While in the past the provision of additional classroom staff appears to have been erratic this fortunately was no longer true for the group of teachers who at the time of the study had pupils with Down syndrome in their class. The majority of support was provided by non-teaching auxiliaries who were allocated for the time that the children were in school.
Most teachers appeared satisfied with this arrangement, although one teacher raised the issue of the lack of formal training of NTAs. In particular, the teacher of a child in a Year III group felt that the support offered the child should at this stage be of a qualified nature in order to meet the child's increasing educational needs. Although teacher attitudes towards integration showed variation throughout the groups, there appears to have been a positive shift over the past few years; a finding also reported in other parts of the country Bird and Buckley, , Lorenz, According to Beveridge , such a shift may be the result of an increase in awareness and acceptance of the role of mainstream schools in making special educational provision, and Sugden et al.
While acknowledging the risk of attempting to generalise findings from a small scale study to the population in general, it does not seem too improbable that a similar situation may be found elsewhere in the UK. Certainly, in this study of teachers with past or present experience of teaching children with Down syndrome in mainstream classes, the teachers were unanimous in the need to improve integration.
Not only had the great majority of teachers little experience of such children, but perhaps more importantly had received little or no specialist training either during their initial training or their teaching career. The fact that, even where input had been provided in initial training, it was not felt to meet their present needs, must have serious implications for providers. This perceived lack of specialist knowledge on their part resulted generally in low levels of confidence in their ability as mainstream teachers to fully cater for the needs of pupils with Down syndrome, and in some cases appeared not only to have affected their attitude towards integration, but also their expectations of the social and academic abilities of their pupils with Down syndrome.
Obviously, for teacher expectations to be realistic they must be founded upon accurate information, but in order for teachers to assess the levels that need to be targeted with individual children with Down syndrome, it would appear that they need access to more hard information than was generally available.
However, it was encouraging to see that, in this particular LEA, children with Down syndrome were being integrated increasingly into mainstream classes, and that overall the attitude of these teachers towards the integration of children with Down syndrome was fairly positive, despite this acknowledged lack of specialist knowledge and suitable resources.
Furthermore, a comparison of staffing levels of the two groups of teachers suggests a recent acknowledgement on the part of the LEA of the need for additional staff provision for these children; a finding which might explain, to some extent, the difference in attitudes between Group 1 and Group 2 regarding the suitability of mainstream placement for children with Down syndrome.
Certainly, attitudes appeared to be closely related to the degree of specialist support received. That this, teachers felt, should be consistent and available from the outset obviously requires the continued commitment of the local education committee, which, in an era of cutbacks affecting both finance and staff levels, may become harder to maintain.
Education Policy in the United States - Sociology - Oxford Bibliographies
There would appear to be the need for some long term planning, if, as the Fish Report ILEA states, integration is to be seen as an ongoing process, not just a transient experience, in order that teachers fully take on board the educational responsibilities that go with the placement of any child within the class group. There is a body of evidence Sugden et al.
This was found, albeit in small measure, in the present study, with some teachers acknowledging a change in attitude by the end of the placement. While the starting point for any change in teacher knowledge, attitudes and expectations should begin during the period of initial training, as recommended by the ACSET report , most currently employed teachers will not be affected by any recent innovations in initial training.
Yet, it is these teachers who are likely to hold positions of responsibility within schools and make decisions regarding curriculum and academic organisation for children with special needs. Therefore, as Hegarty stresses, there is the need for in-service training to be made available, as this is the most likely training to determine the extent to which effective reform will take place at a practical level. However, in providing this in-service, training establishments, LEAs and schools might do well to listen to the perceived needs of teachers, as there were clearly identified specific needs reported by the teachers in this study concerning the type, frequency, content and provision of support, information and advice required.
Although, as mentioned earlier, it was not within the scope of the present study to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot information pack which was developed on the basis of information provided in the semi structured interview and the questionnaire, it is the intention in the future to develop this further so that it may provide a permanent school-based resource which may in part meet the needs as identified by teachers in this study.
Meantime, it is hoped that an additional outcome of this study has been that the teachers have become actively involved in reflecting on the process of integration. The teachers not only gave consideration to their own specific abilities and needs, but also reflected on those of their pupils; a process which should have been of benefit to all. Sincere thanks go to the teachers who participated in this study, and the parents and children who took part in the video clips for the pilot information pack.
A Social Psychology of Schooling: The Expectancy Process
I: Mainstream infants. J: Mainstream juniors. R: Reception year. Y: Year. Table 2. Level and source of teacher knowledge of Down syndrome. N: None. S: Some. F: Fair amount. C: Considerable amount. SEN: Special educational needs. Table 3. Source and value of pre-placement information. PT: Previous teacher. E: Excellent. R: Reasonably good. G: Good. RP: Rather poor. P: Poor. Table 4.
Frequency and perceived value of parental contact. T: Termly. W: Weekly. R: Rarely. VH: Very helpful. LU: Little use.
Other Subject Areas
VU: Virtually useless. Table 5. Source, type and perceived effectiveness of teacher in-placement support. Table 6.
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Paperback : Hardback : Add to Wish List. Description Contents Series Subjects. Back to Knowledge Hub. Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. Drawing together extensive UK and international scholarship and research to propose a new conceptual model for exploring the variety of understandings of students as partners in learning and teaching this publication: examines the motivations and rationales for staff and students engaging in partnership; offers a pedagogical case for partnership; identifies examples of strategic and sustainable practices of engaging students as partners in learning and teaching; outlines how the development of partnership learning communities may guide and sustain practice in this area; identifies tensions and challenges to partnership; offers suggestions to individuals and institutions for addressing challenges and future work.