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Readiness for Inclusive Special Education: A Survey among Inservice Teachers in Zamboanga City, Philippines

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This empirical investigation on the extent of readiness of In-service teachers for Inclusive Special Education was conducted with a total of 270 randomly selected respondents. The study utilized a valid and reliable research questionnaire to gather data relative to teachers' extent of readiness. Analysis of the data revealed that the respondents' extent of readiness is characterized as 'high'. The study further disclosed that in terms of classroom instruction, assessment of student's performance, and evaluating and monitoring students' progress the respondents reported being 'highly ready'. However, in terms of curricular content, the respondents disclosed to be only 'moderately ready'. Additionally, it was revealed that age grouping does not statistically influence respondents' extent of readiness for Inclusive Education.
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International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education (INT-JECS)
ISSN: 1308-5581 Vol 14, Issue 03 2022
10819
Readiness for Inclusive Special Education: A Survey among
Inservice Teachers in Zamboanga City, Philippines
Marilyn M. Dioso1,
marilyn.dioso@wmsu.edu.ph1
Aina B. Iglesia2,
iglesia.aina@wmsu.edu.ph2
Floramie M. Ramiro3,
floramie.ramiro@wmsu.edu.ph3
Nolan S. Iglesia4
nolan.iglesia@lms.wmsu.edu.ph4
College of Teacher Education Western Mindanao State University Normal Road, Baliwasan,
Zamboanga City 7000 Philippines
Abstract
This empirical investigation on the extent of readiness of In-service teachers for Inclusive Special
Education was conducted with a total of 270 randomly selected respondents. The study utilized a
valid and reliable research questionnaire to gather data relative to teachers’ extent of readiness.
Analysis of the data revealed that the respondents’ extent of readiness is characterized as high’.
The study further disclosed that in terms of classroom instruction, assessment of students
performance, and evaluating and monitoring students’ progress the respondents reported to be
highly ready’. However, in terms of curricular content, the respondents disclosed to be only
moderately ready’. Additionally, it was revealed that age grouping does not statistically influence
respondents’ extent of readiness for Inclusive Education.
Keywords: Inclusive Education, Readiness, Pre-service Teachers, Special Education
Introduction
Access to education is a basic right. Everybody must, therefore, be afforded the opportunity
without regards for anything (i.e., gender, social status, ethnicity, language spoken, religious belief,
political convictions, ability). Schools must then become inclusive, discriminating no one.
Inclusive Education (IE) is an approach considered to be anchored on the idea that ‘Education is
for All’. It is an educational framework that operates on the philosophy of acceptance. In this
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educational framework, disadvantaged learners, especially those of special needs who are
identified to be the most marginalized across all groups, are allowed to learn in regular schools
alongside their typically developing peers (Singh et al., 2020).
Adoption of the principles of IE among educational systems is being realized. Evidently, there is
an increase in the number of advocates of IE. Remarkably, there was also an increase in the number
of policies developed and bills passed into law supportive of the ideals and practices of IE.
However, it cannot be denied that it is the teachers who are regarded as the most important factor
in the full realization of any educational program (Alieto, 2019; Alieto et al., 2019; Alieto & Rillo,
2018; Buslon et al., 2020; Cabangcala et al., 2021; Dela Rama et al., 2020; Mumbing et al., 2021;
Ricohermoso et al., 2019) including the success of IE (Ahmmed et al., 2012; Bhatnagar & Das,
2014).
Thus, it does not come as a surprise that most of research investigations, realized to provide support
to IE, were targeted towards either would-be teachers (e.g., Pil et al., 2022) and in-service teachers
(e.g., Lao et al., 2022; Rosales & Rosales, 2019; Siason et al., 2022). Relative to this, with the
Philippines as context in mind, the Department of Education released a DepEd Order No. 72 s.
2009 known as the ‘Strategy for Increasing Participation Rate of Children’. One of the items
stipulated in the said memorandum order is the training of teachers for IE practices. This implies
that teachers’ need to be equipped, and that their readiness matter in the overall effective
implementation of IE. Logically, teachers who are prepared are the ones who would eventually be
able to efficiently implement IE as compared to those who are yet to gain readiness in terms of
knowledge and skills.
