1. BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION
Inclusion, or organised placement of children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms, has certainly been one of the major topics in education for the last two decades. However, it was not until quite recently that teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion of children with special educational needs (SENs) became the focus of extensive research (Dapudong, 2013).
Education is not simply about making schools available for those who are already able to access them. It is about being active in identifying the obstructions and obstacles learners encounter in attempting to access opportunities for quality education, as well as in removing those barriers and obstacles that lead to exclusion (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 2013).The term inclusion is understood as the placement of children with special needs in regular schools with allocation of additional issues accompanying the application of inclusive schooling (white paper 2011)
Teacher attitudes regarding inclusive education vary widely, similar to attitudes towards most other high-value educational practices. Studies have suggested that teachers find value in inclusive classrooms, for all students, and they are generally interested in serving students in such a manner. The value that is seen is from the documented effectiveness of the inclusion model that consistently documents benefits for all students (Hughes ; Carter, 2006; Downing ; Peckham-Hardin, 2007; Foreman, Aurthur-Kelly, Pascoe, ; King, 2004).
Inclusion largely rest on teachers’ attitudes towards learners with special needs and on the resources available to them. In quite a number of studies, the attitude of teachers towards educating learners with special needs has been put forward as an important factor in making schools more inclusive. If mainstream teachers do not accept the education of these learners as an important part of their job, they will try to ensure that someone else that is special education teacher takes responsibility for these pupils and will organize covert segregation in the school (e.g. the special class) (Mutasa, Goronga, & Tafangombe, 2013).
Meanwhile teachers’ attitudes towards the children with special needs appear to be an important predictor of the level of success (Engelbrecht, Nel,Nel, ; Tlale, 2015, pp. 1-10; Forlin ; Chambers, 2011, pp. 17-32; Kemp ; Carter, 2005, pp. 31-44), my study is aimed to explore the attitudes of primary school teachers in Kgakotlou circuit towards inclusion of children with special needs into their classrooms. Inclusive education involves bringing support services to the learners in the regular classroom situation, rather than having the earners receive support services in an isolated environment removed from nondisabled peers (Kilanowski-Press, Foote, ; Rinaldo, 2010).
The main principle of inclusive education is that all students with disabilities are to be educated to the completest extent possible in the regular classroom, and the students are removed only when support services cannot be provided in the regular classroom setting. Teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusion of special needs students is a key issue in studies of inclusion and is viewed as an important factor in the adjustment of this change in school (Ballone and Czerniak, 2001). Exploring teachers’ attitudes is essential as far as effective implementation of the inclusion is concerned. However, it is also significant in the case of learners with a specific learning disability.
THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
The research problem is that teachers in normal schools have different attitudes towards learners with special needs .The way the mainstream teachers feel about this learners ,affects their learning and reduces the effective teaching and learning especially if they are negative.
The purpose of this literature review is to examine the practice of including students with special needs in the regular education setting and the factors which may contribute to positive teacher attitudes toward inclusion.
Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs, where students with special needs spend most of their time with learners who are not disabled. Inclusion is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s responsibility to accept the child, and a premium is placed upon participation by learners with special needs and upon respect for their social, civil, and educational rights (Forlin, 2012).
Attitudes in this study the term’ will refer to the educators way of thinking and to their degree of acceptance of inclusive education
HISTORY OF INCLUSION
The many issues affecting inclusion of special needs students have been debated over the last 25 years (Odom, Buysse, & Soukakou, 2011). The term inclusion replaced all previous terminologies, i.e., integrated special education, reverse mainstreaming, previous to the early 1990s in hopes that the word would mean more than placing children with special needs in the regular educational classroom, including a sense of belonging, social relationships, and academic development and learning (Odom, Buysse, & Soukakou, 2011).
The reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), requires American school systems to examine how to best address the needs of students with disabilities based on academic achievement. This has shifted the instructional focus with regard to students with disabilities from where they are educated to how they are educated (McDuffie, Mastropieri, & Scruggs, 2009, p. 494). It requires that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum by being placed
Teachers attitudes towards inclusion of learners with special needs
INCLUSION IN AMERICA
Most teachers are divided when it comes to the concept of inclusive education. This study seeks to investigate their attitudes in the South African context and I reviewed literatures conducted abroad and Africa, as well as South African literatures.An American study by Vaughn (as cited in Avramidis & Norwich, 2002) examined mainstream and special teachers’ perceptions of inclusion using focus group interviews. The researchers argue that the majority of these teachers, who were not currently participating in inclusive programs, had strong, negative feelings about inclusion and felt that decision- makers were out of touch with classroom realities. The teachers identified several factors that would affect the success of inclusion, including class size, inadequate resources, the extent to which all students would benefit from inclusion and lack of adequate teacher preparation. However, Williams (2002), in her study of “The Attitudes of Educators in Mainstream Schools Towards Inclusion of Learners with Special Needs”, argues that in order to provide equal access to education, it is required that children be placed in the least restrictive environment that will promote their academic and social development.
