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Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting

James Carlo L. Arville Elma Grace L. Domingo Alvin Gerald O. Keyser Edliene Angelica S. Mier Judy Ann G. Patea Far Eastern University

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to determine the readiness of the general education teachers of students with special needs that are included in a regular classroom set-up. Furthermore, another goal of this is to come up with a review on related studies and literatures to enlighten the minds of the teachers and the school administrators on the preparedness of general educators in handling students with exceptionalities. This also focused on the factors of teachinglearning process that may affect the inclusion set-up and academic performance of these students with special needs.

Introduction It is important to study the readiness of general education teachers in handling students with exceptionalities to know if they can effectively give the appropriate needs of these students (Dingle et al., 2004). In doing so, these teachers facilitate the inclusion of children with special needs towards their academic and adaptive progress (Gal et al., 2010).

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting The readiness of general education teachers in facilitating inclusion services can depend on his collaboration with the parents, special education teacher, school administrators and other professionals (Refice, 2006). With collaboration, the regular teachers will be able to gain crucial information about the needs of students with special needs. They will also be able to come up with teaching and behavior management strategies that are essential to the progress of these students. Teachers need to adapt in the dynamic laws and support of the government that are relevant to education because it can change the curriculum of schools (Holdheide et al,. 2008). When there is a change in curriculum, there is a big possibility that the teachers will need to also change their teaching strategies, and they also need to get new resources and materials. Available resources and materials that can help in handling students with special needs are also a key factor in the readiness of teachers. They need enough resources and materials to accommodate the students with exceptionalities (Kohanek & Buka, 1999). Problems such as lack of resources and large number of students in the inclusive classroom can stun the readiness of teachers (Eloff & Kguet, 2007). Courses offered in teacher education institutions that the general education teachers enrolled in are also important factors in handling students with special needs that are included in a regular classroom. The teacher will be more ready to handle these kinds of students if they received topics and courses that are related to special education (Winn & Blanton, 2005). They should receive not only introductions about concepts related to special education but also trainings and topics about strategies in handling these students (Turner, 2003).

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting Method This is a descriptive research which presents the collected review of related studies. It is a scientific method which involves gathering data relevant to the research. This design helps to provide answers to the questions of who, what, when, where, and how associated with a particular research problem; it cannot conclusively ascertain answers to why. Furthermore, it is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena and to describe "what exists" with respect to variables or conditions in a situation (USC Libraries, 2013). On the part of the researchers, they used this design in order to determine and describe the current readiness of general education teachers in handling students with disabilities in a regular classroom. Attitudes towards Inclusion The special education teachers have a significantly greater positive attitudes toward inclusion than general education teachers and elementary teachers have the most willing to accommodate students with special needs in the general educational setting (Alahbabi, 2009). For the reason that the special education teachers have taken more courses related to special education, they understand more the situation of students with special needs. The general education teachers have a negative outlook when it comes to the academic progress of these students with special needs. The perception of regular classroom teachers towards inclusion depends on their experience when they are in the field (Leatherman, 2007). If they have positive experiences in teaching,

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting they will have positive perceptions in handling inclusion class. On the other hand, negative experiences will lead to negative perceptions. The attitude of teachers toward inclusion depends on his or her demographic profile. Female teachers have more positive attitude in inclusion than male teachers. Marital status also affects their perspective towards inclusion. If the teacher is single, he is more likely to have a positive outlook in handling students with exceptionalities. The more experienced an educator is in an inclusive classroom, the more positive view one will have (Praisner, 2003). Regardless of the teachers positive or negative experience in inclusion, as long as the teacher has undergone a lot of experience he will have positive views. The teachers attitudes towards inclusion of children with disability are affected by the teachers personal characteristics and with related to accommodations they consider necessary for admission of such children with special needs. (Gal, Scheur, Yeger, 2010). Special education teachers have more patience than general education teachers. The students will be affected by the changes occurred in the teachers behavior. The changes in the behavior of the teachers have different result to the students. The result can either be negative or positive depending on the students perspective. Teachers attitudes towards student with disability depended on a great deal on the type and severity of the disability. Educators showed they were more accepting of students with learning disabilities and less accepting of students with intellectual disability (Alghazo, 2002). The more severe the disability is, the more the student is difficult to handle. Henceforth, the teacher will

