04 SES 07 B, Teachers' Knowledge And Sense Of Self: A Research Overview
Since the introduction and signature of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, educational needs for students with disabilities and inclusive education issues have been covered and deeply researched mostly in Western countries. However, inclusive education of children with disabilities, and in particular autistic children, as well as teachers’ preparedness and knowledge in regard to these pedagogical practices are under-researched in Algeria. In this respect, this paper which is based on my doctoral research attempts to contribute to this nascent area of research by shedding light on prospective teachers’ knowledge of autism and preparedness to include and teach autistic students.
More clearly, this research is driven by most recent changes that have happened in the Algerian educational system. Indeed, as a way to promote inclusion, a number of laws have been issued by the Algerian government in support of people with disabilities. One of the articles that has been issued in support of individuals with disabilities is the executive decree n°06-455 which promises them access to different places and opportunities including “physical, social, economic, and cultural” (Kaci, 2019, p.119). Nonetheless Kaci (2019) has declared that these promises and decrees are only “words on paper” (p.119) as real-world realisation and implementation of these laws has not been observed.
In reviewing the studies that have been conducted in the context of Algeria about inclusion and autism, student-teachers’ knowledge and teacher training has not been clearly addressed. The majority of research conducted in Algeria addressed incorporation of inclusive education approach and its effects on autistic children (e.g. Mecherbet & Azzouz, 2012), University English as Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ attitudes (e.g Belaid and Sarnou, 2019), etc. Although inclusive education is being promoted and reinforced by the Algerian policy, little focus from research is directed towards teacher preparation programmes and their relation to inclusion. To date, there has not been a study that has explicitly focused on teacher preparation programmes and autism in the Algerian context.
In this respect, this research intends to inquire into the current situation of autism education in Algeria through shedding light on the Algerian EFL teacher preparation programme. As there is a move towards inclusive education, my focus is on general education teachers. In this research, EFL students/graduates who study(ied) at University or Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) will be my case study. In Algeria teachers can be graduates of ENS or University. Accordingly, it initially seeks to investigate EFL students’/graduates’ knowledge about autism and bringing about possible connections between their knowledge and the EFL teacher preparation programme. Therefore, the research questions are as follows:
1- What is EFL students’/graduates’ knowledge of autism?
2- How does EFL teacher preparation programme relate to EFL students’/graduates’ knowledge of autism?
This study employs theories that are built on Foucault’s arguments and beliefs which are critical disability theory (Hosking, 2008; Shakespeare, 2014; Devlin & Pothier, 2006) and decolonial theory (Ndlovu, 2016; 2019). The use of these theories will help to inform this research revealing the possible connections that may exist between EFL students’/graduates’ knowledge and the ENS/University curriculum.
There are different ways in which this study will contribute. It will mainly fill the gap in literature in the Algerian research community. Furthermore, its findings will provide further guidance on the various ways that inclusive education can be reinforced and implemented not only in Algeria but also in other countries where this pedagogical approach is still in its initial stages. Also, Algerian universities have adopted the LMD system (Bologna process) and still preserve the French built institutions ENS which makes this research relevant to the European context as well.
This research seeks to address inclusive education for autistic children trying to address their rights and eliminate discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion of autistic students from schools. Therefore, I will adopt a critical paradigm which is usually used for the purpose of critically researching and investigating social justice-based studies. In this paradigm, my role is to observe and recognise discriminatory practices, injustices and lack of equality that may characterise a societal structure in which the researcher should oppose these practices and develop a “sense of responsibility” (Mertens, 2007, p.212). I will adopt a qualitative approach to realise this study. Both interviews and focus groups will be employed in this study in order to collect data about EFL students’/graduates’ knowledge about autism and their different views in relation to inclusive education for autistic children and the teacher preparation programme. I will be using individual interviews to gauge students’/graduates’ knowledge since this is an individual and personal feature that derives from one’s experiences, values and attitudes which can differ from one person to another. This study aims at generating students’/graduates’ knowledge in terms of the language used and the possible types of knowledge the participants may have that may stem from academic/professional sources or personal/non-academic experiences. In addition to specific questions that will be asked to the participants, scenarios will be used in order to disclose participants’ knowledge and reactions towards particular situations where students with autism are involved. Ramirez, Mukherjee, Vezzoli and Kramer (2015) present “scenarios methodology as a scholarly form of inquiry” (p.70). This technique will allow the participant to visualise what they would do in these cases as prospective teachers in a general classroom. From another angle, focus groups will be used with EFL students/graduates in order to gather data about EFL teacher preparation programme and its relationship to their knowledge about autism where the focus will be on their experience as students/graduates of ENS or University. For data analysis, critical thematic analysis will be used since my theoretical framework and research paradigm is based on critical perspectives. Through using critical thematic analysis, I will be able to delve into the macro-level which will eventually allow me to bring a connection between students’/graduates’ knowledge about autism and the possible institutional-driven influential power.
