04 SES 08 C, Dealing With Personalisations, Individualisation And Inequalities From An Inclusive Perspective
Instructional quality is an essential issue in the context of teaching and learning, with characteristics of effective teaching being a central subject of research (Hattie, 2009; Seidel & Shavelson, 2007). For instance, feature sets of teaching quality have been developed including quality features such as classroom management or dealing with heterogeneity (e.g., Helmke, 2012). However, the ratification of the UN-convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities and the establishment of inclusive education at schools make it necessary to reconsider how inclusive education can be organised. The underlying goal of inclusion is to provide appropriate learning opportunities for students with and without special educational needs. Consequently, teachers are faced with new challenges, such as providing suitable learning opportunities for students having different abilities and learning backgrounds. This raises the question of how the premise of providing appropriate education for all students is actually to be implemented and inclusive teaching to be arranged.
In this regard, for instance, teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion and their self-efficacy beliefs have gained much attention in research as these personal resources are assumed to be crucial for a successful implementation of inclusive education (e.g., Sharma & Jacobs, 2016). Furthermore, it could be shown that teachers’ motivation to deal with inclusion has an effect on their intentions with respect to dealing with heterogeneity in the inclusive classroom, which in turn is predictive for teachers’ perceptions on clarity, structuring and a positive learning climate in the inclusive classroom (Görel, 2019).
Taking a closer look at the level of instructional organisation in the inclusive classroom, especially differentiated learning environments are assumed to be of great relevance for meeting the individual needs of students with and without special educational needs (Lawrence-Brown, 2020). Differentiation refers to the ways in which teachers take into account differences of students and make variations in their teaching (Tomlinson, 2000). However, with regard to differentiated instruction, teachers seem to prefer the implementation of differentiation practices that can be carried out without much preparation (Roy, Guay, & Valois, 2013). In their review study, Lindner and Schwab (2020) investigated forms of differentiated and individualised teaching practices in the inclusive classroom and identified five categories in this regard: Collaboration and co-teaching, grouping, modification, individual motivation and feedback as well as personnel support of students.
However, in order to ensure a high-quality of learning environments for students with and without special educational needs, it appears to be necessary to gain a deeper insight into teachers’ perceptions behind their teaching practices. Hence, with regard to the question of how to successfully realise inclusion, it is crucial to take a more detailed look at the elements of good inclusive instruction. Therefore, it becomes necessary to investigate teachers’ understanding of high-quality inclusive teaching. Against this background, the purpose of the present study is to examine how teachers personally define good inclusive teaching and to figure out elements of high-quality inclusive education from their point of view. The overall aim of the study is to contribute to research on instructional quality in inclusive settings by investigating primary school teachers’ views on the quality of inclusive teaching.
In order to examine the research question and to gain a deeper insight into teachers’ perspectives, a qualitative study approach was adopted. A sample of N=24 primary school teachers in Germany took part in this study. The participating teachers were individually interviewed on the basis of an interview guide, which comprised questions regarding, for example, teachers’ understanding of inclusion and inclusive education, their attitudes towards inclusion, their self-efficacy beliefs with respect to teaching in the inclusive classroom and the quality of inclusive teaching. The participants were randomly selected for the study. With respect to the purpose of the study, the primary school teachers were asked the following question: “What is good inclusive instruction from your point of view?”. Afterwards the audiotaped interviews were transcribed and analysed with the methodology of Grounded Theory, which is characterised by the development of a theory from the gathered data (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). In particular, the aim was to identify categories with regard to quality features of inclusive teaching from the teachers’ point of view. Therefore, within the analysis, the data of the transcripts were coded and categories were developed regarding the research question.
The aim of this study was to clarify what primary school teachers perceive as quality features of inclusive education. The findings of the present study indicate a number of factors that are essential for the quality of inclusive education from the perspective of the interviewed teachers. In particular, the teachers especially emphasise the importance of differentiated and individualised teaching practices in the inclusive classroom. For instance, different learning goals for the students are considered as an important element. The interviewed teachers state that in the inclusive classroom, each child should be able to make progress in learning, which can vary according to the children’s individual potentials and learning abilities. Another mentioned factor is related to the establishment of community. In this context, the primary school teachers emphasised the importance of interaction and communication between the students in the classroom. Thus, from the teachers’ perspective good inclusive teaching further means that children can learn from each other and exchange their views. These findings are in line with an initial suggestion for inclusive didactics by Kullman, Lütje-Klose, and Textor (2014). A further important finding of the study is, that for some of the teachers, there seems to be no difference between inclusive teaching and regular teaching. In this regard, good inclusive teaching is perceived as being in accordance with good regular teaching since good teaching and instruction should generally aim to support all students in the classroom. In sum, the results of this empirical study with teachers as key agents for education provide a deeper insight into the question of what constitutes high-quality inclusive teaching and contribute to the understanding and a more precise definition of good inclusive practices.
Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research. Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Görel, G. (2019). Inklusiver Unterricht aus Sicht von Grundschullehrkräften. Die Bedeutung von persönlichen Ressourcen [Inclusive teaching from primary school teachers’ perspective. The importance of personal resources]. Wiesbaden: Springer. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge. Helmke, A. (2012). Unterrichtsqualität und Lehrerprofessionalität. Diagnose, Evaluation und Verbesserung des Unterrichts [Teaching quality and teacher professionalism. Diagnosis, evaluation and improvement of teaching] (4th ed.). Seelze: Klett/Kallmeyer. Kullmann, H., Lütje-Klose, B., & Textor, A. (2014). Eine Allgemeine Didaktik für inklusive Lerngruppen – fünf Leitprinzipien als Grundlage eines Bielefelder Ansatzes der inklusiven Didaktik [General didactics for inclusive learning groups – five guiding principles as the basis of a Bielefeld approach to inclusive didactics]. In B. Amrhein, & M. Dziak-Mahler (Eds.), Fachdidaktik inklusiv – Auf der Suche nach didaktischen Leitlinien für den Umgang mit Vielfalt in der Schule (pp. 89–107). Münster: Waxmann. Lawrence-Brown, D. (2020). Differentiated instruction and inclusive schooling. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://oxfordre.com/education/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264093-e-1223 Lindner, K.-T., & Schwab, S. (2020). Differentiation and individualisation in inclusive education: A systematic review and narrative synthesis. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–21. Roy, A., Guay, F., & Valois, P. (2013). Teaching to address diverse learning needs: Development and validation of a differentiated instruction scale. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(11), 1186–1204. Seidel, T., & Shavelson, R. J. (2007). Teaching effectiveness research in the past decade: The role of theory and research design in disentangling meta-analysis results. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 454–499. Sharma, U., & Jacobs, D. K. (2016). Predicting in-service educators’ intentions to teach in inclusive classrooms in India and Australia. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 13–23. Tomlinson, C. A. (2000). Differentiation of instruction in the elementary grades. ERIC Digest.
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