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Title: An investigation into how the expanded core curriculum is conceptualised and implemented in the vision impairment field for female students in the Saudi Arabian educational system and how its implementation relates to teachers' professional background and training
Author: Alabdan, Abeer Mansour
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2020
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This research focuses on how female students with vision impairment (VI) are educated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and, in particular, how VI education is conceptualised, implemented and linked to the professional backgrounds and training of teachers. The concept of an Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), which includes a range of disability-specific areas (e.g., O&M, braille), is referenced directly to identify how teachers perceive VI education and determine important outcomes. This study addresses the research gap in Saudi VI education— there have been relatively few empirical studies addressing the additional curriculum approach in VI pedagogy. The findings are discussed in the light of international VI pedagogical theories and practices. A sequential mixed-methods design was employed incorporating 14 observations of routine daily activities, a demographic data survey and interviews of 32 female teachers from eight schools that cater to female VI students in Riyadh, KSA. The data was coded and analysed using Norwich and Lewis’s (2005, 2013) understandings of ‘commonality’ and the ‘differentiation’ of pedagogic positions, relating these classifications to the ECC framework. Teachers conceptualise and practice the ECC according to their qualifications and educational priorities. While qualified teachers of VI students (QTVIs) and special needs specialists (SENs) see the ECC as an ‘overarching skillset’, subject specialist teachers (SSTs) view it as ‘specific skills’. Teachers with greater training and experience have a stronger conceptual understanding of additional VI provisions. Most SSTs perceive success in terms of academic skills, while specialist teachers view success in terms of both academic and personal skills. The implementation of additional VI support varied among teachers interviewed, utilising both inclusive and differentiated approaches. Implementation is localised from one provision to the next, resulting in inconsistent methods even sometimes within one school. The QTVIs and SENs were more responsible for the delivery of braille and O&M as a separate entity, whilst the SSTs generally delivered some ECC areas through assimilation into the core curriculum activities. QTVIs and SENs approached the additional support more explicitly than the SSTs, as reflected by their training (and experience) levels. Some teachers made up for a lack of training with experience, intuition or due to the fact that some ECC areas are applicable to all students, not only those with VI. Implementation also varied between schools depending on additional factors, including time, space, resources, specialist teacher training, motivation, school collaboration and parental involvement. This research found that the ECC is followed partially (and mostly implicitly) in the KSA. The research concludes with recommendations for future policy of which the main strands are: standardisation (implementation of a broad framework), clarification (improving the level of teacher training) and providing a supportive infrastructure. It is hoped that the second recommendation will aid the implementation of the first, in that refining training will lead to a common understanding of a more standardised approach. Potentially, this study could have significant implications for the future of the KSA’s VI education by, for example, influencing teacher training, contributing positive changes to the existing additional skill provision, and in the improvement of SEN provision.
Supervisor: Ware, Jean Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Saudi Arabia ; VI Education ; Curriculum accessibility ; equal oppoertunities ; expanded core curriculum ; teacher training