The effectiveness of a special school experience for improving preservice teachers’ efficacy to teach children with special educational needs and disabilities

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Coates, Janine
Harris, Jo
Waring, Mike
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2020
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Abstract

Increasingly, preservice teachers are required to demonstrate their ability to effectively cater for the needs of a diverse range of learners, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Higher education institutions (HEI) delivering teacher education programmes are responsible for promoting the development of inclusive practices. This multi‐method study assessed the effectiveness of a special school experience for preservice teachers at one HEI in England. A total population sample of 48 preservice teachers completed self‐efficacy questionnaires at three time points during their training; and 13 took part in qualitative semi‐structured interviews towards the end of the study. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) findings from the questionnaire data showed that the experience had a significant positive impact on preservice teachers’ self‐efficacy, improving knowledge, understanding and confidence to teach inclusively. A thematic analysis of the qualitative findings revealed that the experience challenged preservice teacher expectations about learners with SEND, developing understanding about learner needs and effective differentiation. This article concludes with recommendations for effective inclusion training for preservice teachers.

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British Educational Research Journal
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© 2020 British Educational Research Association. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: The effectiveness of a special school experience for improving preservice teachers’ efficacy to teach children with special educational needs and disabilities, British Educational Research Journal, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/berj.3605. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828039.html)
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Education
Specialist studies in education
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Coates, J; Harris, J; Waring, M, The effectiveness of a special school experience for improving preservice teachers’ efficacy to teach children with special educational needs and disabilities, British Educational Research Journal, 2020
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