Despite the importance of teachers’ readiness in the implementation of IE, there is a dearth of
studies conducted which determined and explored teachers’ readiness for IE. Most of the studies
were realized to determine teachers’ attitude (e.g., Dapudong, 2014; Pil et al., 2022).
Hence, it is argued, along this line, that determining teachers’ readiness is an equally important
research goal. In order to determine what training to provide to teachers with respect the
implementation of IE, it is imperative to first determine teachers’ extent of readiness; hence this
study. In addition, this study, although investigated a classic topic in the field of IE, remains novel
in terms of the resppondents investigated. The respondents of the studies were drawn from
nonmetropolitan areas where the idea of IE remains emerging (Pil et al., 2022). Furthermore, the
study also explored influence of age groupings in the teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive
education.
Research Questions
This study seeks to answer the following questions:
1. What is the extent of teachers’ readiness for Inclusive Education?
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2. Is there a significant difference in the respondents’ extent of readiness for Inclusive Education
when data are grouped according to age groups?
Methodology
Research Design
The research utilized the descriptive-quantitative research design. Data was interpreted
numerically with a range of statistical analysis. Its emphasis focused on the measurement and
proof. Therefore, this study accepted the scientific approach. This is according to the principle that
through observational counts something can be made meaningful.
Moreover, the study is noted to be non-experimental as no use of treatment was involved in the
study (Thompson, 2007 in Perez & Alieto, 2018; Torres & Alieto, 2019a, 2019b).
Participants of the Study
This study was delimited to the teachers’ skills and readiness for inclusive special education. The
respondents were from the identified public schools with SPED Centers. Random Sampling
using Slovin’s formula was used in the study. A lottery technique was utilized to get the
respondents from the different schools. Name of schools was coded to ensure confidentiality.
Table 1 provides the sampling distribution across identified schools.
Table 1
Number of respondents per school
Elementary Schools with
SPED Center
Population
(Number
Teachers)
of
Regular
%
Sample Population
(Total Number
Respondents)
of
School A
134
16.07
43
School B
64
7.67
21
School C
109
13.07
35
School D
65
7.79
21
School E
107
12.83
35
School F
100
11.99
32
School G
90
10.79
29
School H
97
11.63
31
School I
68
8.16
23
Total
834
100
270
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Research Instrument
To determine the teachers’ extent of readiness for IE, the study utilized the instrument of Taripe
(2018). It consisted of forty (40) items. There were ten (10) items included in each indicator with
the scale of Very High to Very Low. Permission was sought in the use of the instrument from the
author.
The use of survey questionnaire was inspired by the claim of Dillman et al. (2009 cited in Alieto,
2018) that such is an efficient means of data collection approach when aiming to gather from a
large sample size.
Data Collection Procedures
The researchers secured ethics clearance from the Research Ethics Oversight Committee (REOC)
of the University to which the researchers are faculty of. A letter requesting access with the
respondents was sent to the Schools Division Superintended, Division Office Zamboanga City.
Upon the approval of the request, a consent letter was provided to every respondent of the study.
An orientation was done before data gathering. On the average, the respondents answered the
questionnaire within 40 minutes. All gathered data were treated with utmost confidentiality.
Statistical Treatment of Data
To determine the extent of the respondents’ readiness for IE, the data set was treated with
descriptive statistics [e.g., Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD)]. For the determination of
whether the respondents’ extent of readiness for inclusive statistically differ across age groupings,
the data set was treated with an inferential statistic of difference known as One-way Analysis of
Variance (ANOVA).
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Results and Discussions
Respondents extent of readiness for IE in terms of classroom instruction
Table 2
Teachers’ Extent of Readiness in terms of Classroom Instruction
Table 2 shows the overall teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive special education in terms of
classroom instruction.
With the given ten (10) statements, 7 yielded the weighted mean within
3.65-3.92 with the description of High. For statements 5, 7, and 9 the weighted mean is within
4.01-4.08 with the same description of high. Further, statement number 5 “Motivates students to
arouse their interest in learning concepts. has the highest mean score with the weighted mean of
4.08 which is High. This implies that the respondents are highly prepared and able to motivate
learners, with and without special needs to engage in learning in an inclusive special education
setting if given the chance to handle a class in this type of setting. Moreover, this finding contrasts
with the study conducted by Muega (2016) which disclosed the participants’ overall response in
the aspect of readiness in handling students with special needs in an inclusive education. The
findings clearly stated that teachers’ readiness for inclusive special education lies within the verbal
description of ‘High’.
