Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Exploring Pre-Service Teachers' Perceived Teaching-Efficacy, Attitudes and Concerns about Inclusive Education in Bangladesh

Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Exploring Pre-Service Teachers' Perceived Teaching-Efficacy, Attitudes and Concerns about Inclusive Education in Bangladesh

Article excerpt

Introduction

"What people think, believe, and feel affects how they behave" (Bandura, 1986, p. 25).

Inclusion of children from diverse backgrounds (i.e., children with disabilities and children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds) in the mainstream regular education is a global trend in recent days to ensure rights to education for all (UNESCO, 2009). Inclusive Education (IE) is considered as an educational reform that aims to wipe out barriers in the education system by bringing all children into regular education, irrespective of their diversity and backgrounds (UNESCO, 1994). The move towards inclusion is focused on improving school systems for all, more than just including disadvantaged groups in the existing settings (Ainscow, 2005). A strong policy framework is necessary to ensure such school improvement for IE.

Like many other countries (i.e. USA, UK, Australia, India, South Africa), Bangladesh has gone through a number of policy reforms to promote IE. Bangladesh made primary education compulsory for all children by legislating the Compulsory Primary Education Act 1990 (Ministry of Primary and Mass Education [MOPME], 1990). Moreover, Bangladesh enacted the Bangladesh Persons with Disabilities Welfare Act (Ministry of Social Welfare [MSW], 2001) in 2001. The act emphasised the need to educate children with disabilities either in mainstream or special schools. More recently, The Education Policy 2010 recognized IE as a viable strategy to ensure education for all citizens (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2010). More recently, The Education Policy 2010 recognized IE as a viable strategy to ensure education for all citizens (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2010). The overall goals and objectives (Objective Number 10) section of the Pre-primary and Primary Education Section of the National Education Policy 2010 further emphasised, "Equal opportunities have to be ensured for all kinds of disabled and underprivileged children" (MOE, 2010, p. 12).

In order to ensure that these policy and legislative mandates are translated into improved teaching practices at the classroom level, reform in teacher education programs as well as in teaching-learning practices are necessary (Forlin, 2008; 2010). Studies have shown that teachers, who go through a teacher education program that promotes values of IE, are willing to include students from diverse backgrounds and are more likely to create successful inclusive classrooms (Martinez, 2003; Romi & Leyser, 2006). Despite having a broader understanding of IE, it is reported that some teachers feel uncomfortable in including children with special needs in their programs (Forlin, Loreman, Sharma, & Earle, 2009; Kim, 2011; Shade & Stewart , 2001). Some authors have suggested that the time of pre-service teacher preparation could be the best time to address educators concerns' and make them feel more positive towards IE (Bechham & Rouse, 2011; Shade & Stewart, 2001).

Several studies have found that participation in inclusive or special education courses (Lancaster & Bain 2007, 2010; Oh, Rizzo, So, Chung, Park & Lei, 2010; Sari, Celikoz & Se9er, 2008; Woodcock, 2008) or embedding evidence-based practice in the pre-service teacher education program (Bain, Lancaster, Zundans & Parkes, 2009) have a positive impact on pre-service teachers' knowledge and skill development to teach in inclusive classrooms as well as developing high teacher -efficacy and positive attitudes towards inclusive education. Studies (Ben-Yehuda, Leyser & Last, 2010; Forlin, Cedillo and Romero-Contreras, 2010; Romi & Leyser 2006; Sharma, Moore, & Sonawane, 2009) have shown that pre-service teachers who participate in training programs about teaching in inclusive classrooms express their readiness by showing high degree of teaching-efficacy and welcoming attitudes towards students with diverse learning needs.

Self-efficacy, perceived teaching-efficacy of pre-service teachers and inclusive education Self-efficacy is defined as a person's belief in his or her own competence to execute required behavior successfully to get expected results (Bandura, 1997). …

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