04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Throughout the history of European thought the development of attitudes toward people with intellectual disability (ID) has been influenced by many changes. The concept of inclusion of the pupils with ID (especially those with mild disability) into the mainstream education system and society is a social priority in present day Western Europe. This trend has been strongly debated among the former Eastern bloc countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania). Every country appears to be at a different phase on its methods of inclusion (Watkins,2007). Moreover, many factors play an important role in the process of integration, and influence the quality of inclusive education (e.g. country’s political situation, financial structure, professionalism and expertise of the teachers, as well as the willingness of pupils).
This paper focuses on the research of the preconceptions and misconceptions of the pupils toward ID. Preconceptions (also labelled as naive theory) represent personal and distinctive understanding of the phenomenon, processes, or events by a particular individual. It is a unique complex of subjective ideas that surround the individual in today’s world. The term -misconceptions- indicates a mental representation of the concept, but in the same time is unrelated to the scientific theory (Skelly&Hall, 1993). Understanding of the pupils’ preconceptions and misconceptions about ID is one of the main prerequisites that influence the process of inclusion into education. In this study the preconceptions and misconceptions of the pupils toward ID are investigated as a multidimensional entity that involves both cognitive and affected elements. Cognitive elements of the pupils’ preconceptions reflect the level of their knowledge and understanding about this particular phenomenon. Affected element may be understood as a formation of relational and semantic levels to a particular phenomenon. The first presentation of the phenomenon that the child encounters in a particular situation or situational context provokes an emotional response that influences their attitude development toward the phenomenon (Pivarč,Škoda,Doulík,2012). We can argue that the beliefs and especially attitudes of the pupils toward the people with ID are often affected by a variety of prejudices and misconceptions. The negative attitudes of Italian pupils toward their ID fellow pupils are observed for example in the study by Manetti,Schneider,Siperstein (2001) or among the Greek pupils (Georgiadi,Kalyva,Kourkoutas,Tsakiris, 2012). Other research in Europe (e.g. Magiati,Dockrell,Logotheti, 2002) also shows signs of pupils’ misconceptions toward ID.
The research question that becomes the foundation of our empirical investigation is formulated as follows: Is there a difference in the level of preconceptions toward intellectual disability among the school pupils of 5th and 9th grades? The main objective of our study is to investigate the level of preconceptions toward ID among the school pupils and compare the results to the selected European studies. The aim is also to analyse the overlap as well as the benefit of our findings to other European countries (especially the former Eastern bloc countries). The overall concept of this research and its focus contributes to the dialog progression about the inclusion of the ID pupils into education within the European context.
Georgiadi, M., Kalyva, E., Kourkoutas, E., & Tsakiris, V. (2012). Young Children’s Attitudes Toward Peers with Intellectual Disabilities: Effect of the Type of School. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25(6), 531-541. Magiati, I., Dockrell, J., & Logotheti, A. E. (2002). Young children’s understanding of disabilities: the influence of development, context, and cognition. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 23(4), 409-430. Manetti, M., Schneider, B., & Siperstein, G. (2001). Social acceptance of children with mental retardation: Testing the contact hypothesis with an Italian sample. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25(3), 279-286. Pivarč, J., Škoda, J., & Doulík, P. (2012). The analysis of misconception of alternative religiosity at selected elementary school pupils. Ústí nad Labem: The Faculty of Education, UJEP. Skelly, K., & Hall, D. (1993). The Development and Validation of a Categorization of Sources of Misconceptions in Chemistry. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics. Ithaca, New York. Watkins, A., et al. (2007). Assessment in Inclusive Settings: Key issues for policy and practice. Odense: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education.
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