04 SES 07 C, Teachers' Perspectives On Inclusion: Taking Stock
Global emphasis on inclusive education has increased the inclusion of students with special needs. Gaining rapid momentum post UN convention for persons with disabilities (2006) there is a worldwide change in the legislations and policies including India. In India two legislations i.e. the Right to Education (2009) and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (2016) are in line with the UN convention (2006) and are committed to make education inclusive for students with special needs across the country. Both legislations display serious intent to not only provide but also to make education inclusive for students with special needs. According to these legislations all students should attend regular school, consequently awareness and visibility of students with special needs have increased in last few years. However, making education inclusive does not only means placing students in the regular classroom (Nilsen, 2018), but also requires to appropriately address the academic and social needs of the student (Nilsen, 2018). In India, few studies have concluded that regular teachers have little knowledge about special needs education and express their willingness to receive training (Parasuram, 2006; Srivastava, De Boer & Pijl, 2017). In such a situation social inclusion could be the first step and social participation of such students should be the first response in addressing special needs towards inclusion. However, several studies in other countries have found that teachers lack in their preparation and knowledge about strategies to include students with special needs particularly social-emotional problems and behavioral difficulties (SEBD), specifically for their social participation (Pijl, Frostad & Flem, 2008).
Social participation has been defined as consisting of being accepted by peers, having friends, contacts and interactions, and a positive social self-perception (Koster, Nakken, Pijl and Van Houten, 2009). However, Schwab, Gebhardt, Krammer, & Gasteiger-Klicpera (2015) conclude that teachers it find difficult to support the social participation of students with SEBD despite the vast availability of social interventions. Furthermore, according to Garrote, Dessemonted & Opitz, (2017) these interventions primarily address just one of the four aspects of social participation: friendships, contacts and interactions, acceptance by peers and social self-perception. Little is known about the strategies used in daily practice to facilitate the social participation of students with SEBD. In India, hardly any study is available on either social participation of students with SEBD or whether teachers have any knowledge about strategies or interventions to facilitate social participation of such students. It is important to obtain an accurate understanding of regular teachers’ strategies that influence the social participation of students, especially students with SEBD because this group of students experience the most difficulties with their social participation in the inclusive classroom (Henke et al., 2017). It entails prime point in the context of India because hardly studies have reported on the academic outcomes of students with special needs/SEBD who have been included thus far. Moreover, if their social participation is also not facilitated then the whole movement losses its purpose and seems rather futile. Hence, with the objective of gauging the social participation of students with special needs/ SEBD and its facilitation by teachers in regular schools a study was set up in Jaipur, India. In order to describe teachers’ strategies to enhance social participation this study has following main research questions:
- Which strategies does teachers’ in India apply on a daily basis to increase social participation of students with special needs/SEBD?
- Which strategies do teachers’ in India find effective to increase social participation of students with special needs/SEBD?
- Which variables are related to the strategies that teachers apply on daily basis to enhance social participation of students with special needs/SEBD in India?
In the context of India, continent of Asia or in developing countries hardly studies have been conducted to understand social participation of students with special needs/SEBD, interventions or strategies applied by teachers’ to facilitate it. The current study is based on a local language translation and culturally adapted version of the “Teacher Strategy Questionnaire for Social Participation in the Classroom” (TSQ-SPC), (De Leeuw, De Boer and Minnaert, 2018) which is based on the focus group study and conceptual teacher strategies for social participation of De Leeuw, De Boer, Bijstra and Minnaert (2017). The questionnaire has the construct reliability ranging from marginally sufficient to high, with CR values ranging between .589 and .860. The adapted version is a self reported questionnaire is in three sections. Section one is about demographic information; Section two is about use of strategies with response as ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘How many times’; Section three is about the effectiveness of strategies as ‘barely effective’, ‘somewhat effective ’, highly effective’ on 44 strategies separated as social participation and pre-conditional strategies. Participants In order to answer the research questions, the questionnaire has been administered in a sample of teachers (N= 200) from private regular primary schools in India’s Jaipur city. Schools were contacted based on the following criteria: 1) were located within a 15-20 kilometre area for practical commuting reasons, 2) affiliated to the same educational board, 3) have a special education teacher or counsellor, and have students with special needs/SEBD with our without official diagnosed. For the analyses of data, the SPSS version 20 will be used. The demographic information will be presented in a table. The use of strategies in both categories of social participation and pre-conditional strategies will be analysed and presented. Next, the effectiveness of the strategies will be analysed and presented. The questionnaires are yet to be collected and data is yet to be analysed.
