04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Inclusive education is an international trend, which gradually becomes the new norm for education policies in many countries. This is in line with the Salamanca Statement ((United Nations, 1994) and the United Nations Convention of the Rights for People with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2006). Both emphasize the importance of educational environments that maximize the academic and social development of all students, with or without special educational needs (SEN).
Active social participation by the students in the school and recognition that students are valued members of the school community, are prerequisites for the realization of successful inclusive education (Bottrell & Goodwin, 2011). Students’ social participation is thus seen as an important outcome measure (Koster, Nakken, Pijl & Van Houten, 2009). Koster et.al. (2009) have defined four key themes of social participation, namely (1) friendships with peers, (2) positive interactions with peers, (3) a positive social self-perception and (4) acceptance by peers.
Although the ideology behind inclusive education is something to strive for, studies have shown ambiguous results whether or not students with SEN achieve social participation in inclusive classrooms. Compared to typically developing peers, students with SEN in inclusive settings are less accepted, have fewer friendships, have less interaction (Petry, 2018) and a lower social self-perception (Bossaert, Colpin, Pijl & Petry, 2012). It is widely recognized that these problems may have negative consequences for students in both short and long term (Kenneth, Bukowski & Laursen, 2011), like adjusting problems, poor social skills and depression.
An alternative to inclusive education is an education setting in which students from special education and students from regular schools go to the same school, so-called integrated education. To optimally stimulate students in their development, students from special education in integrated schools can follow so-called symbiosis trajectories. Such a trajectory means that students from special education follow courses in the regular school. By doing so, contact amongst students with and without SEN might increase, leading to more opportunities for social participation. Not much is known about the social participation of students with (different types of) SEN in an integrated secondary school setting. This study will try to fill this gap and will study three components of social participation (friendships, acceptance and social self-perception) of students with SEN in an integrated school setting in The Netherlands. Related factors of social participation will also be investigated.
Different factors may play a role in realizing a positive social participation, both peer- related and personal related factors. With regards to peer-related factors, De Boer and Pijl (2016) have stated that negative attitudes of peers is an important barrier in achieving social participation. Attitudes can be seen as an individual’s viewpoint or disposition towards a particular ‘object’ (a person, a thing, etc.) (Gall, Borg & Gall, 1996). Attitudes of students are most negative towards peers with social- emotional and behavior problems.
Secondly, attitudes are influence by peer norms, particularly in adolescence (Nesdale & Lawson, 2011). Peer norms in this context reflect the expected and accepted behavior of a social group (Shaw, 1981).
With regards to personal related factors, students’ own behavior and cognitive capabilities have been demonstrated to influence friendships and peer acceptance. Students with behavior problems are more often excluded, are less accepted and have fewer friends compared to typically developing students and students with a cognitive impairment (Newcombe, Bukowski & Pattee, 1993).
Lastly, a lack of social skills is frequently claimed to be an important factor hindering in realizing a positive social participation. However, little research has focused on the social skills of students with SEN and studies who did include this factor, did not support this assumption (e.g., Garrotte, 2017).
The cross-sectional study will be conducted at an integrated educational setting within The Netherlands. This secondary education setting combines four different types of schools; two regular secondary schools (vocational education), a secondary special education school for students with cognitive disabilities (CI) and a secondary special education school for students with behavioral disorders (BD). Approximately 940 students are attending this school setting, including app. 150 students with SEN. Three of the four key themes of social participation will be studied, namely friendships, acceptance and social self-perception. In addition, peer norms, attitude, social skills and behavioral problems are included to examine the influence of peer-related and personal related factors on the social participation of students with SEN. Sociometric data will be collected to assess friendships and acceptance of all students in the integrated educational setting, both of students with and without SEN. Students will be asked to nominated friends within their own classroom, but also friends outside of the classroom. To assess the third key component of social participation, students’ social self-perception, the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPPA; Harter, 1988) will be administered. This questionnaire is a self-report questionnaire for adolescents aged 12-18 years. It was designed to assess the global self-worth of a child and five different domains of self-perception: scholastic competence, social acceptance, athletic competence, physical appearance and behavioral conduct. Peer norms and attitudes will be measured using developed questionnaires. The attitude questionnaire will focus on personal attitudes towards other students within the school, specifically regarding behavioral intent. The questionnaire on peer norms will inquire after peer norms held by friends and classmates. Teachers will be asked to rate the social skills and behavior of their students. Behavior will be measured using the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF) (Achenbach, 2001). For the social skills of students, a standardized questionnaire, called the Social Competence Observation List (SCOL), on social-emotional development of the students will be used (Joosten, 2006). After receiving informed consent from parent and/or students, all questionnaires will be digitally administered during school hours.
This cross-sectional study will provide insight into the social participation of students with and without SEN in an integrated school setting. Differences between types of schools will become apparent. Moreover, this study will look into peer-related and personal related factors that might influence social participation, such as attitude, peer norms, behavior and social skills. Based on the literature, it is hypnotized that the results of this study will show that students with CI in an integrated school setting will hold more positive self-perceptions, have more friends and feel less rejected and more accepted in comparison to students within BD. Furthermore it is expected students following the so-called symbiosis trajectories will form more extended networks in comparison to students with SEN without symbiosis trajectories. These trajectories provide the opportunity for increased contact with other peers, therefore making the formation of more friendships more likely. Attitudes and peer norms towards students with CI are expected to be more positive than towards students with BD. Previous research has shown this tendency (Laws & Kelly, 2005). Internalizing and externalizing behavior is expected to have a negative effect on all key components of social participation. Social skills are expected to differ between students with CI and BD, with better social skills predicting more friendships and more acceptance. Understanding the relations between the key components of social participation (friendships, acceptance, social self-perception) is critical to the development of students with SEN within our educational systems. The results of this study might offer new insights into the social participation of students with SEN in an integrated school setting and factors fostering or hindering this.
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