Motivational and Cognitive Aspects of Formation of Teachers’ Professional Readiness for Professional Activities in Inclusive Education

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Abstract

The relevance of the study is the need to improve the quality of formation of teaching inclusive education. The purpose of the study was to identify an assessment of the motivational-cognitive aspect of the readiness of future teachers to work in inclusive environment comparing with their level of readiness. The materials of empirical research are obtained from a sample of 5th year students of “Pedagogical Education” at the Southern Federal University (N=104) and teachers in the city of Rostov-on-Don and the Rostov region (N=12739). The leading research method is analysis of the results of a survey of university students and schoolteachers. The results of the study showed that the average level of readiness for inclusive education prevails among respondents. The results of the study make it possible to say that the leading criterion for teachers’ readiness is motivational and cognitive, with skillful knowledge of humanitarian and assistive technologies for working with persons with disabilities. The materials of the article are of practical value for the design of teacher training programs in higher and additional professional education

General Information

Keywords: inclusive education; readiness of students and teachers; motivational-cognitive criterion; professional training

Journal rubric: Educational Psychology

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/pse.2023280609

Received: 05.10.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Guterman L.A., Goryunova L.V. Motivational and Cognitive Aspects of Formation of Teachers’ Professional Readiness for Professional Activities in Inclusive Education. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, 2023. Vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 93 – 102. DOI: 10.17759/pse.2023280609.

Full text

Introduction

The development of inclusive education naturally involves an increase in the requirements for teachers’ activities and their functional responsibilities, changes in professionally significant and personal characteristics. In foreign and domestic scientific literature, great attention is paid to various models of improving the readiness level of future and working teachers to carry out their professional activities in inclusive education.

Modern scientists have conducted a number of studies in which the readiness of teaching staff to work in inclusion is considered through the formation of inclusive competency. The researchers reveal the essence of the step-by-step process of developing teachers' readiness to work in inclusive education based on the provisions of the competency building approach (I.V. Wozniak, O.S. Ryzhova, I.N. Khafizullina, V.V. Khitryuk), determine the features of training specialists for professional activity in an inclusive educational organization (L.V. Goryunova, L.A. Guterman, O.S. Kuzmina, V.V. Rubtsov, S.A. Cherkasova, Yu.V. Shumilovskaya), prove the influence of the teachers’ readiness degree to work in inclusive education on the success of the education of children with disabilities and their socialization (S.V. Alyokhina, O.A. Denisova, O.L. Lekhanova). In this regard, the problem of the readiness of modern teaching staff to carry out professional activities in inclusive education is urgent.

T.A. Chelnokova, N.V. Klimko, N.A. Paranina, when investigating the formation of inclusive practices in Russian and foreign schools in the late twentieth century and identified a number of aspects of the problem of teachers' readiness: competency readiness, pedagogical reflection skills [10]. According to C. Forlin, D. Chambers, the role of the teacher is a critical determinant of the success or the lack of practice in inclusive education. The authors say that an infusion approach is being actively introduced in European education, describing changes in all areas of the curriculum for students with special educational needs [17]. Foreign researchers have developed a number of innovative models of teacher training in universities at the pre-inclusive stage of education: a practice-oriented model that includes practical experience in inclusive classes, a model with course research inclusion on the problems of inclusive education, an introduction of the disciplines that allow one to be acquainted with the full range of methods and technologies of teaching people with special educational needs, work with the parents of children with disabilities as a component of practical training, etc.

E.H. Mattson, A.M. Hansen, in their works, provide evidence of mentoring effectiveness to increase teachers’ readiness to work in inclusive education. The mentor's activity is based on the pedagogical supervision of teachers in the workplace. Educational organizations that have implemented the mentoring institute have implemented a more flexible transition towards inclusive learning [20]. J. Lancaster and A. Bain also believe that the training program for teachers should be based on mentoring future teachers during practical training (working with students from risk groups, students with special educational needs) [19]. The authors suggest that future teachers, during the development of the training program, use opportunities to interact with people with disabilities. The study showed that teachers should take inclusive education courses before joining inclusive educational organizations. Mastering the course program, as the scientists have proved, forms a positive attitude towards inclusion, reduces teachers' anxiety, changes their work perception of people with disabilities.

