Attitudes and self-efficacy of Jamaican teachers towards inclusion after co-teaching in an inclusive classroom
A small-scale quantitative study
Master's Thesis 2019 51 Pages
List of Tables
List of Figures
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.1. Attitudes towards inclusion and integration
2.2. Experience of and Exposure to Inclusive Classrooms and SWSN
2.3. Teacher Self-efficacy in Inclusive Teaching
Chapter 3 Methodology
3.5 Threats to Validity
Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Results and Discussion
4.1 Descriptive Results
4.2 Hypothesis Testing
4.3 Inferential Analysis
Chapter 5 Conclusion, Recommendations and Limitations
5.1 Limitations and Recommendations
Despite Jamaica's Ministry of Education having established an inclusive education policy in 2008, the majority of children with special needs are kept at home. With very little inclusion in schools and segregation of students with special needs (SWSN), teachers in Jamaica have not experienced inclusion and do not feel adequately equipped to facilitate it.
Literature shows that teachers with experience only in traditional classrooms, and no exposure to diverse students are likely to be resistant to, or unable to, implement inclusion. Teachers also tend to implement inclusive teaching methods and adopt better attitudes after hands-on experience, modelling with a co-teacher.
Five teachers participated in a 2-week training condition, each teacher was provided with an inclusive classroom and an experienced inclusive teacher (mentor). The first week the teacher is assisting the mentor, the second week the mentor assists the teacher with lesson planning and teaching.
Teachers were given 2 self-rating questionnaires before and after training to measure whether their attitudes and self-efficacy improved and whether a direct measure of attitude and self-efficacy towards inclusion could be predicted after training. Another questionnaire was given 2 weeks after training that measured the potential success of training through implementation.
Using paired sample t-tests for both attitude and self-efficacy scores it was found that all 5 teachers could be predicted to show an increase in both attitude and self-efficacy scores after training. It was also found using independent sample means tests that teachers without any previous experience teaching SWSN gained a larger difference in attitudes compared to teachers who already had experience however there was no difference in gains in self-efficacy.
This study should bring awareness to the Ministry of Education and Teacher Training Colleges that traditional lecture style training without relevant practicum may be preventing the facilitation of inclusion.
I would like to thank my thesis supervisor Dr. P. J. W. for his understanding of my current situation, for his encouragement and very constructive criticism throughout the process. Thank you also for your guidance on statistical analysis. I have great appreciation for the special needs school, the staff and students, especially the Director. L. , a big thank you to Mr M. for your expert editing, feedback and support.
List of Tables
Table 1. Paired Sample statistics summary of pre and post attitude scores
Table 2. Paired Sample correlations summary of pre and post attitude scores
Table 3. Paired Sample results of pre and post attitude scores
Table 4. Paired Sample statistics summary of pre and post self-efficacy scores
Table 5. Paired Sample correlation summary of pre and post self-efficacy scores
Table 6. Paired Sample results of pre and post self-efficacy scores
Table 7. Group statistics of pre and post attitude scores (with and without experience)
Table 8. Independent Sample Means test results for pre and post attitude groups
Table 9. Group statistics for differences in total pre and post attitude scores
Table 10. Independent Sample Means test results for pre and post self-efficacy groups
Table 11. Descriptive Statistics of response to the 6 statements in the Special Education Teacher questionnaire
Table 12. Frequency and percentages of 6 statements in the Special Education Teacher Questionnaire
List of Figures
Figure 1. Demographic Pie Chart of Grade levels taught
Figure 2. Demographic Pie Chart of years of teaching experience
Figure 3. Demographic Pie Chart of average number of students taught per class
Figure 4. Demographic Pie Chart of previous experience teaching students with special needs
Figure 5. Histogram of total scores from the Special Education Teacher questionnaire
Chapter 1 Introduction
This study is asking what are the differences in attitudes and self-efficacy in Jamaican teachers towards inclusion after co-teaching in an inclusive classroom? A small-scale quantitative study seeking to add insight to the current lack of facilitation of inclusion across Jamaican schools.
Jamaica tends to be a fairly hostile environment for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) or Students with Special Needs (SWSN), having very little provision or adaptations for these members of society or any other vulnerable people. The term inclusion can be used for both aspects, social and educational in Jamaica, but for the purposes of this study inclusion means education for all children especially for children with disabilities, through values, attitudes and belief systems; Through physical, meaningful and environmental dimensions of access to childhood education programmes, activities and skills training services that result in contributing to society (Anderson, 2019). The facilitation of educational inclusion across schools in Jamaica is still at a basic stage even though the Ministry of Education has had this inclusive mission statement published on their website since 2005,
“Providing quality care and education for all children in an innovative, inclusive and enabling environment” (MoE, n.d).
