Teachers' perceptions of the stress associated with inclusive education and their methods of coping

Year: 1997

Author: Forlin, Chris

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The current educational philosophy is wherever possible to educate all children, including those with a disability, in regular classes. Inevitably this poses different pressures on teachers who need to cater for an ever increasing range of student abilities within regular classrooms. This paper reports the findings of a research study undertaken to determine the ways in which regular class teachers cope during inclusive education and the specific issues which are stressful for them. The study was undertaken in primary schools in Queensland during 19 Initial focus group interviews with regular class teachers currently involved in inclusive education identified key issues in the education of students with a disability in regular classes. These discussions focused on aspects of inclusion that regular class teachers found stressful and the ways in which they coped with these, the difficulties they encountered, the availability and usefulness of support structures, and the benefits obtained. Subsequently, two Likert style questionnaires were developed to assess the usefulness of various problem-focused or emotion-focused coping behaviours and the degree to which identified issues were stressful for regular class teachers during inclusion. Differences between teachers from regional schools where alternative placement options exist for children with a disability, and teachers from rural areas where no optional placements are available, were considered.