According to A. de Boer, S.J. Pijl, A. Minnaert, teachers are one of the significant components of effective inclusive education. The authors investigate the influence of teachers' attitude towards inclusion on successful interaction with people with impairments, which allowed them to identify factors that influence the formation of teachers' attitudes towards inclusion: additional education, practical experience of interaction [15]. J.-R. Kim notes that the development of the inclusive education system has had a significant impact on educational programs for training teachers, which are a “compilation” of standard and special education teacher training programs, so it is the combined type of programs that allows one to form willingness to implement inclusion in the educational sphere [18]. M. J. Zalizan also believes that, when developing training programs, teachers should rely on an interdisciplinary approach. [22]. Research by Y. Diker, Ü. Tosun emphasizes the importance of scientific and methodological centers for teacher training to develop and use adapted materials in inclusive schools [16]. T. Brandon, J. Charlton studied the experience of Centers for Excellence in Teacher Training, which allow teachers to gain practical experience with people with impairments. The evaluation of the work of such centers noted an increase in teachers’ readiness for inclusion due to the ability to carry out a constant exchange of experience with colleagues and receive scientific and pedagogical guidance from specialists [13]. K. Scorgie, in his works, paid attention to the potential of virtual training programs for inclusive teachers by means of the "Family Interaction Portfolio", which is an interactive case - a complex of real situations and problems faced by "real" parents. During the development of the portfolio, scientists recorded an increase in students' willingness to assist parents with the education of their children [21].

Studies by B. Cagrana, M. Schmidt have shown that the success of the development of inclusion in education is directly dependent on the positive attitude of teaching staff towards it. However, scientists have recorded that teachers demonstrate a different degree of acceptance of students depending on the characteristics of their nosological groups. The study also showed that another significant condition for teachers' readiness to implement inclusive education is their professional competence [14].

According to the results of our scientific research of analyses on the problem of teachers' readiness to work in inclusive education, we note that both the motivation to work with students with disabilities, and the academic and methodological readiness of teachers are important components of readiness. Consequently, the process of developing the readiness of teaching staff for professional activity in inclusive education should be implemented in a modern university mainly in the motivational and cognitive aspect. Accordingly, readiness is assessed according to two key criteria: motivational and value (the philosophical and ideological understanding of inclusive education, the assessment of the impact of values and trends in its development on the learning process of children, the motivation to perform certain actions and achieve success in organizing the joint education of children, the desire to transform their own experience and use the potential of interaction with colleagues) and cognitive (a system of knowledge and ideas about the students’ characteristics of various nosology, the main approaches to the management of the educational process in inclusive education, specific technologies, methods, forms and means of teaching children with special needs and impairments).

Sample Features, Study Means and Stages 

The empirical study was conducted on the base of the Southern Federal University (SFU). To assess the motivational and cognitive aspect of students' and teachers' readiness for professional activity in inclusive education, we conducted a questionnaire survey. The study involved: 104 undergraduate extramural students, obtaining a degree in "Pedagogical Education" (20 students of the Academy of Biology and Biotechnology named after D. I. Ivanovsky, 20 students of the Institute of Mathematics, Mechanics and Computer Science named after I.I. Vorovich, 20 students of the Institute of Philology, Journalism and Intercultural Communication, 44 students of the Academy of Psychology and Pedagogy); 12.739 teachers of Rostov-on-Don and the Rostov region took part in the survey.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the motivational and cognitive aspects of developing future teachers’ readiness for professional activity in inclusive education.

At the first stage of the study, empirical data were collected.

As a diagnostic test instrument, a questionnaire was used, developed by specialists of the Resource Educational and Methodological Center for the training of disabled people and persons with disabilities of the Southern Federal University, adapted for the purposes of the study.

At the second stage of the study, the data obtained was processed and summarized.

The respondents were asked 24 questions, the content of the questionnaire reflected the motivational andvalue and cognitive criteria of readiness at five levels.