Four years later Gottlieb et al (2009) surveyed 18 countries on behalf of UNICEF to rate each country on the level of equity they provide for their citizens with special needs, after these countries had recently signed an International Equity for Disability Act. Out of the 18 developing countries, Jamaica had the highest percentage of regular children aged 6-9 attending school (99%) but ranked the lowest for disabled children aged 6-9 not attending any school at 75%. The 25% of SWSN reported to attend school are segregated and unstimulated in unregulated special schools. Furthermore, eleven years on from the Ministry’s mission statement, in a situational analysis completed by Gayle-Geddes (2016) conditions in Jamaica for PWD, it was apparent that they were still no closer to inclusion socially or educationally with no evidence of supplementary enrolment of SWSN in mainstream schools and negative social stigma towards disability remains.
Despite mission statements and the government’s decision to follow global trends for inclusion, it is yet to have reached schools or the teachers, who arguably, are the agents of social change actually able to achieve the challenging goal of inclusion (Done and Murphy, 2018). International research in teacher education frequently highlights the challenges of teachers needing more support and training for the additional requirements of more diverse learners (Yada et al, 2018). Jamaican teachers felt the same way after graduating from teacher colleges reporting similar challenges of feeling ill-prepared and unequipped to teach in mainstream schools (Roofe and Miller, 2013).
Schools and further education institutes in Jamaica are traditional and teacher-led (Cook, 2015) consequently inclusion with SWSN remains an educational theory for Jamaican teachers. In the teacher training colleges subject lecturers rarely hold any teaching qualifications, training is always lecture-style and all teacher practicums are assessed in traditional classrooms in mainstream schools-(Samms, 2018). Teachers, after understanding the principals of inclusion are still reported to doubt their ability to implement it successfully when they have never experienced it (Robinson, 2017), this doubt effects teachers’ feelings of self-efficacy. This study wanted to explore whether training based on teacher experience can improve attitudes and self-efficacy towards inclusion which may help facilitate educational inclusion across Jamaican schools.
One type of training that provides experience and professional support is co-teaching, found to increase self-efficacy in teachers (Hedegaard-Soerensen et al. 2018) and to be reliable for building self-efficacy for both teachers involved. Teachers are more inclined to implement new and different strategies when they feel confident in their teaching ability (Schagen Johnson et al. 2017). Co-teaching is inclusive and collaborative unlike the traditional training model which has not shown as much success in reducing the theory-to-practice gap or the implementation of inclusive techniques after training (Murphy and Martin, 2015).
Sokal et al. (2017) argues that the most beneficial way to prepare a teacher for an inclusive classroom is to expose them to diverse students in a real classroom with the support of an experienced mentor. Jamaican teachers will typically have never had any experience in a non-traditional classroom or of teaching SWSN. Direct experiences, when training has included students in classrooms, have been shown to change initial attitudes and beliefs towards inclusion, even when were negative (Jordan et al. 2009).
Convening on the foundation of social constructive learning, 2 theoretical frameworks have been applied to this study, Vygotsky’s theory the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) (Vygotsky, 1987) and Bandura’s theory of Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997). These theories are often employed in inclusive education and co-teaching (Göransson et al. 2017), Vygotsky’s ZPD leads to the development of a person’s skills from collaboration with a more experienced person, and in co-teaching both teachers can build each other’s capacity (Murphy and Martin, 2015).
Teacher practicums with support and exposure to real-life experiences are aspects within Banduras theory that can be applied to teachers to improve self-efficacy. Bandura (1997) argues that a person who believes they are no good at something will try and avoid doing it, therefore making teachers feel more capable may encourage implementation of new inclusive methods. Co-teaching offers a model from which self-efficacy can be built, according to Bandura’s theory, by providing an environment that includes exposure/desensitisation, experience, modelling and performance practice (Berg and Smith, 2018).
An inclusive and special needs school provides newly qualified teachers with a 2-week introductory co-teach training course. Trainee teachers are trained in an inclusive classroom with 60% of students diagnosed with mild to moderate special needs and the master co-teacher is resident and experienced.
