary results, it seems that teachers do not always believe that inclusive education is feasible and realistic, because some problems of students are too challenging for them and they nor have enough time nor the proper knowledge and experience to handle these problems. Also, in contrast to our expectations, attitudes and subjective norms do not always seem to predict teachers’ behavioral intentions. For example, some teachers have a somewhat negative attitude towards inclusive education but still are willing to implement differentiation and to make sure the individual needs of students are met. The most important reason for them to intend to differentiate is because they think every child deserves a chance and children should not be excluded. Additionally, results show that teachers lack in carrying out their intended behavior in daily practice. According to their diaries, most of the times this has to do with unexpected moments during the lesson. Besides this, the results show a variation in the definition teachers use for differentiation. In general, it seems that teachers only think of the cognitive aspect of differentiation when they formulate their intentions, like students’ capacity to learn. It seems that teachers plan the more cognitive aspect of differentiation, while the social and emotional aspects of differentiation seem to be more intuitive. During the presentation, these results will be explained in more detail.
Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211. Ajzen, I. & Dasgupta, N. (2015). Explicit and implicit beliefs, attitudes, and intentions: The role of conscious and unconscious processes in human behavior. In P. Haggard & B. Eitam (Eds.), The sense of agency (pp. 115-144). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Batsiou, S., E. Bebetsos, P. Panteli, and P. Antoniou. 2008. Attitudes and intention of Greek and Cypriot primary education teachers towards teaching pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education 12, no. 2: 201–19. De Boer, A., Pijl, S. J., & Minnaert, A. (2011). Regular primary school teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education: A review of the literature. International journal of inclusive education, 15(3), 331-353. Mahat, M. (2008). The Development of a Psychometrically-Sound Instrument to Measure teachers’ Multidimensional Attitudes toward Inclusive Education. International Journal of Special Education, 23(1), 82–92. Sharma, U., T. Loreman., & Forlin, C. (2012). Measuring Teacher Efficacy to Implement Inclusive Practices. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(1), 12–21. Van de Grift, W., Helms-Lorenz, M. & Maulana, R. (2014). Teaching skills of student teachers: Calibration of an evaluation instrument and its value in predicting student academic engagement. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 43, 150-159. DOI: 10.1016/j.stueduc.2014.09.003 Van der Meer, J. (2011). Over de grenzen van de leerkracht. Passend onderwijs in de praktijk. Den Haag: ECPO.
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