The impact of a special school placement on student teachers' beliefs about inclusion in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

This paper reports on the effects that a teaching placement in a special school setting had on the attitudes of student teachers in Northern Ireland towards issues relating to inclusive education. Teacher attitude towards inclusion was consistently cited by the students as being central to its success. However, after the special school placement they expressed less support for inclusion than they had earlier in the pre-service year. Their concerns related the effects of inclusion on the learner. They perceived special schools to be more intimate, caring but importantly more personally supportive environments for the vulnerable learner than the mainstream schools they had experienced during previous placements to be. The findings of this study also indicate that those in pre-service see class size, resourcing and level of classroom support for teachers and learners in mainstream schools as issues to be addressed if inclusive education is to be successfully implemented in Northern Ireland.
LanguageEnglish
Pages108-116
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008

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Northern Ireland
student teacher
inclusion
Students
school
Education
teacher attitude
education
Teaching
classroom
teacher
student

Keywords

  • Inclusion
  • Special Educational Need
  • Initial Teacher Education

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper reports on the effects that a teaching placement in a special school setting had on the attitudes of student teachers in Northern Ireland towards issues relating to inclusive education. Teacher attitude towards inclusion was consistently cited by the students as being central to its success. However, after the special school placement they expressed less support for inclusion than they had earlier in the pre-service year. Their concerns related the effects of inclusion on the learner. They perceived special schools to be more intimate, caring but importantly more personally supportive environments for the vulnerable learner than the mainstream schools they had experienced during previous placements to be. The findings of this study also indicate that those in pre-service see class size, resourcing and level of classroom support for teachers and learners in mainstream schools as issues to be addressed if inclusive education is to be successfully implemented in Northern Ireland.",
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AB - This paper reports on the effects that a teaching placement in a special school setting had on the attitudes of student teachers in Northern Ireland towards issues relating to inclusive education. Teacher attitude towards inclusion was consistently cited by the students as being central to its success. However, after the special school placement they expressed less support for inclusion than they had earlier in the pre-service year. Their concerns related the effects of inclusion on the learner. They perceived special schools to be more intimate, caring but importantly more personally supportive environments for the vulnerable learner than the mainstream schools they had experienced during previous placements to be. The findings of this study also indicate that those in pre-service see class size, resourcing and level of classroom support for teachers and learners in mainstream schools as issues to be addressed if inclusive education is to be successfully implemented in Northern Ireland.

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