To measure the effect training had on the trainee teacher’s self-efficacy and attitudes, questionnaires were given before and after and to evaluate the training 6 hypothesis were tested:
1. Ho: Attitude will not improve after training.
Ha: Attitude will improve after training.
2. Ho: Self-efficacy will not improve after training.
Ha: Self-efficacy will improve after training.
3. Ho: Training will not predict a direct measure of attitude towards inclusion.
Ha: Training will predict a direct measure of attitude towards inclusion.
4. Ho: Training will not predict a direct measure of self-efficacy towards inclusion.
Ha: Training will predict a direct measure of self-efficacy towards inclusion.
5. Ho: Teachers without previous experience teaching SWSN did not gain a larger difference in attitude scores compared to teachers with experience teaching SWSN.
Ha: Teachers without previous experience teaching SWSN gained a larger difference in attitude scores compared to teachers with experience teaching SWSN.
6. Ho: Teachers without previous experience teaching SWSN did not gain a larger difference in self-efficacy scores compared to teachers with experience teaching SWSN.
Ha: Teachers without previous experience teaching SWSN gained a larger difference in self-efficacy scores compared to teachers with experience teaching SWSN.
This study wanted to measure the impact of inclusive practicum experiences on improving attitudes towards integrating SWSN into mainstream classrooms and increasing the levels of teacher self-efficacy in inclusive methods specifically in Jamaica where traditional teacher-led instruction is the most common style of teaching. Ultimately, wanting to demonstrate how important using inclusive techniques in an inclusive classroom is when theory and lecture-style training is all teachers know. The current situation of Jamaica and its relation to inclusion internationally are discussed.
Chapter 2 Literature Review
The school system in Jamaica was originally built on colonial foundations and follows the British system beginning with pre-school, primary, high school finishing with tertiary. Most schools are run by the government, overcrowded and follow traditional teacher-led instruction (Morris and Henderson, 2016). Private sector schools are expensive, elitist and very few (Coates, 2012). Neither these nor government schools cater for students with special needs (SWSN) and there are only approximately six special schools for PWD which cater to profound physical and mental disability (Cook, 2015).
In 2004, Jamaica’s government created a Task Force on Educational Reform Jamaica (2004) where the idea of inclusion was first attempted. Their preliminary research discovered that nearly two hundred thousand children at that time across schools were not identified as having special needs and not being adequately educated. Further recent research, almost 15 years after the educational reform, revealed students with and without identifiable special needs are still not being supported or being taught inclusively (Samms 2018).
To broaden the investigation the facilitation of inclusion in schools, a search was developed from March 2018 to February 2019, electronic databases were searched such as: EBSCO Discovery Service, Google Scholar and PsycARTICLES (APA), Journals were limited to being published between 2007-2018, exceptions outside of the 12-year range were made for theoretical foundational literature.
Only scholarly articles, peer- reviewed journals, and PhD Dissertations were selected. The literature searches were not limited by study, design, size or location Closely related terms were searched: self-efficacy, attitudes, teachers, co-teaching, experience, inclusion, inclusive methods, training, students with special needs and implementation.
There is not a great deal of research specifically on Jamaica, however, the studies available paint a picture of little equity and mostly inequality for PWD. The government is willing to show that it understands the importance of the global push to providing rights and opportunities for their citizens with disabilities by ratifying international disability conventions and introducing human rights policies. However, they continue to put things in place without implementation and accountability from the top-down. In Morris, F. and A. Henderson, (2016) study of empowerment of children with disabilities in Jamaica reported that over 75% of Jamaican schools are inaccessible to SWSN and in the very few special schools that cater to SWSN, 90% are not assisted with any technology or adaptation. This research reveals that very little is changing from the ground-up. Barriers such as, negative attitudes and inadequate teacher training appear to be the main cause for the lack of facilitation of inclusion despite new inclusive educational policies and that this phenomenon is common in other countries.
2.1. Attitudes towards inclusion and integration
Studies on Jamaica reveal that its social climate continues to demonstrate negative attitudes towards PWD, partly due to PWD being segregated from society in terms of no employment opportunities and little vocational training (Meadows-Haworth, 2016), the majority of PWD are kept at home (Sherwood, 2010). Partly due to common cultural beliefs that disability is a punishment from God or some link with drug/alcohol abuse (Arthur & Whitley, 2015) and partly due to ignorance of there being any capabilities in pwd with the medical model of disability adopted and demonstrated by Jamaica (Carby et al. 2018).
