Assessment of the Illustrated Language Activities of the Portage Guide to Early Education

The study was focused on the development and assessment of the illustrated language activities of the 1996 Edition of the Portage Guide to Early Education. It determined the extent of appropriateness, applicability, time efficiency and aesthetics of the illustrated language activities to be used as instructional material not only by teachers, but parents and caregivers as well. The eclectic research design was applied in this study using qualitative and quantitative methods. To determine the applicability and time efficiency of the study, a try out was done. Since the eclectic research design was used, it made use of a researcher-made survey questionnaire and focus group discussion. Analysis of the data was done through weighted mean and ANOVA. The respondents of the study were representatives of Special Education (SPED) teachers, caregivers and parents of a special-needs child, particularly with difficulties in learning basic language skills. The results of the study show that a large number of respondents are SPED teachers and caregivers and are mostly college graduates. Many of them have earned units towards Master’s studies. Moreover, a majority of the respondents have not attended seminars or in-service training in early intervention for them to be more competent in the area of specialization. It is concluded that the illustrated language activities under review in this study are appropriate, applicable, time efficient and aesthetic for use as a tool in teaching. The recommendations are focused on the advocacy for SPED teachers, caregivers and parents of special-needs children to be more consistent in the implementation of the new instructional materials as an aid in an intervention program.

Factors that Contribute to the Improvement of the Sense of Self-Efficacy of Special Educators in Inclusive Settings in Greece

Teacher’s sense of self-efficacy can affect significantly both teacher’s and student’s performance. More specific, self-efficacy is associated with the learning outcomes as well as student’s motivation and self-efficacy. For example, teachers with high sense of self-efficacy are more open to innovations and invest more effort in teaching. In addition to this, effective inclusive education is associated with higher levels of teacher’s self-efficacy. Pre-service teachers with high levels of self-efficacy could handle student’s behavior better and more effectively assist students with special educational needs. Teacher preparation programs are also important, because teacher’s efficacy beliefs are shaped early in learning, as a result the quality of teacher’s education programs can affect the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service teachers. Usually, a number of pre-service teachers do not consider themselves well prepared to work with students with special educational needs and do not have the appropriate sense of self-efficacy. This study aims to investigate the factors that contribute to the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators by using an academic practicum training program. The sample of this study is 159 pre-service special educators, who also participated in the academic practicum training program. For the purpose of this study were used quantitative methods for data collection and analysis. Teacher’s self-efficacy was assessed by the teachers themselves with the completion of a questionnaire which was based on the scale of Teacher’s Sense of Efficacy Scale. Pre and post measurements of teacher’s self-efficacy were taken. The results of the survey are consistent with those of the international literature. The results indicate that a significant number of pre-service special educators do not hold the appropriate sense of self-efficacy regarding teaching students with special educational needs. Moreover, a quality academic training program constitutes a crucial factor for the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators, as additional for the provision of high quality inclusive education.

Effects of an Inclusive Educational Model for Students with High Intellectual Capacity and Special Educational Needs: A Case Study in Talentos UdeC, Chile

In Chile, since 2002, there are extracurricular enrichment programs complementary to regular education for students with high intellectual capacity. This paper describes a model for the educational inclusion of students, with special educational needs associated with high intellectual capacity, developed at the University of Concepción and its effects on its students, academics and undergraduate students that collaborate with the program. The Talentos UdeC Program was created in 2003 and is intended for 240 children and youth from 11 to 18 years old, from 15 communes of the Biobio region. The case Talentos UdeC is analyzed from a mixed qualitative study in which those participating in the educational model are considered. The sample was composed of 30 students, 30 academics, and 30 undergraduate students. In the case of students, pre and post program measurements were made to analyze their socio-emotional adaptation, academic motivation and socially responsible behavior. The mentioned variables are measured through questionnaires designed and validated by the University of Concepcion that included: The Socially Responsible Behavior Questionnaire (CCSR); the Academic Motivation Questionnaire (CMA) and the Socio-Emotional Adaptation Questionnaire (CASE). The information obtained by these questionnaires was analyzed through a quantitative analysis. Academics and undergraduate students were interviewed to learn their perception of the effects of the program on themselves, on students and on society. The information obtained is analyzed using qualitative analysis based on the identification of common themes and descriptors for the construction of conceptual categories of answers. Quantitative results show differences in the first three variables analyzed in the students, after their participation for two years in Talentos UdeC. Qualitative results demonstrate perception of effects in the vision of world, project of life and in other areas of the students’ development; perception of effects in a personal, professional and organizational plane by academics and a perception of effects in their personal-social development and training in generic competencies by undergraduates students.

Assisted Approach as a Tool for Increasing Attention When Using the iPad in a Special Elementary School: Action Research

Nowadays, mobile touch technologies, such as tablets, are an integral part of teaching and learning in many special elementary schools. Many special education teachers tend to choose an iPad tablet with iOS. The reason is simple; the iPad has a function for pupils with special educational needs. If we decide to use tablets in teaching, in general, first we should try to stimulate the cognitive abilities of the pupil at the highest level, while holding the pupil’s attention on the task, when working with the device. This paper will describe how student attention can be increased by eliminating the working environment of selected applications, while using iPads with pupils in a special elementary school. Assisted function approach is highly effective at eliminating unwanted touching by a pupil when working on the desktop iPad, thus actively increasing the pupil´s attention while working on specific educational applications. During the various stages of the action, the research was conducted via data collection and interpretation. After a phase of gaining results and ideas for practice and actions, we carried out the check measurement, this time using the tool-assisted approach. In both cases, the pupils worked in the Math Board application and the resulting differences were evident.

Perception of the Frequency and Importance of Peer Social Support by Students with Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Education

Inclusive education of students with special educational needs has been on the increase in the Slovak Republic, facing many challenges. Preparedness of teachers for inclusive education is one of the most frequent issues; teachers lack skills when it comes to the use of effective instruction depending on the individual needs of students, improvement of classroom management and social skills, and support of inclusion within the classroom. Social support is crucial for the school success of students within inclusive settings. The aim of the paper is to analyse perception of the frequency and importance of peer social support by students with special educational needs in inclusive education. The data collection tool used was the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS). The research sample consisted of 953 fourth grade students – 141 students with special educational needs educated in an inclusive setting and 812 students of the standard population. No significant differences were found between the students with special educational needs and the students without special educational needs in an inclusive setting when it comes to the perception of frequency and importance of social support of schoolmates and friends. However, the perception of frequency and importance of a friend’s social support was higher than the perception of frequency and importance of a classmate’s social support in both groups of students.