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Teachers' perceptions about teaching problem students in regular classrooms

Joao A. Lopes, Isabel Monteiro, Vitor Sil, Robert B. Rutherford and Mary Magee Quinn
Education and Treatment of Children
Vol. 27, No. 4 (NOVEMBER 2004), pp. 394-419
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42899814
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Teachers' perceptions about teaching problem students in regular classrooms
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Abstract

Learning and behaviorally disordered students place high demands on classroom organization and management. They are time-consuming, since teachers must place much more attention on them than other children and teachers' efforts to cope with their learning and/or behaviors may not work as readily as teachers wish. Since compulsory education was extended from the 4th to 9th grade, Portuguese regular education teachers have had to deal with hard-to-teach students that only 25 years ago were mostly excluded from the educational system. In this study we try to understand how teachers perceive this new and challenging reality. Subjects were 430 teachers - 79% regular education teachers and 21 % special education teachers - from 1st to 9th grade. Teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions about teaching students with learning and/or behavior problems were assessed. Overall results suggest that teachers' sense of efficacy diminishes as difficult students grow older. However, these teachers do not reject hard-to-teach students; rather, they think they are not teaching them appropriately. Most teachers express the feeling that difficult students would benefit with specific curricula in resource rooms or with extra help in regular classrooms. Finally, regular responses do not show a clear divide between regular and special education teachers' attitudes and perceptions. The division is clearer between primary and secondary teachers irrespective of regular or special education status, with the latter expressing more negative feelings toward teaching difficult students.

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