Research shows that positive attitudes are essential to motivate any concept (Kruglanski et al. 2018) and Zheng et al. (2016) argue that negative social attitudes are a barrier to equality for PWD which can affect the facilitation of inclusion socially and educationally. When teacher’s attitudes towards teaching SWSN are negative, it often results in less accommodation in class and less tolerance for SWSN (Avramidis and Kalyva, 2007). For cultural reason many other countries for cultural reasons share negative attitudes towards PWD and inclusion, Forlin (2007) points out that in Hong Kong due to a results-based inflexible school system, teachers did not think inclusion could work. Baar (2016) noted that when measuring the attitudes of German teachers towards inclusion, found that although they held a positive attitude for the concept of inclusion, without seeing it work, remained negative about inclusive classrooms working. Furthermore, in the Caribbean, Blackman et al. (2012) after investigating attitudes of teachers in Barbados and Trinidad found that their ambivalent attitude to inclusion was because they had never seen it or experienced it and were unsure of the capability of its success. Those teachers also reported feeling unprepared to teach inclusive classrooms due to inadequate training.
2.2. Experience of and Exposure to Inclusive Classrooms and SWSN
Feeling unprepared to teach in an inclusive classroom due to inexperience of inclusion is a common theme among teachers across many countries. Mangope et al. (2018) found that teacher attitudes towards inclusion only changed in Botswana when teachers were exposed to inclusive settings. although whether the change was positive or negative reflected on their personal experience of the setting. Jamaican teachers are also shown to feel unprepared and inexperienced to teach SWSN with inclusive methods (Roofe and Miller, 2009; Roofe, 2018; Samms, 2018), as teacher-led instruction without differentiation is the only type of instruction Jamaican teachers have ever experienced and the only type they receive at teacher training college (Cook, 2015).
Giving teachers training opportunities who lack exposure to SWSN and lack experience in inclusive classrooms seems to make a difference to changing attitudes positively. Schmidt, M. and K. Vrhovnik, (2015) found in their study measuring Croatian teachers attitude towards the inclusion of SWSN, that the teachers with the lowest measurement of attitude had the least experience of teaching SWSN. Experience of teaching versus no experience at all of teaching SWSN in the majority of studies show positive attitude changes. However, the length of experience teaching SWSN has much more varied results, Dupoux et al. (2015) discussed and compared attitudes to the integration of SWSN between teachers from Haiti and U.S.A. The group from Haiti became more cynical as their experience of teaching SWSN increased while the USA group’s attitude positively increased with their years of experience. This difference may be due to the availability of resources in each country with Haiti not having any. These studies together with studies below are showing that the type of experience teachers have, whether good or bad is linked to their attitude and self-efficacy towards inclusion, positively and negatively. Timor, T. and J. Hartanska, (2014) found that between Slovakian teachers with no experience of SWSN and Israeli teachers with more experience, their attitudes towards mainstreaming SWSN were the same and positive. This perhaps indicates that a positive attitude can exist without experience and that a negative attitude can be changed with a good experience (Mangope et al. 2018).
Not all types of experience of or exposure to SWSN have been shown to improve attitudes either, contact theory (Allport, 1954) has been used to study interactions between teachers, care-givers and people in general, with PWD. According to the literature, people being shown video clips, slides or pictures of situations with PWD is not enough to change attitudes (Armstrong et al. 2015) thus, para-social experience appears to be ineffective. This study offers good information when designing teacher training providing information in a traditional teaching format that does not achieve any lasting change of attitudes toward PWD (Hassanein, 2015). Furthermore, the frequency of experiences with SWSN has little effect on improving attitudes (McKay, 2018) which is an unusual finding as, generally, repetition of situations to desensitise has been shown to normalise and improve attitudes (Soral et al, 2018). Overall, it seems to be the quality of the experience that influences a positive change in attitude to PWD (Costarelli and Gerłowska, 2014). Donohue, D.K. and J. Bornman, (2015) support these findings by concluding in their study, that all the teachers who had meaningful hands-on experiences with SWSN in an inclusive classroom were positively influenced towards inclusion.
