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Title: How do mainstream teachers make sense of their role in terms of 'every teacher is a teacher of special needs'? : what constraints do they face : how can the SENco help?
Author: Blum, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 0772
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This is a case study undertaken in a large urban comprehensive school where the author was the SENco. The research set out to find out how mainstream subject teachers handled the expectation that they could all be special needs teachers within their own class rooms. But had the teachers really embraced that challenge and how did they go about making it a daily reality? The first part of the research investigated through a whole teaching staff questionnaire and followed on with a deeper investigation of the issues raised, by interviewing six participant teachers. Five of those teachers also agreed to partnership teach with the SENco through the 2012/13 academic year to help assess the development of their differentiation strategies. Alongside this research, the SENco kept a journal of critical incidents that charted daily life in that job role. In particular the way that the pressures of that complex job description inhibited the ability to support mainstream colleagues. The research revealed that teachers had a strong preoccupation with pupils with behavioural and emotional issues and tended to prioritise this type of special needs beyond all others. The shortage of time experienced by both the SENco and the mainstream teachers meant that differentiation was often unprepared and spontaneous between the two parties in the class room, though this was not necessarily ineffective. Mainstream teachers used pedagogical models that they found very tiring and consequently, they often did not exploit the opportunity to differentiate by moving around the classroom and interacting ‘one to one’ with members of the class, after the initial teacher exposition was over. The research concludes that it is difficult for the mainstream teachers to be wholly effective teachers of special needs pupils. There was a shortage of time for lesson preparation and planning as well as pressure to follow the directives of school managers to monitor pupil progress in prescriptive ways laid down by the government.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Lifelong and Comparative Education