Article Review: “Yes You Really Need a Course to Learn to Teach Students with Disabilities, Even If You've Been Doing It for Years”

Phase 1: Summary

The research question is “Do I Really Need a Course to Learn to Teach Students with Disabilities? I’ve Been Doing It for Years”. There are two research questions that go along with the title of the article. These questions are: 1. Are there significant differences in attitudes, concerns, and efficacy in three groups of teachers? 2. What teacher characteristics are significantly associated with positive attitudes, higher efficacy, and lower concern scores?

This study included three groups of teachers in Manitoba, Canada.from in-service teachers and in person from pre-service teachers where both groups completed the same set of measurements. “The three groups included pre-service teachers with coursework about inclusive education, but limited experience in inclusive settings; in-service teachers with experiences in inclusive settings, but no coursework about inclusion; and in-service teachers with inclusive teaching experiences as well as coursework about inclusion” (p.739). The participants took part in a survey that was made up of several questions in a four part survey.

The results were collected from both pre-service teachers and in-service teachers. The data from the in-service teachers were collected online and the data from the pre-service teachers were collected in person at the end of their schooling for inclusive education with a pencil and paper written survey.

The data was collected in a four part survey instrument. For the first part of the survey, they were asked about their demographic information such as their level of education, their age, gender and asked if they knew someone with a disability. For the second part of the survey both parties were asked questions about their attitude towards inclusion. Out of 24 questions, 15 were worded negatively. Both parties were to answer the question on a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The third part of the survey was dedicated to the concerns about inclusive education. There were 21 concerns listed for this part of the survey. Each item presented a concern such as “my workload will increase” where both parties were asked to rate their level of concern from 1 (not at all concerned) to 4 (extremely concerned). Finally, the fourth part of the questionnaire allowed both parties to answer questions based on the perceived level of teacher efficacy using the teacher efficacy for inclusive practices scale. This part of the survey had 18 questions where the parties were asked to answer on a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree) (p.748).

The results say that in-service teachers with experience and education were more positive in their attitudes, concerns,  and efficacy scored as compared to pre-service teachers and in-service teachers with no education. The results say that education in inclusive and special education has a positive effect on teachers.

The conclusions support that it is important for teachers to have experience in inclusive education and have a background of coursework in inclusive education. With regards to efficacy, teachers with both experience and education in inclusion have a higher efficacy and more positive attitudes than those with education but little experience with inclusion. With these findings it was concluded that “neither extended experience alone nor professional learning alone is enough to garner the same benefits as both experience and education”(p752). It is mentioned that “both high-quality education in inclusive education as well as extended experiences in high-quality inclusive settings are necessary in order for teachers to develop positive attitudes and efficacy for inclusion while decreasing their concerns.



Comments

Cassandra Savard February 11, 2019, 7:36 PM

Phase 2: Critique The research question is valuable. It is relevant to future teachers in knowing whether or not studies show a difference in teachers who have taken courses in inclusive education or not. It can also inform future decisions concerned with changing or keeping current course formats related to courses about inclusive classroom settings in education. Using both in-person and online surveys (with the same questions) for this research was a good method given that the participants were located across Manitoba, which is a large area to cover for strictly in-person surveys. The researchers also had a good pool of research participants and it is interesting to compare the three chosen groups. Including pre-service and in-service teachers allows for a broader perspective of answers related to the research questions.  Additionally, the 191 total participants is a fairly large group to study, making the research meaningful. The research survey contained four parts, each with specific questions to develop an understanding of the participants’ feelings about inclusive education and their respective backgrounds. Together, the four parts of the research survey make a pretty complete set of questions that allow for a good understanding of the participants’ feelings about the questions addressed. Moreover, the scales in every section yielded reliable results.
 The results of the study do speak to the research questions. In this case, the results answer directly the questions when they mention that both experience and coursework significantly impact the teacher’s feelings and attitudes in regards to  teaching in inclusive settings (p. 752). The results also show that the confidence that pre-service teachers have for teaching students with disabilities was a big predictor of their level of concerns for teaching in inclusive settings. The results also analyze the effect of the questions in part 1 (demographics) with the level of confidence and training (p.751). All of these results help answer the research questions stated above. Among other things, the conclusion mentions that alone, neither coursework or experience with inclusive settings provide teachers with the same benefits as both at the same time (p. 752). This matches the results, which said that the positive impact on teachers and their confidence for teaching in inclusive classrooms was greater when they had both experience and taken courses in the domain. The conclusion also discusses that pre-service teachers taking courses in inclusive education seem to be less concerned about teaching in inclusive settings (753). All in all, the conclusion discusses the different aspects related to the results and this attests to the coherence of the researchers throughout the study and makes it worthy to pre-service and in-service teachers elsewhere.