INCLUSION IN EUROPE
A study in by Poland Wilczenski ; Nygren, 2014 reveals that learners with special needs attend one of three types of schools: special schools, which provide expert support depending on disability; integrated schools, which feature a 1:4 ratio of special learning learners to overall students; or mainstream schools, with one or two learners with special learning needs in each classroom . However, most learners with special needs are in separate special education institutions). In 2003, the Ministry of Education in Poland suggested a segregated approach to special education, wherein the child may receive education in a care center in his or her home or in a special education center; this suggestion is in direct contrast to many state and federal recommendations, which encourages collaboration over segregation (Wilczenski ; Nygren, 2014).
The Ministry also recommended that learners with special needs should spend fewer hours in school than their general education peers, which furthers the divide between these groups of learners; this is also in direct contrast to most of the body of literature, in which researchers have indicated that inclusion socially and academically benefits the students with special(Wilczenski ; Nygren, 2014). Wilczenski and Nygren posited that many teachers in Poland perceive inclusive education as contingent upon several factors and conditions, such as the student’s emotional or physical development; if these conditions are not met, the teachers perceive that the students would be better off in a specialized setting. If I was to develop a training curriculum for Polish teachers, it would be necessary to promote the teachers’ awareness of the academic, social, and financial benefits of inclusion.
In the most recent major review of international literature on attitudes toward
inclusion, de Boer, Pijl and Minnaert (2011) reviewed 26 studies from 16 countries,
published between 1998 and 2008, focusing on regular primary school teachers’ attitudes. Their analysis concluded that teachers hold negative attitudes about inclusive education, and do not feel competent to teach students with special needs. Teachers with more experience or training in inclusive education had more positive attitudes than those with less experience and training with inclusion. However, they found that teachers with more years of general teaching experience had more negative attitudes toward inclusive education. They discussed this seeming paradox as possible evidence that teachers with many years of experience teaching may “grow ‘old’ in their profession” (p. 348). However, another understanding may be that direct experience in inclusion may draw fears of the unknown, and therefore may have more influence than general experience in segregated systems.
Problems Faced by Special Needs Students
Just as inclusion has its benefits, it also has its disadvantages. Students with disabilities tend to disrupt the classroom with behavior issues. Because they are not as cognitively developed as their peers, the teaching-learning process is not as effective as it could be. It is difficult to serve the needs of every student who is normally in the regular education class, and with the special needs students the job becomes even more of a struggle for the teacher and someone draws the short in of the stick, usually the special needs students. Teachers have to treat special needs students differently based on standards are on their learning level. Special needs students are deprived of a suitable education when they are taught at a mismatched level with students how are significantly above their level. This can negatively affect a student’s sense of self-esteem and dignity. Even in physical education classes, students with physical disabilities are disadvantaged because the curriculum is not gear to include them (Combs, Elliott, ; Whipple, 2010). This can cause learners with special to face discrimination and bullying from their peers. Making them to experience low self-esteem, isolation, depression, and in some cases aggression (Khudorenko, 2011). These emotional breakdowns can lead to violence (Frances ; Potter, 2010).
4.ROLE OF THEORY IN THE STUDY
5.PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
To investigate teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion of learners with special needs in primary schools at Kgakotlou circuit in Limpopo province.
• To describe teachers attitudes towards inclusion.
• To determine possible factors that influence teachers attitudes towards inclusion.
• Identify impact of those attitudes on learning of children with special needs.
6. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
My study will use a Qualitative study ,because qualitative research aims to explore and to discover issues about the problem on hand, because very little is known about the problem. There is usually uncertainty about dimensions and characteristics of problem. Myers (2009) suggest that qualitative research is designed to help researchers understand people, and the social and cultural contexts within which they live
Qualitative researchers are interested in understanding how people understand their experiences (Creswell, 2012). According to Denizen and Lincoln (2005) there is no qualitative researcher who is completely void of bias. Reality is based on perception and it is that unique perspective of the interviewer, the participant, and the interaction of the two that is the essence of the qualitative study (Creswell, 2012). Bias can occur when the selection of data fits the predudicednotion of the researcher (Miles & Huberman, 2013
6.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
6.4 DATA COLLECTION
5.5 DATA ANALYSIS
Bogdan and Biklen (2003) define qualitative data analysis as “working with the data, organising them, breaking them into manageable units, coding them, synthesising them, and searching for patterns”. The aim of analysis of qualitative data is to discover patterns, concepts, themes and meanings. In case study research, Yin (2003) discusses the need for searching the data for “patterns” which may explain or identify causal links in the database. In the process, the researcher concentrates on the whole data first, then attempts to take it apart and re-constructs it again more meaningfully. Categorisation helps the researcher to make comparisons and contrasts between patterns, to reflect on certain patterns and complex threads of the data deeply and make sense of them.
