The study examined regular education teachers' readiness for inclusive education in Nigeria's Ogoja Local Government Area of the Cross River state. The study employed a descriptive survey design. One hundred and twenty regular education teachers from public basic schools were included in the study through census technique. The data was collected using a questionnaire, and the Cronbach's coefficient alpha for the data was 0.79. The data was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, means, rankings, and standard deviations. Regular education teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area were found to be ready for inclusive education. Teachers modified instructional practices in inclusive classrooms to accommodate the requirements of special education learners by pre-teaching difficult concepts prior to the start of classes and offering written as well as oral directions to learners. Teachers indicated their readiness by using appropriate Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) and group work in the inclusive classroom. It was revealed that regular education teachers faced challenges in teaching learners with special needs in inclusive classroom. There was an issue of inadequate teaching and learning materials. It is recommended that even though regular education teachers are ready to implement inclusive education, teachers need to be motivated by the Government of Nigeria to show more commitment in ensuring effective implementation of inclusive education in their classrooms. Regular workshops on adaptation of instructional strategies should be organized by Nigeria Education Service (GES) to equip teachers on current practices in adapting the instructional strategies in their classrooms to meet the needs of all learners.

Keywords: readiness, regular, education, teachers, inclusive

1.1 Background of study
Education systems around the world are undergoing major changes. One of these changes is related to increased school diversity [1]. This means that the education system in many countries is increasingly being required to accommodate a large number of learners with different needs. This suggests that education systems are becoming more and more involved. According to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, inclusion is a widely approved programme [2]. Inclusive education must ensure the engagement of all learners in schools and involves redesigning school environment, rules, and activities to react to the different needs of learners in their communities [3]. The purpose of an inclusive education is to break down the barriers that exist between regular and special education, and to make registered learners feel valued and included in the regular class. Individual learners with special needs get possibilities and confidence in learning freely as a result of being in regular classrooms. The fundamental idea of inclusive education is that, wherever possible, all learners should learn together, regardless of any obstacles or differences that may develop.

According to reference of [4], one of the variables leading to the growth and development of education is the teacher. Nevertheless, in many situations, educational reform has failed because it does not pay close attention to present practices and the demands of those who are supposed to implement them [5]. A study by the authors of Wearmouth et al., in South Africa revealed that South African teachers are experiencing a marked lack of awareness about issues affecting inclusive education. This is understandable given the participants' lack of education and experience in handling learners with special educational needs. In 2003/2004, inclusive education, for the first time, was introduced in schools in Nigeria under a pilot program, and in 2008, 129 schools were offering inclusive education (IE). The goal of these schools, known as inclusive classrooms, was to provide learners with disabilities and poor learners with the chance to gain education in regular schools [6]. An inclusive education policy was designed in 2015 to ensure the complete implementation of inclusive education in all Nigeriaian schools. The Nigeria Education Service (GES) was responsible with implementation, ensuring that the issues described in the IE policy are implemented at the school level through national, regional, and district decentralized organizations. As part of its implementation, the special education coordinator in the Ogoja Local Government Area organized a workshop on inclusion education of school heads in the district. Teaching and learning materials were distributed to various schools in the district. This means that all schools and teachers across the country must practice inclusive education.

Nonetheless, in the past, teachers have not prioritized placing learners with special needs in regular classrooms [7]. Willingness of teachers to educate learners with disabilities is one of the most essential aspects that allows for the successful inclusion of learners with special educational needs in the general education system. Teachers must be ready to adapt to a common education system in order to fulfill the needs of learners with special educational needs in order to achieve inclusive education. Variables in the school environment, such as the availability of physical and social assistance, are linked to inclusion attitudes. Most importantly, the success of any all-inclusive policy is primarily dependent on the instructors who are ready for it. Are the Ogoja Local Government Area's regular education teachers ready to detect and handle learners with special needs in their classroom settings?

Teaching strategies could be changed in areas such as content, teaching settings and teaching strategies [8,9]. The authors went on to say that the implementation of teaching and adaptation strategies can be most effective when teachers understand comprehensive teaching strategies and implementation processes at the classroom level. Therefore, to ensure that teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area are fully ready to use inclusive education, they must be ready to change instructional methods to meet the demands of special learners. Also, teachers need to use a variety of techniques such as group work, co-curricular activities and collaborative learning that will enable these learners to get along well. Teachers in the general education system face many challenges such as inadequate teaching and learning materials, large classroom sizes and inadequate experience in dealing with severe disabilities when teaching individuals with special needs in the ordinary classroom. Since regular education teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area are also in the general education system, they are likely to face similar challenges. In the regular classroom, while teaching learners with exceptional needs, [10] argued that teachers face challenges such as lack of experience in the inclusion setting, inexperience in dealing learners with severe and profound disability and involving all learners in all activities.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Inclusive education is characterized by a number of problems. Insufficient understanding of inclusive education within the classroom and teachers were not ready to effectively teach learners with disabilities as challenges to inclusive education. Generally, teachers in the classroom have insufficient training needed to teach academic, social or adaptive behaviors to learners with disabilities [9]. These findings are important because they highlighted teachers' negative attitudes, lack of knowledge and expertise to understand and apply the concept of inclusive education. Inclusive education is used across the country and it is important to assess teachers' readiness to adhere to this policy. It is also necessary to explore how basic school teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area are ready to implement this policy in the district.

Although there is a shortage of study in the Ogoja Local Government Area in terms of teachers' readiness for inclusive education, informal communication with other teachers while supervising student teachers in the district has revealed that some educators are knowledgeable about inclusive education but as to whether they are ready to implement it in their classrooms is an issue which demands investigation. In addition to the interactions, some teachers were observed during the teaching practice supervisions. It was found out that these teachers had difficulty in ensuring that learners with special needs are effectively socialized. It is as a result of this that the study sought to find out how ready are regular education teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area to implement inclusive education in the district.

1.3 Purpose of the Study
1. Assess regular education instructors' readiness to modify instructional practices in inclusive classrooms to meet the needs of individuals with special needs.

2. Explore regular education teachers’ readiness in ensuring effective socialization in their classrooms for learners with specific needs.

3. Find out the challenges regular education teachers face in inclusive classrooms.

1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the level of regular education instructors' readiness to modify instructional practices in inclusive classrooms to meet the needs of individuals with special needs?

2. What is the level of regular education teachers’ readiness in ensuring effective socialization in their classrooms for learners with specific needs.

3. What are the challenges regular education teachers face in inclusive classrooms.

1.5 Significance of the Study
The study's findings will identify the methods that regular education teachers in the Ogoja Local Government Area will need to help them adjust instructional strategies to fulfill the learning demands of learners with special educational needs in inclusive classrooms. The study would provide regular education teachers ways for efficiently socializing youngsters with special educational needs in an inclusive setting. The issues that regular education instructors face in terms of inclusive education in district schools would also be addressed. Finally, the study is expected to generate interest in other researchers to undertake similar studies in other districts.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 41 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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