Are teachers in Ghana on the right path towards inclusion?

Gyimah, Sugden, and Pearson (2009) aim to examine special education in Ghana. The study focuses on the impact students with SEN (special educational needs) and disabilities have on the teachers, as well as how the teachers themselves view inclusion as a whole. The study included a total of 540 trained and untrained teachers who were randomly selected from three of the ten districts in Ghana. This way, researchers would be able to determine how teachers would place students with SEN and disabilities. In order to make the study representative of the population of Ghana, the researchers selected teachers from a variety of regions. The educators that were chosen were provided with a questionnaire in order for the researchers to gain a better understanding on the teachers perspectives. The questionnaire did not consist of open-ended questions but rather focused on the teachers general background such as teaching experience, as well as their personal knowledge regarding SEN. Educators were also provided with a five point scale that needed to be completed based on ten categories in which they expressed their level of comfort teaching students with SEN and disabilities. The researchers later realized the inaccuracy of having categories as not all children fit the typical descriptions of difficulty. Based on the results of the questionnaire, the researchers concluded that teachers were respondent to accepting students with mild disabilities in their classrooms. When the child's SEN or disability was severe, educators were more reluctant towards inclusion and believe such children should be placed in a special school. Nonetheless, teachers in Ghana believe in the importance of inclusion and aim to push the government to re-design the curriculum around inclusive policies in order to gain support. 

#inclusion


Comments

Rebecca oiknine February 11, 2019, 6:33 PM

This study includes many strong attributes. Firstly, not only did this study use a large group (540) of participants, but they were also selected randomly. Moreover, the participants were not from one specific region but were chosen from all over Ghana, which provided the researchers with a more broad representation of how the teachers in Ghana as a whole felt about inclusion. Due to the fact that the group chosen was as diverse as it was, it eliminates any biases towards students with SEN and disabilities. Another strong feature this article has is that the research conclusion summarizes the results of the study, as well as provides teachers with intervention strategies. Meaning, the authors suggest that teachers should not only be active participants in the inclusion process but must be educated/trained about SEN and disabilities as well. If teachers have a lack of knowledge about SEN and disabilities, they will most likely alienate such children in the classroom and will drift away from the idea of inclusion. The article also provides its readers with two important research questions which fundamentally guide the reader throughout the entire study. Furthermore, the fact that the researchers provided the teachers with a five point scale questionnaire, allowed educators to answer more accurately. Due to the fact that the variety of choices were clear and concise, educators were able to classify themselves based on how they felt given a specific scenario. If the questionnaire required educators to answer in the yes or no format, the researchers would have not been able to provide its readers with a concrete and reliable study. In conclusion, the authors made it clear that the population in Ghana are for inclusion, but require aid and support from the government in order to create an authentic and healthy learning environment.

Kelly Saleh February 11, 2019, 6:33 PM

This article made us realize how prevalent the issues involving inclusion are. Throughout our stages, inclusion was a really big concern as our schools were not being given the funds nor the support needed in order to provide accommodations for the students with SEN and disabilities. Not only are teachers being overworked as classes are over crowded, but students are not getting the proper attention required as the student to teacher ratio does not allow for that. That being said, it is interesting to see how the same problems are occurring in Ghana. The question that then presents itself is: is the idea of inclusion an international issue? As a community of teachers, we must come together and help one another out, because without support, our children will continue to be neglected. Furthermore, the authors provide ways in which educators can get a head start on implementing inclusion. Suggestions such as: teachers should be involved in the process, educators must be trained and knowledgeable about SEN and disabilities that may arise in their classrooms, and that teachers should have the privilege to work with a flexible school curriculum, are provided. It would be interesting to see new research conducted based on these suggestions in order to see if they have an actual impact on the practice of inclusion.

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Badriah Basma teacher February 17, 2019, 6:33 PM
Replying to Kelly Saleh

It is interesting to see that the same problems are reflected here too and yes you are right teachers should support each other

Rebecca oiknine February 11, 2019, 6:34 PM

Emmanuel Kofi Gyimah, David Sugden & Sue Pearson (2009) Inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools in Ghana: influence of teachers’ and children’s characteristics, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13:8, 787-804, DOI: 10.1080/13603110802110313.

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its me February 27, 2019, 9:36 PM

The study conducted gives a good insight on the way teachers feel about inclusive classrooms and whether or not it would be a good idea to have such classrooms. It showed a good sample size and diversity within this sample. This article brings up a very sensitive ethical issue regarding students with special needs, it does a good job at breaking down some of the issues in such a complex situation; I had never really thought about this issue before and this article sparked a few ideas in my head about different ethical frameworks that could be applied to view this dilemma through multiple perspectives. By looking at it using utilitarianism, we must focus on actions which bring the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. When it comes to inclusive schools, many educators in this study were “more reluctant towards inclusion” for students with more severe disabilities despite Ghana’s government wanting to move towards inclusivity. Though having inclusive schools may appear to be more morally correct, it goes against utilitarianism as it does not benefit the greatest number of people. It would in fact be unfavourable to the majority as it can lead to slowing down class’s and even taking focus away from students without disabilities who have a much greater chance at academic success.

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