Background to the study
In recent years, the debate about inclusive education has moved from high-income countries like the United States and Canada to a low-income country like Nigeria, where an official policy of educating children and youth with disabilities alongside their peers without disabilities in ordinary schools has been adopted (National Policy on Education, 2008). There is a growing recognition that including students with disabilities in general education can provide them with the opportunity to learn in natural, stimulating settings, which may also lead to increased acceptance and appreciation of differences. Thus, the debate continues among educators, local, state and federal policy makers, parents, and even people with disabilities in Nigeria regarding the efficacy of inclusion and the inevitable restructuring of general education that will need to occur to make learning meaningful in an inclusive environment. The perception has been that the debate has resulted in pressure greater than ever before for most students with disabilities to access the general curriculum and attain the same standards as typical students.
Supporters of inclusive education use the term to refer to the commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he/she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the ancillary services to the child, and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students). This is a salient aspect of inclusion, and requires a commitment to move essential resources to the child with a disability rather than placing the child in an isolated setting where services are located (Smith, 2007). There are obvious benefits to the inclusive education paradigm, i.e. children are more likely to learn social skills in an environment that approximates to normal conditions of growth and development. Children during their formative years develop language more effectively if they are with children who speak normally and appropriately (Mitchell & Brown, 2009). Often, it is gratifying that where school and community environments can be made physically and programmatically accessible, children and youth with physical disabilities can function more effectively than would otherwise be the case. It is also apparent that such modifications to the environment often enable others who do not have disabilities to access their environment even more readily (Ferguson, 2010). In recent years, the principle of universal design (Center for Universal Design, 2013; Waksler, 2009), has evolved to describe physical, curricular and pedagogical changes that must be put in place to benefit people of all learning styles without adaptation or retrofitting. Failing to accommodate the environmental and accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in the society will inevitably inhibit their participation in educational, social, recreational and economic activities (Harkness & Groom, 2011; Steinfeld, Duncan, & Cardell, 2010). Therefore, architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers should use their best judgment in early programming and design decisions. However, for inclusion to achieve its objectives, education practices must be child-centered (UNESCO, 1994). This means that teachers must find out where each of their students are academically, socially, and culturally to determine how best to facilitate learning (Gildner, 2001). A logical consequence of this realization is that these teachers will need to acquire skills in curriculum-based assessment, team teaching, mastery learning, assessing learning styles, cooperative learning strategies, facilitating peer tutoring, or social skills training. Given that children have varied learning styles or multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2010), both general and special education teachers must plan and coordinate classroom instruction to capitalize on each child’s needs, interests and aptitudes.
For the child with a disability to benefit optimally from inclusion, it is imperative for general education teachers to be able to teach a wider array of children, including those with varying disabilities, and to collaborate and plan effectively with special educators. It is against this background that the study investigates the instructional needs of teachers for inclusive classroom in primary schools in Awka.
Statement of the problem
Inclusion is a recent educational reform introduced in the educational system. Teachers already has been trained before this innovation. They have job development and deal with normal children. With the introduction of inclusive education, many challenges are expected to take place in teachers method of teaching and the content instructional material are affected by this change. The teachers now have new job development because of the diversity in the classroom. Based on the above discussion, the researcher is motivated to investigate the instructional needs of teachers for inclusive classroom in primary schools in Awka.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the instructional needs of teachers for inclusive classroom in primary schools in Awka. Specific purposes is to ascertain
- The instructional inclusive materials needs required by teachers for inclusive classroom.
- Weather the teacher are trained to use these instructional materials.
- If these instructional materials are adequate.
- The problems they encounter while using these instructional materials.
Significance of the Study
The study is of benefit to teachers, disabled pupils, and educational policy makers, parents of disable students and to fellow researchers.
For teachers, the study helps them to see the need of acquiring the basic training needed for effective inclusive instructional material in inclusive classroom. The study also benefits teacher in that it enables them adopt the best method of teaching in an inclusive classroom. For disabled pupils the, study helped them see that the society in general have high value for them and for such create a leveled ground for them and those who are not deformed. It also enabled disabled pupils to strive hard to be educated.
It enables Educational policy makers sees the need to make policies that will accommodate the disabled ones in Nigeria education system.
To parent of disabled pupils, the study enabled then see that the society do not segregate against their ward inability due to the deformed state of the child. It also encourages parent to sponsor to any level of education their disabled children.
For follower researchers, the study will serve as source of information and reference material for those who want to research on related subject.
Scope of the Study
The scope of the study covers primary school teachers in Anambra state. In terms of geographical location to be covered, the study will only cover primary schools in Awka south and North Local government area of Anambra state.
The study will be guided by the following research questions:
- What are the instructional inclusive materials required by teachers for inclusive classroom?
- Are teacher trained to use these instructional materials?
- Are t these instructional materials adequate?
- What are the problems encountered while using these instructional materials.
The following null hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance:
- There is no significant difference in rating of instructional inclusive materials required by teachers for inclusive classroom
- There is no significant training teacher in using these instructional materials.
- There is no significant adequacy of these instructional materials.
- There is no significant problems encountered while using these instructional materials.
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