Meaghan Moran February 11, 2019, 7:36 PM
Replying to Cassandra Savard

Part 3: Analysis This article found that many teachers who graduate with their teaching certification, feel unprepared to teach in an inclusive classroom (p. 746). Recently, the province of Manitoba made inclusive education courses an obligation in order to receive a teaching licence. The reason they did this is because they found that while only 57% of the teaching staff held professional development in the area of inclusive education, 94% of the teaching staff were in diverse classrooms (p.742). Interestingly enough, “completion of an inclusive education course was an essential component of decreasing teacher concerns about inclusion” (p.745).In order to achieve a successful inclusive classroom, it is ideal if the teacher has a combination of high quality education in the area, and high quality experience. Both of these variables have been shown to lead to positive attitudes from teachers. The study found that a great way to help newly graduated teachers is to provide ongoing support to them during the first six months they are working. The goal is for teachers to learn to apply theory into practice in real life settings. Student outcomes have a lot to do with teacher beliefs, attitudes and concerns. Students who had teachers who held positive attitudes towards inclusive classrooms actually did better in school. A major breakthrough in the research article was that experience teaching in an inclusive classroom is often not enough to decrease a teacher’s apprehension about an inclusive classroom. In addition, “without formal education in inclusive teaching, in-service teachers show decreased willingness to appropriately teach children with special needs” (p.754). Many highly-experienced teachers in the field have shared their feelings about attending professional development in inclusive education and how it is crucial for The results of the research article made me realise how important it is to attend professional workshops/ development on inclusion and learn about differentiation techniques to use for every lesson. Since successful inclusive teaching is largely based on a teachers positive attitude, attending these courses would allow concern levels to go down. One major concern teachers in the study had about inclusion was the increased workload. One thing to note is that there are many available resources for us as teachers. As peers, you should consider professional development on inclusion, because classrooms are always changing and it is important to keep up. While experience in a diverse classroom is a beneficial teaching and learning experience, attending courses actually leads to more positive effects and has been shown to ease anxiety amongst teachers (p. 754). In short, a diverse classroom is a positive environment where all children have the opportunity to learn. It is important that teachers keep this in mind and see diversity as a strength!

Meaghan Moran February 11, 2019, 7:36 PM
Replying to Meaghan Moran

Sokal, L., & Sharma, U. (2017). Do I Really Need a Course to Learn to Teach Students with Disabilities? I've Been Doing It for Years. Canadian Journal of Education, 40(4), 739–60. Retrieved from https://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/19 87344456?accountid=12339

BB
Badriah Basma teacher February 17, 2019, 7:36 PM
Replying to Meaghan Moran

>Part 3: Analysis > >This article found that many teachers who graduate with their teaching certification, feel unprepared to teach in an inclusive classroom (p. 746). Recently, the province of Manitoba made inclusive education courses an obligation in order to receive a teaching licence. The reason they did this is because they found that while only 57% of the teaching staff held professional development in the area of inclusive education, 94% of the teaching staff were in diverse classrooms (p.742). Interestingly enough, “completion of an inclusive education course was an essential component of decreasing teacher concerns about inclusion” (p.745).In order to achieve a successful inclusive classroom, it is ideal if the teacher has a combination of high quality education in the area, and high quality experience. Both of these variables have been shown to lead to positive attitudes from teachers. The study found that a great way to help newly graduated teachers is to provide ongoing support to them during the first six months they are working. The goal is for teachers to learn to apply theory into practice in real life settings. Student outcomes have a lot to do with teacher beliefs, attitudes and concerns. Students who had teachers who held positive attitudes towards inclusive classrooms actually did better in school. > >A major breakthrough in the research article was that experience teaching in an inclusive classroom is often not enough to decrease a teacher’s apprehension about an inclusive classroom. In addition, “without formal education in inclusive teaching, in-service teachers show decreased willingness to appropriately teach children with special needs” (p.754). Many highly-experienced teachers in the field have shared their feelings about attending professional development in inclusive education and how it is crucial for > > > >The results of the research article made me realise how important it is to attend professional workshops/ development on inclusion and learn about differentiation techniques to use for every lesson. Since successful inclusive teaching is largely based on a teachers positive attitude, attending these courses would allow concern levels to go down. One major concern teachers in the study had about inclusion was the increased workload. One thing to note is that there are many available resources for us as teachers. As peers, you should consider professional development on inclusion, because classrooms are always changing and it is important to keep up. While experience in a diverse classroom is a beneficial teaching and learning experience, attending courses actually leads to more positive effects and has been shown to ease anxiety amongst teachers (p. 754). In short, a diverse classroom is a positive environment where all children have the opportunity to learn. It is important that teachers keep this in mind and see diversity as a strength! Very thoughtful reflection. Good job

Neha Sharma February 12, 2019, 2:34 AM

So interesting because the results in my article review are so similar! Teachers with more experience have a more positive attitude towards inclusive education.

Kassia Amato February 12, 2019, 6:03 PM

Such an interesting article! I definitely agree that successful inclusive teaching is based on a teacher's positive attitude and that we must develop the required skills needed in order to cater to all students' differences. Well done :)

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