Weighted
Mean
Description
3.65
High
3.92
High
3.91
High
3.84
High
4.08
High
3.90
High
4.01
High
3.78
High
4.03
High
3.89
High
3.90
High
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Respondents’ extent of readiness in terms of curriculum content
Table 2.1
Teachers’ extent of readiness for IE in terms of curriculum content
Table 2.1 presents teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive special education in terms of
curriculum content. As shown, two out of ten statements were rated within the scale of 3.70 -
3.74 described as high and eight statements were within 3.41 3.42 described as moderately high.
The table further shows that the statement Assists students on their academic difficulties.”
obtained the highest weighted mean of 3.74 described as high level. It implies that the teachers are
highly prepared in assisting students in their academic difficulties particularly in understanding
curriculum content. This was followed by the statement Encourage students with special
educational needs to participate and perform well in class with a weighted mean of 3.70
described as high level. This means that the teachers are highly prepared in encouraging students
with special educational needs to participate and perform better inside an inclusive special
education classroom. On the other hand, the lowest weighted mean was reflected in the statement,
Knowledgeable in preparing instructional materials appropriate for students with special needs.”
as evident in the weighted mean 3.19 which described as moderately high. This means that the
teachers have moderately high readiness level in preparing instructional materials appropriate for
Statements
Weighted
Mean
Description
Implements various curricula for students with special
1 needs.
3.40
Moderately High
Designs lessons appropriate about the special
2 education program.
3.27
Moderately High
3 Orients students about the special education program.
3.38
Moderately High
Aware about the learning tasks for students with
4 learning disabilities.
3.35
Moderately High
Organizes classroom activities for both regular
5 students and students with special needs.
3.42
Moderately High
Knowledgeable about the lessons appropriate for
6 students with special needs but finds difficulty in
explaining the concepts.
3.25
Moderately High
Knowledgeable in preparing instructional materials
7 appropriate for students with special needs.
3.19
Moderately High
8 Assists students on their academic difficulties.
3.74
High
Encourage students with special educational needs to
9 participate and perform well in class.
3.70
High
Knowledgeable in handling students with learning
10 difficulties.
3.27
Moderately High
Grand Mean
3.40
Moderately High
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students with special needs. The overall mean for the teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive
special education in curriculum content is 3.40 described as moderately high. This implies that the
teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive special education in the curriculum content is adequately
high only if given a chance to handle a class in an inclusive special education setting. This finding
is supported by Rabara (2017) in his study that emphasizes the central point and the most
significant factor to consider about inclusive special education is to design developmentally
appropriate and accessible educational program to facilitate successes and achievements of
students with special needs in an inclusive classroom.
Respondents’ extent of readiness in terms of assessment of students’ performance
Table 2.2
Teachers’ extent of readiness for IE in terms of assessment of students performance
Table 2.2 shows presents teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive special education in terms of
assessment on student’s performance. As shown, three out of ten statements were rated within the
scale of 3.08 3.47 described as moderately high and seven statements were rated within the scale
of 3.62 4.15 described as high. The table further shows that the highest weighted mean obtained
by the statement, “Conducts formative and summative tests.” is 4.15 described as high. This means
that the teachers’ extent of readiness in assessing special and regular students in an inclusive
special education is high particularly in conducting formative and summative tests.
Statements
Weighted
Mean
Description
1 Constructs questions that eliminate critical thinking.
3.47
Moderately
High
Uses variety and relevant assessment strategies measure
2 achievements.
3.73
High
3 Individualized assessments.
3.62
High
Possesses knowledge in assessing and grading content
4 knowledge of the students.
3.73
High
Uses alternative testing techniques in assessing
5 students’ performance and progress.
3.72
High
6 Uses appropriate assessment tools to measure students’
progress.
3.79
High
7 Conducts formative and summative tests.
4.15
High
8 Finds difficulties in designing homework.
3.08
Moderately
High
9 Utilizes oral examination to measure students’ learning.
3.68
High
Finds difficulty in preparing assessment tools appropriate for
10 children with special needs.
