Special Education Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities in Middle Schools In Saudi Arabia

Nora ALHARTI, David EVANS
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Abstract


Teachers’ practices are influenced by their attitudes and beliefs (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002). Consequently, a large part of the success of inclusive education depends on teachers’ attitudes. Understanding teachers’ attitudes and beliefs is critical to the development and success of inclusive education practices (Hodkinson, 2005). In Saudi Arabia, limited research has been conducted on teachers’ attitudes and beliefs at the primary school level and no research has been identified that investigates teachers’ attitudes towards teaching students with learning disabilities (LD) at the middle school level. The present study sought to investigate special education teachers’ attitudes towards teaching students with LD in regular classrooms and examine the collaborative efforts that create inclusive classrooms in Saudi public middle schools. The quantitative data were collected through a Likert scale questionnaire. A vignette attached to the questionnaire was used to collect the qualitative data. Fifty-six special education teachers from a range of middle schools in Riyadh completed the questionnaire for this study. The results indicated that special education teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education were positive. There were no significant differences between teachers’ attitudes according to their gender. However, the qualitative findings indicated that special education teachers thought their training was insufficient to meet the educational needs of students with LD in Saudi middle schools. The results of this study suggest that decision makers should consider in-service and pre-service training and education programs for teachers to enhance educational services for students with LD. Teachers should be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills before implementing inclusive education practices. Specifically, teachers need to learn to use evidence-based strategies to serve students with LD in inclusive classrooms and find ways to collaborate with colleagues and parents through on-going professional learning.

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References


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