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting gain a negative outlook on teaching the student with disability. Even though these students needed more attention because of the severity of their disability, the teachers tend to be less accommodating toward these students. Most researchers agree that the most important condition for successful inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classroom is a change from negative to positive attitude of regular school and regular classroom (Samuel et.al, 1991). One of the main keys for an inclusive setting is to conduct an intervention to the regular teachers who have negative attitudes or outlooks and change them into positive. General Educators and the Process of Collaboration One of the responsibilities of general education teachers is to collaborate (Refice, 2006). They need to collaborate with parents, special education teachers, school administrators, and other professionals with special expertise on students disabilities. With collaboration, the teachers will gain important information that they need to know about their students with special needs in order to apply the appropriate teaching strategies and classroom management that are essential for an effective inclusion. Another method to integrate inclusion into the classroom is by collaborative teaching. This requires a general and a special education teacher to work together inside or outside of a general education classroom to meet the special needs of an exceptional student (Hallahan & Kauffman, 2003). Special education teacher is more knowledgeable in handling students with special needs than the regular education teachers. He can share strategies and other

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting information to the general education teacher to provide a quality education in an inclusive setting. Collaborative teaching can increase the level of attention or focus in teaching the students with special needs that are included in the general education classroom. Collaboration between those who are mainly involved in facilitating the inclusion setting is necessary. A positive collaboration between these individuals can maximize students performance in the school. When integrating inclusion into the classroom one important aspect is to keep the parents involved in students education (Refice, 2006). Parents are the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to their children. That is why regular classroom teachers must work in partnership with them to get crucial information in educating the students. This information can be about the childs needs, accommodations and other services relevant to the disability of the child. Preparation for Inclusion Teachers prepare to deliver inclusive services to students with disabilities is increasingly important because of changes in law and policy emphasizing student access to, and achievement in, the general education curriculum (Holdheide et al., 2008). The implementation of law is dynamic, whenever there is a change of the laws associating with education, every teacher is affected. They must change their strategies to meet the demands of the laws. Separate general and special education teacher preparation program and services contribute to the barriers experienced with inclusion (Winn & Blanton, 2005). There might be contrasting

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting ideas between these two professionals in ways of handling students with special needs which can greatly affect the students academic performance. Their different views can widen their capacities and strategies in handling these students if they share information and knowledge relevant to the cases of these students with disability. Teacher preparations and inclusive services attempt to inform general education teachers on issues pertaining to special education have generally involved a single, required, introductorylevel special education course (Turner, 2003). Such courses usually provided information concerning legal requirements and eligibility classification regarding the 13 categories of disability (Winn & Blanton, 2005) but often did not provide information on successful instructional strategies for students with disability. Courses offered in the undergraduate level in teacher education mainly focuses on the content of the introduction, background, theories, procedures, and definitions. And not mainly on the pedagogies that can be used in inclusion. Trainings about special education and inclusion are important factors in gaining knowledge on how to properly handle students with special needs. Several teachers have little trainings, seminars, and experiences in teaching students with disabilities. They are not aware of the research on best practice as it applies to students with disabilities. And often hold stereotypical views of what students can and cannot do (Wiley, 1998). Resources and the Learning Environment Instructional resources are essential to the readiness of teachers in handling students with special needs. General education teachers need enough resources to accommodate the

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting students with exceptionality (Kohanek & Buka, 1999). The adequacies of resources, such as materials, equipment, and physical accommodations can result to a successful inclusion (Leatherman, 2007). A high number of students in the classroom can make it difficult for teachers to adequately teach in inclusive classrooms (Eloff & Kguet, 2007). It is difficult to handle an over populated classroom specially when there are students with special needs that are included in the classroom. Because of the high number of students in the classrooms, the teachers also experience difficulties in giving individual attention to both regular students and students with exceptionalities. Conclusion This study focuses on the readiness of general educators in handling students with special needs. Generally, majority of the general education teachers that are facilitating inclusion in the regular classroom have little or no background about special education and different disabilities. To increase the knowledge about the needs of students with exceptionalities, the teachers should participate in numerous seminars, workshops and trainings (Johnstone, 2010). The teachers gender is also a factor in handling students in the inclusive setting. Various researchers have pointed out that female teachers have a more positive view when it comes to facilitating inclusion rather than male teachers (Fakolade et al., 2009). Furthermore, the more experience the teacher has in handling students with special needs in a regular classroom, the more positive his outlook will be about educating these students, and also on the students

Readiness of General Education Teachers in Handling Students with 2013 Special Needs in an Inclusive Setting academic progress (Praisner, 2003). Several studies also confirmed that the teachers attitudes towards student with special needs are affected by the type and severity of the disability (Alghazo, 2002). Recommendation The researchers recommend that general education teachers must be open to involve themselves into various professional trainings, seminars and workshops. It is to increase their knowledge and improve or develop their skills and abilities in handling students with special needs in regular classrooms. In addition to this, they should engage themselves to enroll in educational institutions to get a higher degree. These educational institutions must provide them proper trainings such as hands-on experience in handling students with special needs. On the other hand, teachers must have a positive outlook on the development of skills and enhancement of knowledge of students with special needs. To handle students with special needs, teachers should have a positive perception in order for their approach to produce effective outcomes. Furthermore, for them to perceive inclusion positively, they should also have positive experiences in engaging with individuals with disabilities. References

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