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An Exploratory study of the behaviors and attitudes of regular class teachers toward special needs pupils integrated in their classes Perner, Darlene Elizabeth


Integrated special needs pupils may adjust better in the regular class if teachers' interactive behaviors are positive and supportive with these children and if their attitudes are favorable toward integration. The purpose of this investigation was to compare regular class teachers' interactions with special and nonspecial needs pupils and to determine whether teachers' attitudes were related to their interactive behaviors. Sixteen special and 16 nonspecial needs pupils matched for gender and in the same class, and their regular class teachers (n=16) were observed on three consecutive days. The observation of teacher-student interactions were made using a modified version of the Brophy-Good Teacher-Child Dyadic System (1969). Teacher attitudes toward special needs children were assessed using a scale developed and pilot-tested for this investigation. The analysis of the teacher attitude scores indicated that the teachers expressed predominantly favorable attitudes toward special needs children. Consequently, it was not possible to form two distinct teacher attitude groups, namely, more and less favorably disposed teachers, for statistical analysis purposes. Instead, a qualitative analysis was conducted and for some interaction variables, teacher feedback responses appeared to relate to teachers' attitudes. The results of the dependent t-test analyses on the 44 interaction variables revealed eight differentiated teacher interactions between the special and nonspecial needs pupils. The teachers gave a higher percentage of praise and verbal feedback during group instruction and positive feedback and nurture responses during seat work activities to the special needs pupils than to the nonspecial needs pupils. Also, the teachers provided more work-related contacts and direct questions to the special needs pupils than to the nonspecial needs pupils. The nonspecial needs pupils, however, received a greater percentage of direct questions and opportunities to respond than the special needs pupils. The nondifferentiated findings indicated that for 36 variables, the teachers interacted similarly with the special and nonspecial needs pupils. The teachers gave a similar percentage of most feedback responses and types of contacts to both groups of pupils.

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