2.3. Teacher Self-efficacy in Inclusive Teaching
Ahmmed et al. (2014), in a variety of different cultural contexts, found that after attitude, teacher self-efficacy is the factor that makes the most difference to the facilitation of inclusion. Teacher self-efficacy is the perception that a teacher has of their own capabilities to teach coming from the foundational self-efficacy theory originated by Bandura (1977). He argued that the concept is constructed of several aspects, when a person feels that they have mastered their subject, have experience of the subject, enjoy that subject and perceive that they are good at that subject, it evokes a motivational feeling of self-efficacy. People who admit to having low self-efficacy in certain situations have been shown to avoid those situations, sometimes evoking extreme anxiety (Bandura, 1997). When we consider the findings of the study made by Schmidt, S. and M. Venet, (2012) that Canadian Principals often rely on the perceived abilities of their teachers when considering whether to enrol SWSN and tended to agree with teachers when they felt they were not able to teach SWSN effectively enough to enrol them. It is therefore possible to assume that teachers without self-efficacy in inclusive teaching avoid it, may themselves be barriers to the facilitation of inclusion.
Improving teacher self-efficacy is arguably then, pivotal to the facilitation of inclusion, it provides the motivation behind the planning required to modify tasks and instruction for the accommodation of SWSN (Pendergast et al. 2011). Training and professional development to improve teacher efficacy has been studied extensively; on the whole, literature shows that training is successful (Chao et al. 2017) but the feeling of self-efficacy may not last long or may not lead to the implementation of the inclusive strategies after training (Schwab et al. 2017). The goal for teacher training should go beyond the training and immediate feelings of self-efficacy. Ultimately, it should provide students and teachers simultaneously with the benefit (Escriva-Boulley et al. (2018). Fackler, S. and L.E. Malmberg, (2016) investigated teacher efficacy in 14 different countries to find that teacher self-efficacy is directly correlated to the performance of their students, providing another link to student’s achievement and teacher self-efficacy. Throughout the current research, in building teacher self-efficacy, the most successful results in training have been when conditions have provided the elements in Bandura’s theory that build self-efficacy which are found in a co-taught environment (Hawkman et al. (2018). That is where training focuses on trainee teachers modelling teacher mentors, practicing teaching with the support of a mentor, being exposed to a working inclusive environment and obtaining positive experiences, these elements continue to increase teacher self-efficacy which remains throughout their career (Berg and Smith, 2018).
Collaboration and mentored experience in an inclusive practicum setting have been shown in numerous studies to improve the self-efficacy of teachers (Baldiris et al. 2016; Chao, 2017; Chizhik et al. 2018; Guise et al. 2017; Hawkman et al. 2018; Pancsofar and Petroff, 2016; Stepp and Peterson-Ahmad, 2017) especially when compared to more traditional models of training (Göransson et al. 2017; Murphy and Martin, 2015). It appears that seeing inclusion working significantly reduces the practice-to theory gap that so many teachers are conflicted with (Roofe, 2018) which is another possible factor affecting the facilitation of inclusion.
The co-teaching aspect of teacher training has been shown to not only support the elements of building professional confidence and improving attitudes towards inclusion but also provides an inclusive teaching situation. The mentor co-teacher is using inclusive techniques to teach the training teacher providing support, where both co-teachers scaffold each other throughout the process and in a successful working relationship become critical friends (Juma et al. 2017). Having a successful working relationship is important with co-teaching, there is research to suggest that the compatibility of the co-teachers can significantly impact on the success of the co-teaching situation (Casserly and Padden, 2018).
Co-teaching models a further inclusive teaching method, the understanding of Vygotsky’s (1987) Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Which is explained by a teacher using their knowledge to take a learner to the next level of knowledge until the learner is ready to move to the next level or zone. Essentially by being scaffolded, modelling, practicing and being taken to the next ZPD by an experienced mentor, co-teaching provides an environment to aspire to for an inclusive teacher. A teacher trained in an inclusive classroom with inclusive methods by an experienced inclusive teacher noticeably reduces the theory to practice gap conflict that prevents implementation of inclusive methods after training without any practicum (McLeskey et al. 2018). In effect, training that practices what it preaches appears to be the most successful in terms of facilitating inclusion and the importance of modelling to teachers learning new techniques (Uerz et al. 2018)
There are different examples of co-teaching such as, parallel teaching, team teaching and station teaching among others, however, the success seems to depend on the versatility of the co-teach team and their ability to use all the methods by adapting to every different learning situation (Hamilton-Jones and Moore, 2013). Teachers who only use the model where one teacher teaches the whole classroom and the other teacher supports does not show a good outcome for SWSN and does not appear to contribute to implementation of effective inclusive teaching strategies (Solis et al. 2012).
