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Inclusion in Australia: What teachers say they need and what school psychologists can offer

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JournalSchool Psychology International
DatePublished - May 2007
Issue number2
Volume28
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)131-147
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article examines the inclusion-related beliefs and perceived needs of primary teachers in Australia, and proposes ways that school psychologists can help meet these needs. Forced-choice and open-ended survey questions provided quantitative and qualitative data from 162 primary school teachers who were in the midst of implementing an inclusive education program in a large urban/suburban education district in Western Australia. Survey questions focused on beliefs about inclusion, confidence about implementing inclusive practices and attitudes about current and necessary support structures. The majority of teachers perceive benefits (85 percent) as well as drawbacks (95 percent) to teaching in inclusive classrooms. Only 10 percent of teachers noted school psychologists as part of structures that successfully support inclusive practices and only 4 percent of teachers requested additional school psychology time as a support structure needed to boost confidence to teach more inclusively. Qualitative data showed that teachers want more training in specific disabilities as well as additional aide time. We conclude that school psychologists need to be more proactive and involved in providing training, disseminating research, developing behaviour and learning plans and advocating for teachers.

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