Analysis and Discussion of the Study Results

The statistical processing of the results revealed a number of significant differences in the respondents' readiness to work in inclusive education. The calculation of the Fisher criterion revealed that the number of students (91.1%) who are familiar with or have an idea about inclusive education is statistically higher (φ=4,060, p=0.01), compared with teachers (80.1%). At the same time, it should be noted that 53.8% of teachers and only 17.8% of part-time students have completed advanced training courses, in which respondents are acquainted with the features of inclusive education. And 75.6% of students and 47.6% of teachers are interested in further professional development on this issue. Moreover, a statistically larger number of students (40.0%) than teachers (14.0%) are very interested in professional development, while 42.8% of teachers and only 22.2% of students agree to take such courses only if it is necessary. Consequently, it can be said that students are more focused on work with children with disabilities in inclusive education, while teachers do not consider professionally important the knowledge and skills that provide them with this work necessary until an inclusive class is formed in an educational institution, which is confirmed by the results of statistical data processing (φ=4,986, p=0.01 and φ=5,464, p=0.01, respectively).

When studying the features of students' and teachers' ideas about the learning difficulties of disabled people of different nosological groups, statistically significant differences were also revealed. Thus, among teachers, the majority (52.6%) believe that visual impairment makes it the most difficult to receive general education, while a large portion of students (31.1%), in comparison with teachers, believe that hearing impairment causes great difficulties (φ=2.291, p=0.01 and φ=1.682, p=0.05, respectively).

It is likely that the lack of advanced training in the field of inclusive education among teachers and students affected their opinions on the learning process of children with disabilities. Thus, only 6.7% of students and 7.9% of teachers supported the education of children with disabilities in secondary schools. 22.0% of students and 18.3% of teachers would rather support this form of education. 13.3% of students and 19.8% of teachers offer home schooling for children with disabilities, and 37.8% of students and 23.3% of teachers offer to study at a special school. Consequently, an overwhelming number of both students and teachers believe that children with disabilities should be segregated, isolated, and that it is better for them to study in special educational institutions, but statistically more teachers orient children with disabilities towards home schooling (φ=2.037, p=0.05), and students towards study in specialized educational institutions (φ=3.144, p=0.01).

The confidence of most teachers and students to teach children with disabilities in inclusive conditions contradicts their opinion about the change in the effectiveness and quality of the educational process, in case a child with a disability appears in the classroom. Statistically, a larger number of teachers (43.5%) assume that a student with disabilities will not affect the educational process in any way, but the vast majority of students insist on the negative influence of such students (φ=3.332, p=0.01 and φ=3.512, p=0.05, respectively). At the same time, about a fifth of both teachers and students (23.5% and 20.0%, respectively) note the possibility of a positive impact of a child with on learning quality.

The opinions of students and teachers practically coincide about working in a classroom where there is a child with disabilities. 31.0% of teachers (35.6% of students) believe that it is mentally challenging; 55.5% of teachers (53.3% of students) believe that it is difficult, but not so much that it becomes an insurmountable obstacle; 13.3% of teachers (11.0% of students) believe that there are no difficulties, which is confirmed by the results of statistical data processing.

The opinions of the respondents of both groups are identical on the question of whether there will be serious methodological difficulties in teaching children with disabilities: 29.0% of teachers and 31.1% of students agree with the statement; according to 60.7% of teachers and 62.2% of students there are difficulties, but they are quite surmountable. 10.2% of teachers and 6.7% of students believe there will be no noticeable difficulties. However, mathematical data processing shows that statistically more teachers, in comparison with students, believe that there are absolutely no difficulties (φ=2,859, p=0.01), and if they arise, they are quite large (φ=1,791, p=0.05), while statistically, a larger number of students, in comparison with teachers, indicate that if any difficulties arise in the learning process with children with disabilities, then it is quite easy to overcome them (φ=1,741, p=0.05).

Data processing resulted in the following: it was revealed that among students (6.7%), a statistically larger number of respondents are confident that they are very familiar with the facilities to teach people with disabilities, compared with teachers (3.2%) (φ=2.383, p=0.01), while a larger number of teachers (44.9%), in comparison with students (35.6%), believe that they are familiar with the tools and technologies only in general terms (φ=2,828, p= 0.01).

