Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.632157
Title: Teacher beliefs about teaching children with dyslexia/learning difficulties in mainstream primary schools in Greece
Author: Riga, Maria
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
The study is designed to capture teacher knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards the teaching and learning of children with dyslexia/ learning difficulties within the Greek context. It provides insights into understanding about teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion, which can shape professional identity. The umbrella research question is: how can teachers’ experiences of, and beliefs and attitudes about, children with learning difficulties/dyslexia influence teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion, in the context of Greek mainstream primary school? The meaning of dyslexia is viewed from the point of view of mainstream and special primary school teachers’, which is in turn informed by the Greek government’s revised definitions. In practice in Greece ‘dyslexia’ is used as an umbrella term for learning difficulties. Despite the seeming contradiction, it is not uncommon for children with mild learning difficulties to be categorised as having dyslexia. The focus of this thesis is then on the teachers’ beliefs about teaching children with some kind of learning difficulty, who they would consider as dyslexic. Recent education policies encourage a search for pedagogical methods and teaching techniques, to respond to the diversity of the needs within mainstream classrooms. However, although the Greek government has introduced inclusion, many teachers believe that they do not have the skills or resources to manage the situation. Multiple case study methodology is used and the unit of analysis is the individual teacher. This allows engagement with teachers’ beliefs about inclusion of children with dyslexia within the Greek context. Analysis was within the set of data connected with the individual teacher in order to show the existence of their beliefs and later themes were identified across the cases. The sample consists of 20 Greek primary teachers: 17 mainstream teachers and 3 special school teachers. It is purposive, not representing the wider population, for it is deliberately selected to capture a diversity of beliefs informed by known factors, according to international literature (age, teaching experience, severity of case etc). This provides evidence for the existence of identified beliefs rather than the inference of the prevalence of certain beliefs amongst the population. A number of research instruments have been used: interviews with concept maps, observations, narratives and review of documentation. Progressive focusing on the research question during initial analysis led to the identification of two of these cases for more in-depth study, including sustained classroom observation. These are referred to as the “in-depth cases”.Thematic analysis reveals themes of beliefs and attitudes, encoding problems that participants are trying to resolve or to make sense of, and how certain beliefs about the inclusion of children with learning difficulties are mediated by deeply rooted cultural models of disability, compassion and learning. The diversity is illustrated amongst participants with a small number of examples. The study situates the individual accounts in the wider socio-cultural and political context. Prevalent teacher attitudes combine high performance- as historically established in Greece-transmission teaching and disability as limiting, a lack in some way. On the other hand, alternative inclusive practices come mainly from teachers who had received specific related professional development, which included opportunity for critical reflection on their teaching practices. These cases demonstrate the diversity of certain beliefs that influence attitudes, and give a pointer to how one might tackle change.
Supervisor: Prevett, Pauline; Mcnamara, Olwen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.632157  DOI: Not available
Keywords: learning difficulties ; dyslexia ; Greek primary education ; teacher attitudes
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