Theme 8 :
Continuous Professional Development
Training is one of the most important aspects of inclusive education. The success of inclusive education is mainly based on the teacher’s attitude towards the situation. The case study “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” (Schmidt, 1998), resulted in the fact that the teacher’s attitude and commitment was an essential factor in helping the children with special needs. Recent studies have shown that teachers do not feel prepared and that their negative attitude is contributing towards not being able to create an inclusive community. Most teachers are ending up seeing these children with disability as an added stress (Barnes & Gaines, 2015). A factor which would help enhance the teacher’s attitude is Continuous Professional Development (CPD). As mentioned within this document, training is essential for every teacher as it would empower teachers with knowledge, which should help them face challenging situations in the classroom, (The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, 2015). It is not enough to simply mention a number of methods or attend courses where the educators sit down and listen. Training needs to take place through several methods such as observations, discussions, mentoring and coaching. Unfortunately, during many sit down courses, teachers end up leaving the conference room stating phrases such as “Easier said than done”. Studies held by Avramidis et al (2000) have shown that professional training lead to an increased positive attitude towards inclusion of students with special needs. Through effective support, teachers can learn how to set-up the class in a more ‘friendly way’ which would support children of different needs and abilities.
What this document fails to recognise is the importance that training should start within the University couses which prepare teachers and LSEs. These courses should focus more on teaching them on how to handle children with disabilities in the classroom. The course which lead me to become a teacher also consisted of 15 credits related to inclusion (out of 240 credits).