We observe the same confidence in knowledge among students in the issue of assistive technologies. Statistically, the number of students familiar with the Braille system is higher - 1.7% of teachers and 4.4% of students, and familiar with this system in general - 10.3% of teachers and 20.0% of students (φ=2,257, p=0.05 and φ=2,485, p=0.01, respectively). At the same time, a greater number of teachers (41.6%), compared with students (31.1%), have heard about the Braille system, but are not familiar with it (φ=3.085, p=0.01).

A similar pattern was revealed in the question of knowledge about dactylology. Only 2.4% of teachers are familiar with sign language compared to 8.9% of students (φ=3.542, p=0.01). The number of students familiar with this system in general is also statistically greater than teachers – 17.8% and 11.7%, respectively (φ=1.785, p=0.05). Among teachers, there are more who have either heard but are not familiar with sign language (41.6% of teachers and 31.1% of students, respectively), or do not know about it at all (19.6% of teachers and 11.1% of students, respectively), which is confirmed by the results of statistical data processing (φ=2.971, p=0.01 and φ=1.831, p=0.05, respectively).

Only 7.7% of teachers (13.3% of students) have clear ideas about the specifics of teaching  children with various nosology; in general, 77% of teachers (73% of students); 15% of teachers (13.3% of students) do not have any at all. Statistically significant differences were found only in the number of students and teachers who are well aware of the teaching specifics of children with musculoskeletal disorders (φ=1.831, p=0.05). Therefore, we note that among both teachers and students, most respondents are not familiar with the various types of the lesions, with typical disorders related to various types of lesions.

To the question on what conditions they are ready to work with, the respondents answered: on regular terms, 13.2% of teachers (22% of students); 13.8% of teachers (6.7% of students) agreed on extra payment; 34% of teachers (55.6%) agreed on extra pay and tutor support, under no circumstances – 7.5% of teachers (4.4% of students). 31.4% of teachers (11% of students) found this question difficult to answer. Statistical data processing revealed that a larger number of students, in comparison with teachers, are ready to work with children with disabilities under regular conditions or with a tutor and extra payment (φ=2.049, p=0.05 and φ=3.069, p=0.01, respectively). A larger number of teachers, in comparison with students, agree to work with children with disabilities only for extra pay or could not give an unambiguous answer to this question (φ= 2,152, p= 0.05 and φ=4,651, p= 0.01, respectively).

Despite the fact that a small part of teachers, in their opinion, know about the specifics of inclusive education, and about the features of children with disabilities and their education, they are able to develop an adapted educational program for different categories of children with disabilities - 10.1%, and for one category – 41.4%. Among students, these indicators are lower and the amount is 6.7% and 26.7%, respectively. The vast majority of students do not know how to develop adaptive educational programs – 57.7%. However, the statistical analysis revealed significant differences in only two categories: they are able to develop an adaptive educational program for one category of persons (φ=3,380, p = 0.01) and are not able to (φ=3,160, p= 0.01). Consequently, the number of teachers who will be able to develop an educational program for one category of disabled children is statistically higher than among the vast majority of students, who do not know how to perform this type of work.

At the same time, 8.9% of students and 7.3% of teachers believe that they are able to develop adapted teaching materials for different categories. Another 28.9% of students and 37.4% of teachers indicate their skills in the development of teaching materials for one category of persons with disabilities. And they indicated that 48.9% of students and 40.3% of teachers do not know how to do it. However, statistical analysis revealed significant differences only in the number of students and teachers who indicated that they were able to develop adapted teaching materials for one category of disabled children (φ=2.078, p=0.05).

53.3% of students (21.8% of teachers) are well acquainted with the assessment requirements of people with disabilities; in general, 22.3% of students (59.1% of teachers); 24.5% of students (19.1% of teachers) are not familiar. However, statistical analysis shows that approximately the same number of students and teachers are familiar with the assessment requirements for children with disabilities, while a statistically larger number of students do not know these requirements (φ=5,939, p=0.01), and a statistically larger number of teachers are familiar with the requirements only in general terms (φ=7.875, p=0.01).