3.24
Moderately
High
Grand Mean
3.62
High
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However, it is also noted that three statements out of ten obtained the lowest weighted mean and
these are, Utilizes oral examination to measure students’ learning.,” Finds difficulty in
preparing assessment tools appropriate for children with special needs., “and “Finds difficulties
in designing homework.” with a weighted mean within the scale of 3.08 3.47 described as
moderately high. This implies that teachers’ readiness in assessing student’s performance
specifically in utilizing oral examinations, preparing assessment tools appropriate for children with
special needs and in designing homework have become quite challenging in their part because this
is rated as moderately high. This further implies that teachers need more support in these areas to
achieve higher level of readiness and competence in handling students with diverse needs in an
inclusive special education. These findings then corroborate n the study of Shareefa (2016), that
what teachers consider, understand, and experience regarding the readiness of schools for inclusive
education in terms of leadership, climate, curriculum, instructions, and support for students, and
skills and readiness of teachers showed that teachers had an optimistic view concerning the
readiness factors for inclusive education. But the findings indicated significant challenges that may
hinder the effectiveness of inclusive education implementation. Further, Ainscow (2005) reiterates
that these trainings are helpful since regular teachers are open to the concept of inclusive education
and willing to accept the challenges and responsibilities in teaching learners with and without
special needs.
Respondents’ extent of readiness in terms of evaluating and monitoring students’ progress
Table 2.3
Teachers’ extent of readiness for IE in terms of evaluating and monitoring students’ progress
Statements
Weighted
Mean
Description
1 Applies varies evaluation tools in assessing students’
achievement.
3.69
High
2 Uses rubrics in evaluating students’ progress.
3.92
High
3 Carries out evaluation of students’ performance.
3.83
High
4 Implements new guidelines.
3.59
High
Provides feedback to students with special needs as well
5 as to parents.
3.69
High
6 Conducts periodic evaluation of students’ progress.
4.01
High
7 Records students’ progress.
4.23
High
8 Informs parents/guardians regarding students’
performance/progress.
4.20
High
Collaborates with special education teachers, parents, and
9 other professionals in the formulation of students’
IEP.
3.45
Moderately
High
10 Formulates IEP based on psychoeducational assessment.
3.14
Moderately
High
Grand Mean
3.78
High
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Table 2.3 gives the extent of readiness of teachers for inclusive special education in terms of
evaluating and monitoring students’ progress. As shown, eight out of ten statements were rated
within the scale 3.59 4.23 described as high and two statements were rated within the scale 3.14
3.45 described as moderately high. It is further shown that the highest weighted mean of 4.23
described high is obtained by the statement, Records students’ progress This means that the
teachers achieve the highest level of readiness to consistently record the progress of students in
their classes. It is also noted that the statement, Informs parents/guardians regarding students’
performance/progress.” Obtained the second highest weighted mean of 4.20 described as high.
This means that the teachers possess high level of readiness to facilitate information to the parents/
guardians about the progress and performance of their children in an inclusive special education.
On the other hand, the lowest weighted mean was reflected in the statement, Formulates IEP
based on psychoeducational assessment.,” as evident in the weighted mean 3.14 described as
moderately high. This implies that teachers find it quite difficult to design Individual Educational
Plan based on psychoeducational assessment. This indirectly gives a clue that teachers need more
training and help in this area. This finding validates the study of Shareefa (2016) that the success
of inclusive education comes not only from well-trained teachers on strategies but the support of
the entire school community. The success of its implementation underwent several challenges.
These challenges include limited resources and teachers are not ready or equipped with all the
necessary skills in teaching bringing in productive inclusive practices.
The overall mean of 3.78 described as high, implies that teachers’ extent of readiness for inclusive
special education in terms of monitoring and evaluating students’ progress is noted to have reached
its highest level. This finding bears witness of teachers who are becoming highly prepared and
equipped to handle an inclusive special education in terms of monitoring and evaluating students’
progress.