In the process, the researcher concentrates on the whole data first, then attempts to take it apart and re-constructs it again more meaningfully. Categorisation helps the researcher to make comparisons and contrasts between patterns, to reflect on certain patterns and complex threads of the data deeply and make sense of them. The goal is to create descriptive, multi-dimensional categories that provide a preliminary framework for analysis. These emerging categories are of paramount importance, as qualitative researchers tend to use inductive analysis.
In this study, the interviews, both individual and focus group, will recorded and transcribed. A couple of open-ended questions will be posed to which teachers will be required to respond in writing. In these processes, useful information that may be closely linked to their experiences can emerge. The individual responses will be analysed, compared and categorised with the results of transcription of the focus group interview, and subsequently triangulated and interpreted to draw conclusions.
5.6 QUALITY CRITERIA
Assessing the accuracy of qualitative findings is not easy. However, several possible strategies and criteria that can be used to enhance the trustworthiness of qualitative research findings. Trustworthiness is the corresponding term used in qualitative research as a measure of the quality of research as it is the extent to which the data and data analysis are believable and trustworthy. Guba and Lincoln (1981), Krefting (1991) and Creswell (1998) suggest that “the trustworthiness of qualitative research can be established by using four strategies: credibility, transferability, dependability and conformability.
Credibility in qualitative research is defined as the extent to which the data and data analysis are believable and trustworthy. Credibility is analogous to internal validity, that is, how research findings match reality. However, according to the philosophy underlying qualitative research, reality is relative to meaning that people construct within social contexts. Most rationalists would propose that there is not a single reality to be discovered, but that each individual constructs a personal reality (Smith and Ragan, 2005). The inclusion of member checking into the findings, that is, gaining feedback on the data, interpretations and conclusions from the participants themselves, is one method of increasing credibility. Lincoln and Guba (1985) consider member checking into the findings as “the most critical technique for establishing credibility” (p. 314).
Research findings are transferable or generalizable only if they fit into new contexts outside the actual study context. Generalizability refers to the extent to which one can extend the account of a particular situation or population to other persons, times or setting than those directly studied (Maxwell, 2002). A qualitative researcher can enhance transferability by detailing the research methods, contexts, and assumptions underlying the study. Seale (1999) advocates that transferability is achieved by providing a detailed, rich description of the settings studied to provide the reader with sufficient information to be able to judge the applicability of the findings to other settings that they know (p. 45).
Dependability is analogous to reliability, that is, the consistency of observing the same finding under similar circumstances. According to Merriam (1998), it refers to the extent to which research findings can be replicated (p. 205) with similar subjects in a similar context. According to Seale (1999), dependability can be achieved through auditing which consists of the researcher’s documentation of data, methods and decision made during a research as well as its end products. Auditing for dependability requires that the data and descriptions of the research should be elaborate and rich. It may also be enhanced by altering the research design as new findings emerge during data collection.
CONFORMABILITY OF THE FINDINGS
Conformability is the degree to which the research findings can be confirmed or corroborated by others. It is analogous to objectivity, that is, the extent to which a researcher is aware of or accounts for individual subjectivity or bias. In my study I will use auditing to establish conformability in which I will make the provision of a methodological self-critical account of how the research was done as suggested by Seale (1999) (p. 45). In order to make auditing possible by other researchers, it is a good idea that the researcher archives all collected data in a well-organised, retrievable form so that it can be made available to them if the findings are challenged.
6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will inform policy makers of designing a framework to deliver inclusive education programs necessary to increase the achievement of students in regular classes. The results will also inform university administrators of practical experiences that would enhance the preparation of our future teachers. Moreover, it will provide curriculum developers a clear view of teachers attitudes of inclusive education and enable them to deal effectively with issues arising from teachers’ perceptions of inclusive education. Furthermore, the study will help theory builders to add to the existing body of knowledge so that the old teachers will be informed. Finally, the study aims to inform readers about teacher’s attitudes towards inclusion.
7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
In my qualitative study, I will interact deeply with the participants, thus entering their personal domains of values, and weaknesses to collect data. Silverman (2000, p. 201) reminds researchers that they should always remember that while they are doing their research, they are in fact entering the private spaces of their participants.According to Creswell (2003), I ,the researcher has an obligation to respect the rights, needs, values and desires of the informants.
Informed consent will be given to and completed by my participants in the study before carrying over the interviews. I will tell my participants that their participation is voluntary, and that they may pull out at any stage. I will also inform them that their participation will not involve any monetary benefits or compensation. Confidentiality refers to the information gathered from the subjects, and privacy refers to the principle that the identity of an individual is kept secret (Mouton, 2001:243). The privacy of participants will be ensured by using anonymous as a name for the participants who are not comfortable with their identity in the research report. For the purposes of audio and video recordings, participants will be advised that they be at liberty to approve or disapprove such recordings. No recordings will be made without being permitted by the participant