The literature that surrounds the facilitation of inclusion always points to the need for more satisfactory training for teachers but there is a strong movement which proposes that to effectively teach in inclusive settings, provisions to combine both theoretical content and practicum have to be made (Doulkeridou et al. (2011).
Practical, meaningful, supported, hands-on experience in co-teaching, in inclusive classrooms as a more effective method to prepare teachers for inclusion has remained a significant success factor throughout the research. Furthermore, it shows that experience in classrooms with professional collaboration increases teacher self-efficacy and positive attitudes (Chao et al. (2017). When teachers experience includes actively engaging with SWSN in working classrooms, their self-efficacy increases and attitudes towards integrating SWSN improve (Hodge et al. 2009).
Predicting a teacher’s intention to teach using inclusive methods back in their classrooms after training has been linked to their attitudes and feelings of self-efficacy (Yada et al. 2018). Aiello, P. and U. Sharma, (2018) studied almost 300 teachers in Italy and Austria and found that the more positive the attitude and the higher the self-efficacy of the teacher, in both countries, the more likely they were to include SWSN in mainstream classrooms. A teacher’s perceived capabilities and attitudes towards inclusion must be positive to ensure its success for implementation (Kocbeker-Eid, 2016).
Teachers are arguably the most important key to the facilitation of inclusion, their role is essential to the process (Done and Murphy, 2018). Unfortunately, on the other hand this means that they can also be influential barriers to inclusion. This is often due to teachers holding negative or ambivalent attitudes towards the inclusion of SWSN, due to feeling inadequately trained to teach SWSN and having no practical experience of working inclusive classrooms.
The facilitation of inclusion in schools in the United Kingdom and Unites States of America was starting to be seen in the late 1990’s to the 2000’s (Kauffman et al, 2018) but many countries less developed such as, Belize, Egypt, Jamaica, Guyana and Mauritius, are still only in the planning stages (Hunt, 2015) all with different cultural and political factors contributing to the lack of progress thus far. Just like Jamaica, governments in countries that are trying to move closer to inclusive education but have little social integration and opportunities for PWD should consider the value of providing professional development that is able to modify teachers' preconceived attitudes and beliefs (Ekanayake and Wishart, 2015). The research surrounding training teachers in inclusion justifies the need for supported practicum experiences in developing the aspects that contribute to teacher’s self-efficacy positive attitudes and facilitating inclusion. Furthermore, it highlights useful factors when facilitating inclusion that when combined appear to offer approaches to the challenges experienced by Jamaica and other countries who are in a similar position with traditional teacher-led schools. The next section discusses the methodology used for this study.
Chapter 3 Methodology
The intention of this small study was to explore whether, and to what extent, there is any difference in teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education and feelings of teacher self-efficacy using inclusive methods after training for 2 weeks, in an inclusive classroom with an experienced co-teacher mentor. It was also examined whether trainee teachers, who had previous experience of SWSN, differed in attitudes and self-efficacy with teachers without any prior experience. This study also wanted to see whether this type of inclusive training is likely to result in implementation of inclusion back in the teachers’ classrooms.
This chapter opens with a description of the school, then follows, the sampling strategy, the training condition and concludes with procedures. This study is based in Jamaica and the target population is qualified teachers trained within the Jamaican system. The school in this study was chosen because it practises inclusive co-teaching methods in each of its classrooms. Enrolled in the school are neurotypical students and diverse students with various physical, intellectual, learning and behavioural special needs. Each classroom has 20-25 students and on average, a SWSN population of approximately 75%. There is an experienced resident inclusive teacher who co-teaches with another experienced teacher or trainee teacher on a daily basis, where 2-week training induction per term is already established.
This particular school invites qualified teachers from any school to participate in their 2-week inclusive co-teach training course that commences at the beginning of every term. This study recruited volunteer teachers for the Spring Term training. It is also mandatory for all of its newly recruited teachers to complete a training session before being placed in the school. Classrooms available with experienced co-teachers for each training restricted the number of participants able to be included in this study. However, this would also be the case for most moderately sized schools wishing to reproduce a similar study. Furthermore, as this training occurs every school term, additional cohorts can be accumulated over an annual time-frame.
The sample frame for this study was convenience sampling due to the participants being voluntarily recruited after meeting the inclusion criteria and already training within the school where the study was taking place. The sample was chosen on the basis of convenience, however out of the 15 participants who volunteered, due to constraints of having only 5 classrooms available for the study, only 5 volunteers could be chosen on first come basis. This type of sampling is not without limitations, such as, variability and bias issues, also results from the data may not be generalised beyond the sample, which is discussed further in the threats to validity section.
