Details of Thesis

Title Inclusion: Teachers’ attitudes and pedagogy
Author McKenzie, Cheryl
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2010
Abstract Education is one of the keys to future prosperity and in principle inclusion offers access to quality education for all. The practice of inclusion has been made mandatory in Victorian schools however, reviews suggest that inclusion, as practiced in Victoria, has not been fully implemented (Meyer, 2001). With over 48,000 Victorian State Government Primary School students in need of special education assistance it was considered imperative to investigate the attitudes of teachers towards inclusion and the inclusive pedagogy they practise. Based in the interpretive paradigm of social equity, this thesis aims to investigate the attitudes towards inclusion and the inclusive pedagogy practised by Primary State School teachers in Melbourne, Victoria. To understand the participants reality from their perspective a constructionist epistemology was utilised. The response of 225 fulltime primary school teachers to the BCSQ (Bender, 1992) and STATIC (Cochran, 1998a) questionnaires were analysed and compared with their personal background information. The database was tested for relationships between the variables. These results were used to develop questions for targeted interviews with ten selected respondents. The responses of the questionnaires and interviews were used to facilitate an understanding of the relationships between teachers’ attitudes and their pedagogy. The results indicated that while teachers philosophically embraced inclusion and practised a range of inclusive pedagogies a perceived lack of quality support and limited education in special needs continued to hamper the implementation of inclusion in Victorian State Primary Schools. Forty percent of teachers had no education in special needs and felt challenged by inclusion and unsure about how to implement inclusion. Furthermore, teachers identified an urgent need to provide additional support for the teacher-diagnosed students who represent eighty percent of the special needs students present in the majority of classrooms. A range of recommendations are made for improvements to the implementation of inclusion in Victorian State Primary Schools.
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