Successful inclusion: What do teachers say they need?

Year: 1999

Author: Prochnow, Jane, Kearney, Alison, Carroll-Lind, Janis

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

One of the aims of the New Zealand Special Education 2000 Policy is to create a world-class inclusive education system by the year 2000. Teachers have a crucial role to play in the successful implementation of this policy. To do this, teachers need support. What are the support needs of teachers for the inclusion of learners with special needs? And are these needs being met? This paper investigated these questions with 121 participating teachers in 13 primary, intermediate and secondary schools. The teachers identified 972 students for whom they needed some level of support to insure successful inclusion in their classrooms. Teacher responses were evaluated in terms of the levels of support they required for including each of the identified students and the levels of support they were actually receiving. Teachers' comments were analysed regarding a) reasons for any discrepancy perceived between the level of support required and support received, b) the structures currently in place at their school that successfully support the inclusion of children with special needs in their classroom, and c) what structures can be implemented to support teachers more successfully with inclusion. Results were examined in terms of four levels surrounding the learner with disability. The four levels were the classroom teacher, and support from school, family, and external agencies. This paper outlines these findings and makes recommendations for schools to successfully support teachers in their role as agents of inclusion.