The expected outcomes of this study are mainly situated between two pendulums: effective/poor knowledge of autism and inclusive education while attitudes may be in both cases positive. When looking at the previously conducted studies related to inclusive education in Algeria (e.g. Bessai, 2019; Belaid & Sarnou, 2019; Kerbouche, 2019; Idri, 2019), it can be hypothesised that participants may not have sufficient knowledge but that their attitudes will be mostly positive. Also, as part of testing the feasibility of my data collection tools, I conducted interviews with EFL university graduates. Preliminary findings of this pilot study suggest that the participants have general ideas about autism and that their knowledge is influenced by their personal experiences, self-learning, media, and television series. Regarding their attitudes, the majority of the participants seems to be willing to include and teach autistic children, but they believe that training is required.
Belaid, L. & Sarnou, H. (2019). University for All: Including Special Needs Learners in Education. Journal of Studies in Language, Culture and Society, 1(2), 115-124. E-ISSN: 2676-1750. Bessai, R. (2019) The Role of Associations in the Process of Inclusive Education of Children with Disabilities. Journal of Studies in Language, Culture and Society, 1(2), 77-84. E-ISSN: 2676-1750. Devlin, R., & Pothier, D. (Eds.). (2006). Critical disability theory: Essays in philosophy, politics, policy, and law. UBC press. Hosking, D. L. (2008). Critical disability theory. In A paper presented at the 4th Biennial Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University, UK (Vol. 14, No. 5, p. 736). Idri, N. (2019). Integration of Learners with Special Needs: A socio-cultural clue to debate. In Actes du séminaire national organisé les 03 et 04 décembre 2016: L’enseignement inclusif pour l’intégration sociale en Algérie : Réalité et perspectives à la lumière des expériences aguerries (pp.109-118). Béjaïa: Université Abderrahmane MIRA. Kaci, F. (2019). Etudiants Handicapés : Entre Bonne Volonté et Triste Réalités [Disabled students: between good will and sad realities]. In Actes du séminaire national organisé les 03 et 04 décembre 2016: L’enseignement inclusif pour l’intégration sociale en Algérie : Réalité et perspectives à la lumière des expériences aguerries (pp.119-123). Béjaïa : Université Abderrahmane MIRA. Kerbouche, A. (2019). Soutien et accompagnement de l’étudiant handicapé Algérien [Support and accompaniment of the disabled Algerian student]. In Actes du séminaire national organisé les 03 et 04 décembre 2016: L’enseignement inclusif pour l’intégration sociale en Algérie : Réalité et perspectives à la lumière des expériences aguerries (pp.71-74). Béjaïa : Université Abderrahmane MIRA. Mecherbet, A., & Azzouz, L. (2012). Quels effets à l'inclusion des enfants autistes? [What are the effects of including autistic children?]. In Biennale internationale de l'éducation, de la formation et des pratiques professionnelles. Mertens, D. M. (2007). Transformative paradigm: Mixed methods and social justice. Journal of mixed methods research, 1(3), 212-225. Ndlovu, S. (2016). Obstacles and opportunities for students with disabilities in entering and in preparation to graduate into professions in higher learning: The case of a university in South Africa (Doctoral dissertation). Ndlovu, S. (2019). Access into professional degrees by students with disabilities in South African higher learning: A decolonial perspective. African Journal of Disability (Online), 8, 1-12. Ramirez, R., Mukherjee, M., Vezzoli, S., & Kramer, A. M. (2015). Scenarios as a scholarly methodology to produce “interesting research”. Futures, 71, 70-87. Shakespeare, T. (2014). Disability rights and wrongs revisited. Routledge.
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.