Participants eligible for this study happened to all be female and general education teachers as there were no restrictions on gender or type of teacher. The total number of participants in this study was 5.
The training condition in this study is an already established event that occurs for 2 weeks at the beginning of every school term. The inclusive classrooms are led by experienced resident master co-teacher with SWSN in the classroom. The first week the master teacher models while the trainee assists, for the second week the trainee takes the lead and the master teacher assists.
Ethical clearance for this study was applied for and approved through the University of Roehampton ethics process, (see Appendix A). Permission to use the school and have access to teachers was granted by the Director of school who wishes to remain anonymous; this being an independent school, permission from the Ministry of Education was not required.
The researcher was given a list of all the teachers’ names and email addresses who were on the 2-week induction training list, an email was sent explaining the nature of the study and how to participate while protecting confidentiality. The participant consent forms for Master teachers were sent via email and for trainee teachers, in the data packets (see Appendix B and C). Consenting trainee teachers were asked to fill in 2 questionnaires (see Appendix D and E) prior to training, 2 of the same questionnaires immediately after training and 1 questionnaire (see Appendix D) 2 weeks after completion of training, using a unique code name. Questionnaires were returned in the envelope provided to the schools’ reception and then collected by the researcher. Mentor teachers were emailed the study information and could consent via email reply or by collecting and signing a consent packet from school reception.
All participants were informed of any potential risks or benefits, the measures used to maintain confidentiality and the estimated time required to complete questionnaires. Trainee teachers were informed that only a few participants will be chosen per training, that all participation is voluntary and confidential, and that withdrawal of participation can be done at any time.
Participants were also informed that this study could potentially provide insights into teacher training, in particular, towards the facilitation of inclusive education in Jamaican schools. The researcher’s name and educational institution, supervisor’s contact email and instructions for any questions were provided.
Due to cultural norms of corporal punishment in Jamaican schools a section in the consent form was included explaining that the school has a strict policy concerning disciplining students and forbids any form of physical punishment to pre-empt any situations arising with trainee teachers.
The initial page, where the trainee teacher writes their name next to their unique code, is stored in a locked cabinet separate to the questionnaire data. Participants thereafter identify their questionnaires only with their code name, they only need to supply their codename to withdraw.
The first Likert-scaled questionnaire, to be completed twice, contained 18 questions measuring Attitudes towards Inclusion; the second Likert-scaled questionnaire, also to be completed twice, contained 24 questions measuring the teacher’s feelings of self-efficacy in an Inclusive classroom. The final Likert-scaled questionnaire to be completed once, contained 38 questions on implementing inclusion in their classrooms after training.
All questionnaires were completed and returned There was a small demographic section provided on the last part of the first data set (see Appendix B).
All data from questionnaires was analysed by entering information into IBM SPSS statistical software, to access this data a secure password is required. All data will be secured for 5 years, the questionnaires and consent forms will be locked separately in a secure cabinet, and the electronic data stored in an encrypted file in a laptop.
Teacher efficacy for inclusive practices (TIEP) questionnaire (see Appendix B) was developed by Sharma. U., C Loreman and T Forlin (2012) and chosen primarily because of its ability to determine how prepared and confident teachers feel specifically moving from exclusive education to inclusive mainstream classrooms, rather than general teacher self-efficacy. Another reason for this particular questionnaire is that it has been reliably tested across nine culturally different countries: India, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia (Loreman et al. 2013); in China, Finland and South Africa (Malinen et al. (2013); in the United States of America (Park et al. 2016) and recently in Jamaica (Samms 2018).
The TIEP contains 18 questions measured by 6-point Likert scale, 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). Scoring is the sum of the responses; the range is from 18 to 108; a score above 70 indicates high feelings of self-efficacy teaching inclusively in a classroom with SWSN. Scores below 50 indicate very low teacher self-efficacy.
A reliability analysis was carried out on the Teacher Inclusive Self-Efficacy values scale comprising 17 items; Cronbach’s alpha showed the questionnaire to reach a good reliability, α = 0.89. Most items appeared to be worthy of retention, resulting in a decrease in the alpha if deleted. The one exception to this was item TISE15, removal of which would increase the alpha to α = 0.91, resulting in an excellent internal consistency. As such, removal of this item was considered. However, taking this question out would lower the content validity of the measure when reliability is already at an acceptable level.