The study aims to gain insights into what regular education teachers actually do in their classrooms to facilitate the social participation of students with special needs/SEBD in India. Hence, it is expected to give an insight about the strategies that regular teachers use on daily basis and which of them they find effective in India. It will also give an insight about the variables such as gender, experience and training in special needs education as an important aspect to facilitate social participation of students with special needs/SEBD. The strategies that are used and found effective by the teachers will have larger implications. Those strategies could be then introduced at a larger level which is teacher training programmes at pre-service as well as in-service in India and other countries. Deriving from long years of practical experience in special needs education in India, the objective of social participation of students with special needs/SEBD is generally missing in teacher training programmes. The results of this study will be stepping stones for several further interventions. Therefore, the current study will not only add in the international knowledge tank but also will be a major contribution in India, along with other countries, which are taking steps in making education inclusive.
De Leeuw, R.R, De Boer, A.A., Bijstra, J., and Minnaert, A.E.M.G. (2017). Teacher strategies to support the social participation of students with SEBD in the regular classroom. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 1-15. De Leeuw, De Boer and Minnaert, (2018). What do Dutch general primary schoolteachers do to facilitate the social participation of students with SEBD? International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2018.1514081 Garrote, A., Dessemontet, R. S., and Opitz, E. M. (2017). Facilitating the social participation of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools: A review of school-based interventions. Educational Research Review, 20, 12-23. Henke, T., Bogda, K., Lambrecht, J., Bosse, S., Koch, H., Maaz, K., and Spörer, N. (2017). Will you be my friend? A multilevel network analysis of friendships of students with and without special educational needs backgrounds in inclusive classrooms. Zeitschrift Für Erziehungswissenschaft, 20(3), 449-474. Koster, M., Nakken, H., Pijl, S.J. and Houten. V.E. (2009) Being part of the peer group: a literature study focusing on the social dimension of inclusion in education, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13:2, 117-140, DOI: 10.1080/13603110701284680 Nilsen, N (2018): Inside but still on the outside? Teachers’ experiences with the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs in general education, International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2018.1503348 Parasuram, K. (2006). Variables that affect teachers' attitudes towards disability and inclusive education in Mumbai, India. Disability & Society, 21(3), 231-242. Pijl, S. J., Frostad, P., and Flem, A. (2008). The social position of pupils with special needs in regular schools. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(4), 387-405. Right to Education (2009). Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India (2009). http://mhrd.gov.in/rte_rules Accessed on 31 January 2019 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, (2016): Department of empowerment of person with disability; Ministry of social justice and welfare, government of India. http://disabilityaffairs.gov.in/content/search.php?cx=013280925726808751639%3Asavuhp8r-pi&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=UTF-8&q=rpwd&x=0&y=0 Accessed on 17 November 2018 Schwab, S., Gebhardt, M., Krammer, M., and Gasteiger-Klicpera, B. (2015). Linking Self-Rated Social Inclusion to Social Behaviour. An Empirical Study of Students With and Without Special Education Needs in Secondary Schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 30(1), 1-14. Srivastava. M., De Boer, A.A. and Pijl, S.J (2017). Preparing for the inclusive classroom: changing teachers’ attitudes and knowledge, Teacher Development, DOI: 10.1080/13664530.2017.1279681 UNCRPD. (2006). United Nations Enable. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=150/ (accessed April 2018).
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