Overall Extent of Readiness for IE of the respondents
Table 2.4
Teachers’ Readiness for Inclusive Education
Dimensions
Mean
Interpretation
Classroom Instruction
3.90
High
Curriculum Content
3.40
Moderately High
Assessment on Students’ Performance
3.62
High
Evaluating and Monitoring Students’ Progress
3.78
High
Grand Mean
3.68
High
Table 2.4 shows the summary of the extent of teachers’ readiness for inclusive special education
with its four (4) indicators: Classroom Instruction; Curriculum Content; Assessment on Students’
Performance; and Evaluating and Monitoring Students’ Progress with the grand mean of 3.68 with
the description of High. The indicator with the highest interpretation is the Classroom Instruction
with the mean score of 3.90. This implies that teachers have enough readiness to handle students
in an inclusive special education. Based on the stated Policies and Guidelines of Special Education
in the Philippines by outing into action the DepEd 72, s. 2009 known as the Comprehensive
Inclusive Education Program which includes the Classroom Instruction as one of its programs to
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achieve the full potential of learners with special educational needs. This finding is supported by
Mthembu (2009) that the fundamental concept behind special education is the belief that teacher
in the general education classroom has some awareness and perception about the needs of various
learners, techniques, and strategies of teaching. The essential skills, understanding, and
competence of teachers have a great extent in the successful implementation of special education
program. Further Dapudong (2014), stressed the profound need of regular teachers to undergo
special educational needs training, such as specialized practices for implementing teaching
strategies employing the appropriate curriculum modifications and accommodations or adaptations
for students with special needs.
Respondents’ extent of readiness across age groups
Table 3
Teachers’ extent of readiness for IE across age groups
Mean
Age
N
Classroom
Instruction
Curriculum
Content
Assessment on
Students’
Performance
Evaluating
and
Monitoring
Students’
Progress
21-30 years old
63
4.02
3.47
3.74
3.85
31-40 years old
106
3.89
3.69
3.60
3.75
41-50 years old
61
3.80
3.37
3.53
3.73
51 and above
41
3.87
3.42
3.55
3.74
Teachers’ Readiness
Classroom
Instruction
Sum o
f Squares
Mean
Square
F
Sig.
1.555
0.518
1.32
0.268
Curriculum Content
Assessment on
Students’
Performance
5.029
1.676
0.28
0.838
1.512
0.504
1.35
0.259
Evaluating and
Monitoring
Students’ Progress
0.578
0.193
0.46
0.709
The Table presents the significant difference in the readiness of teachers for inclusive special
education in terms of Classroom Instruction, Curriculum Content, Assessment on Students’
Performance and Evaluating and Monitoring Students’ Progress when the variable is categorized
according to age. Data shows that in terms of Classroom Instruction, the F-value is 1.32 with the
𝜌- value of 0.268, Curriculum Content, the F-value is 0.28 with the 𝜌- value of 0.838, Assessment
on Students’ Performance, the F-value is 1.35 with the 𝜌- value of 0.259, and Evaluating and
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Monitoring Students’ Progress, the F-value is 0.46 with the 𝜌- value of 0.709 which are all greater
than 𝛼 0.05. Therefore, there is no significant difference in the readiness of teachers for inclusive
special education in terms of the four (4) categories when the variable is categorized according to
age. This implies that teachers for inclusive education of different ages have the same readiness in
terms of the four (4) categories.
Conclusion
Based on the results of the study, the level of teachers’ readiness consisted of four components:
the classroom instruction, curriculum content, assessment on students’ performance, and
monitoring and evaluating students’ progress. In terms of classroom instruction, responses
revealed as moderately high extent with the grand mean of 3.90. The overall mean for curriculum
content is 3.40 described as moderately high. The extent of teachers’ readiness on assessments on
students’ performance and of monitoring and evaluating students’ progress was high with a grand
mean of 3.62 and 3.78 respectively. The variable across age has no significant difference in the
mean score of the readiness of teachers for inclusive special education. It was further concluded
that teachers’ readiness for inclusive special education was established with the provided Inservice
training for professional development. However, further trainings in handling students with special
needs in an inclusive setting should be given emphasis. Additional special education support,
opportunities, and resources are needed to increase the level of teachers’ readiness for inclusive
special education. The Department of Education may continue to act in the full implementation of
inclusive special education in all schools with SPED Center implement full action in the call for
inclusive special education.
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