Despite the active awareness-raising work on the essence of inclusive education, 40.0% of students and only 12.9% of teachers do not feel concern about the deterioration of educational results in unimpaired children in an inclusive class. 37.8% of students and 28.3% of teachers and 22.2% of students and 58.9% of teachers have a significant concern about the results of their children's education in an inclusive classroom. Thus, the statistical majority of teachers have little concern about the deterioration of educational results of unimpaired children in an inclusive classroom (φ=5,448, p=0.01), and students are significantly more likely to either be more anxious about the results of unimpaired children (φ=2,530, p=0.01), or do not worry at all (φ=3,432, p=0.01)

The overwhelming majority of both students (68.9%) and teachers (51.95%) agree that the strategy and tactics of conducting the academic discipline will change significantly if there are children with disabilities in the classroom. However, a larger number of students (20.0%), in comparison with teachers (3.7%), are confident that nothing will change (φ=6,221, p=0.01), while among teachers there are more respondents (44.3%), in comparison with students (11.1%), who believe that the method of teaching academic disciplines will undergo minor changes (φ= 7,721, p = 0.01).

Thus, summarizing the results of statistical analysis using the Fisher criterion, it was proved that, statistically, more teachers of secondary schools, in comparison with students, in their opinion, are not familiar with inclusive education and are not interested in professional development, unless the situation requires it. Teachers are more familiar than students with the nosological groups of disabled people and their typical disorder characteristics, believing that a child with disabilities in the classroom will not affect the effectiveness of the educational process in any way, and, in some cases, may even increase it. But at the same time, they are sure that inclusive education, in general, and the teaching of people with disabilities, in particular, causes some methodological difficulties.

According to the statistical analysis of the obtained data, a greater number of teachers believe that they are not familiar with the technical means of teaching children with disabilities, with the Braille system and sign language, but they are able to develop both adaptive educational programs and adaptive teaching materials. At the same time, according to teachers, the strategy and tactics of teaching academic disciplines, as well as the quality of teaching unimpaired children, in the process of inclusive education will remain unchanged. It was proved that statistically more teachers of secondary schools are ready to work with children with disabilities, in comparison with students, if tutor guidance and extra pay are provided.

Conclusion

The study of the problem of inclusive education development is of particular importance and it is determined by the need to develop teachers’ readiness to carry out their activities. Taking into account the motivational and cognitive component of readiness building has a practical dependence, which is associated with the development of teacher training programs.

The data of the conducted research can form the basis for the development of training programs for future teachers, refresher courses and advanced professional training of working teaching staff in two directions: increasing motivation to work with students with special needs and disabilities; increasing academic and methodological readiness. Teacher training and additional vocational educational programs should undergo a number of changes in their content and the management component. The described empirical data indicates the difficulties of designing training programs for inclusive education, which is due to the diversity of the subject space of the teacher's professional activity, as well as the need to master a wide range of subject training in relation to various categories of children.

The analysis of the survey results showed that students and teachers have approximately the same levels of readiness for professional activity in inclusive education: 7% of students and 6% of teachers demonstrated a high level; 22% of students and 20% of teachers showed an above average level; 34% of students and 40% of teachers showed an average level; 30% of students and 25% of teachers had a low level; 7% of students and 9% of teachers had a very low level. Consequently, students and working teachers mainly have an average level of readiness for professional activity in inclusive education in the motivational and cognitive aspect. These results are related to the fact that respondents, while demonstrating interest in the problems of teaching children in inclusive educational institutions, have a low willingness to work independently in these conditions. Thus, the results of the experiment indicate the need to reconsider training programs especially for future teachers at the academic and practical levels.

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Information About the Authors

Larisa A. Guterman, PhD in Biology, Director of the Resource Training and Methodological Center, Southern Federal University, Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6294-4910, e-mail: laguterman@sfedu.ru

Lilia V. Goryunova, PhD in Pedagogics, Professor, Head of the Department of Inclusive Education and Social Pedagogical Rehabilitation of the Academy of Psychology and Pedagogy, Southern Federal University, Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1685-5404, e-mail: lvgoryunova@sfedu.ru

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