PhD ceremony: Ms. A.A. de Boer, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Inclusion: a question of attitudes? A study on those directly involved in the primary education of students with special educational needs and their social participation
Promotor(s): prof. S.J. Pijl, prof. A.E.M.G. Minnaert
Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences
The Netherlands has a long educational history in which students with special educational needs (SEN) were mainly attending special schools and therefore segregated from regular education. The implementation of newly developed educational legislation resulted in an increase of students with SEN attending regular education. The term ‘inclusive education’ is often used when describing this educational change. An important philosophy of inclusive education is the belief that students with SEN have increased opportunities for social contacts with peers in regular education. Although the majority of the students with SEN function socially well, this is not the case for all students. Those students experience difficulties in their acceptance by peers and to obtain friendships. It is not clear what causes those difficulties, but researchers often point at the importance of attitudes of directly involved like teachers, parents and peers.
The aim of this study is to gain more understanding about the attitudes of directly involved towards students with SEN in regular education and factors relating to their acceptance. The results show that teachers, parents and peers hold neutral attitudes. Parents and peers are more restraint when it concerns personal contact with a student with a behavior problem. Several personal, peer and classroom factors were found to relate to the acceptance of students with SEN, like social problems in class, attitudes of peers and the presence of a teacher assistant. The outcomes of this study can be used in developing interventions to improve the acceptance of students with SEN in regular primary education.
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