The Opinions Relative to Integration of Students with Disabilities scale (ORI) (Appendix C) developed by Antonak, R.F. and B. Larrivee, (1995) was the questionnaire chosen. This rating scale measures teachers' attitudes towards the integration of students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms rather than just measuring attitudes using inclusive methods in a mainstream classrooms.
The ORI contains 25 positively and negatively worded statements on a 6-point Likert scale, where rated responses range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). Negatively worded items were reversed scored. The sum of responses of the scale ranges from 1 to 150, only the total score of the scale was used in the analysis. Positive attitudes were indicated by a summed score of 72 and negative attitudes were indicated by total score of 54 or below.
The ORI has not been used in Jamaica but has been reported to high internal consistency in international studies: for example, Haiti and USA (Dupoux et al. 2005), Trinidad and Barbados (Blackman et al. 2012), Mexico (Mezquita-Hoyos et al. 2018) and Australia (Vaz et al. 2015), to name but a few.
A reliability analysis was determined using Cronbach’s alpha on the Opinions of Integration of SWSN in mainstream school values scale comprising 24 items. Cronbach’s alpha showed the questionnaire to reach an excellent reliability, α = 0.92.
The Special education teacher questionnaire (Hamden et al, 2016) (see Appendix D) was chosen because the questions specifically ask whether teachers currently include inclusive techniques and understand inclusion with diverse students in their classrooms as a result of their recent inclusive training. A 6-point Likert-scale with responses to the 38 items ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). Due to polarisation on the scale the sum of the questions implies that a score higher than 120 indicates good implementation of inclusive methods. A score lower than 120 would imply that the teacher does not implement many inclusive measures in their own classroom post training.
The questionnaire is used to calculate the sum of the responses to determine how many participants have implemented inclusive methods since training, however, owing to the small number of participants and limited time, a repeated measures questionnaire after 6 months could not be facilitated. Although every statement in the questionnaire is important to measure in what way this training helps teachers facilitate inclusion in classrooms, there are six specific statements that relate to aspects discussed in the literature review. For example, Clements et al. (2011) noted that training alone, without the experience of practising new techniques, results in less implementation, while McLeskey et al. (2018) report that the experience of teaching in a classroom of diverse learners can reduce the theory to practice gap that teachers often feel after lecture-style training. Of these six statements, the percentage of responses among participants was highlighted;
Statement 7, I have an increased awareness of the characteristics and needs of diverse learners;
Statement 8, I know better what inclusive teaching means;
Statement 13, My class now includes more activities enabling students to participate and learn by doing;
Statement 23, This course has helped me relate the theory to teaching practise;
Statement 25, I was given opportunities to implement what I learned during the training;
Statement 29, I created materials and lesson plans to be used back in my own classroom.
A reliability analysis was determined using Cronbach’s alpha on the 38 items of the Special Education Teacher questionnaire values scale. demonstrating an excellent reliability, α = 0.98.
All three instruments used in this study were published and available for use and had a 6-point Likert scale, which is often used to mitigate central tendency bias; when the scale is uneven, respondents tend to avoid extreme responses options by indicating a preference for centrally located options on the scale (Douven, 2018) or simply opt for a neutral or no opinion selection. When the scale response options are polarised without a midpoint the respondent is forced to disagree or agree (Malone et al. 2014).
3.5 Threats to Validity
This study uses self-administered questionnaires, which rely on honest responses from participants. There are, however, some reactions to statements that cause participants to over-report, under-report, endorse or exaggerate a particular viewpoint, either to appear to be socially acceptable or desirable. To minimise these biases, participants’ responses are confidential and the questionnaire measuring attitudes contained some statements with a reverse tone.
Convenience sampling was employed due to available teachers undertaking training within the school. This nonprobability sampling brings bias with it, but this study is not seeking to represent the entire population; although there is some underrepresentation of sub-groups such as male teachers, this is a common phenomenon with general teachers in Jamaica. Results should still not be generalised.
Statistical significance is often thought to be a threat to validity when the participant number is low, however it can be argued that small-N studies are easier to replicate and with less variation of participants results can be more robust (Smith and Little, 2018). However, the effect size may assume some questionable assumptions, as we might be able to reject a null hypothesis but not small effect, further studies are still necessary. The following chapter includes data analysis, results and discussion.