Determining the Attitudes of Elementary School Teachers towards the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities: A Case Study of Three Elementary Schools in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.
Winis, C. (2013). Determining the Attitudes of Elementary School Teachers towards the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities: A Case Study of Three Elementary Schools in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. (Thesis, Master of Special Education (MSpEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7947
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7947
The global agenda for inclusive education led the Department of Education in Papua New Guinea to develop its policy on special education, which was then endorsed by the government to be implemented in all schools. The emphasis on inclusive education was to ensure that all children, both abled and disabled, were receiving education in schools in their community. The inclusive approach placed the onus on the regular classroom teachers, to establish an inclusive learning environment. This study focused on the factors that were influencing teachers‟ attitudes in the rural elementary schools. Numerous studies show that successful implementation of inclusion of children with special needs largely depends on teachers‟ positive attitudes towards inclusion. The results of this study revealed a number of influential factors on teacher‟s attitudes, it indicated that inclusion of children with disability into mainstream schools is challenging when individual teachers‟ level of knowledge about special education is limited. The aim of this study is to contribute knowledge relating to the elementary education sector in PNG. To date, research in inclusive education in PNG has been confined to primary schools. Seven elementary school teachers representing three schools in a rural district in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, PNG, participated in the study. A qualitative approach using semi-structured individual interviews and observations was used to gather data. The study revealed that participants knew how important education was and supported the idea that education is important for all children, even those with disabilities. Further questioning revealed that teachers acceptance of inclusion was determined by a variety of factors. They included teacher training, teaching experience, gender, physical environment, class size, resources/materials, the type of disability, and the effects of cultural belief and geography on inclusion. It also revealed that failure to establish collaborative and trusting relationships between teachers, parents, professionals and very importantly, adequate financial support from the government can have serious impact on the outcomes of inclusion. Though inclusive education is beneficial to all children it is also challenging for educators. Therefore the identified factors need addressing. Addressing these barriers could result in positive attitudinal changes among teachers.
University of Waikato
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