Preparing teachers to instruct students with autism in inclusive settings: Australian pre-service teachers’ and recent graduates’ perspectives - an exploratory case study

Devi, Aruna (2019) Preparing teachers to instruct students with autism in inclusive settings: Australian pre-service teachers’ and recent graduates’ perspectives - an exploratory case study. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

This exploratory case study explores pre-service teachers’(PSTs’) and recent teacher graduates’ (RGs’) self-efficacy beliefs and preparedness in teaching students with ASD in inclusive classrooms at an Australian regional university. The conceptual foundations were based on the concept of self-efficacy. Bandura (1977) defines self-efficacy as an individual’s belief in their capabilities to complete a task despite adverse circumstances. Using a social constructivist framework, participants’ perspectives to teach students with ASD were explored using the following research questions:

(1) What were the pre-service teachers’ and the recent teacher graduates’ views about the inclusion of students with ASD within inclusive classrooms?
(2) What were the pre-service teachers’ and the recent teacher graduates’ self-efficacy beliefs and preparedness in educating students with ASD, and what were the factors leading to their self-efficacy and preparedness within inclusive classrooms?
(3) What were the participating pre-service teachers’ and recent teacher graduates’ teacher education experiences, and what are the ways to improve their skills and knowledge in teaching students with ASD within inclusive classrooms?

Purposive sampling was used to recruit pre-service teachers (PSTs) (n=8) and recent teacher graduates (RGs) (n=8) to provide insights into their perceptions of teaching students with ASD. Participants’ interviews were audio recorded and transcribed, and the resulting data were analysed using NVivo 12 software, QSR International. Deductive and inductive analysis revealed that although participants understood inclusion and their impacts on students’ success, they appeared to have limited ASD-specific teaching strategies and use of evidence-based practices. Consequently, the study ascertained that teacher participants were not able to offer optimal support to students when placed within inclusive classrooms — barriers of inclusion included challenging behaviours, lack of funding, large class sizes, and time constraints. The critical insights drawn from data were teacher stress and job satisfaction leading to unsuccessful inclusion.

This study reveals that participants’ self-efficacy beliefs and preparedness improved through extensive classroom experience, years of teaching and exposure to individuals with ASD. The findings are likely to make contributions towards theoretical, methodological, educational policy, and practice knowledge. It adds value to Bandura’s self-efficacy model. Bandura’s focus on self-efficacy was primarily individual; however, this study demonstrates a different form of self-efficacy, centered on ‘collective self-efficacy’ where teacher participants shared views in teaching students with ASD in inclusive classrooms is captured. Moreover, teachers’ collective self-efficacy can be characterised by their supportive administrations, colleagues, parents, experts (e.g., psychologists), and educational authorities and policy-makers.

This study contributes to methodological knowledge considering that no previous study identified in Australia had used a qualitative exploratory case study approach of collecting data on teachers’ perceptions on self-efficacy and preparedness in teaching students with ASD. Accordingly, it is expected to generate insights and avenues for research on the phenomenon of teaching students with ASD. This will contribute to educational policy and practice such as improving current educational policy, planning, and new reform initiatives. Additionally, the findings act as a significant step for educational stakeholders to modify curriculum regularly, and to promote more effective professional development initiatives to prepare efficacious teachers who deal with such students.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Education thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Supervisors: Ganguly, Rahul; Danaher, Patrick
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2020 05:59
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 01:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: teacher education; professional development of educators; special education; specialist studies in education; autism; teacher self-efficacy
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/64jd-sq48
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38532

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