Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Janet Williams

Second Advisor

John Gardiner

Abstract

The purpose of this exploratory study was to ascertain if teachers who have special needs training or teaching experience have a statistically significant difference in their attitude towards the implementation of the Western Australian Education Department's Collaborative Action Plans. Using a stratified random sampling method a sample of teachers (N = 2 x 50) was generated from regular primary schools and education support facilities within the Perth metropolitan area. Survey variables canvassed were source reliability, time, efficacy, collaboration, assessment measures, information types and summary issues. A mailed questionnaire produced a response rate of 66%. Survey data indicated that in terms of whom they would consult, 85% of teachers would consult with teachers, 89% would consult with parents. 56% would consult with the student and 84% would prefer to observe a student's skill performance before referring to the Collaborative Action Plan. Using t-tests, a multi-variate analysis of variance and a post hoc Scheffe test, statistically significant differences (p.<.05) occurred in five variables. Teachers with special needs qualifications rated principals, students and parents as moderate to very reliable sources of information; they did not perceive that Collaborative Action Plans would interfere with "duties other than teaching"; or reduce a teacher's contact time with non-special needs students and viewed socioeconomic and family structure not very relevant to instructional planning. Experienced teachers (more than 10 years experience) rated specialist teachers and students higher as sources of information. Education support teachers (less than 10 years teaching experience) indicated that Collaborative Action Plans had utility, saw the collaboration process as beneficial and would use them frequently. Using Wilson and Silverman's (1991) construct teachers with special needs qualifications and experienced teachers (> 10 years) appear to be preventative. The results suggest that while teachers with special needs qualifications had a more positive attitude towards Collaborative Action Plans in some variables, the differences are insufficient to reject the null hypotheses. While Collaborative Action Plans present logistical, resource and pedagogical challenges in regular primary schools, in education support they are concomitant with existing practices. Given that this study used a small sample, further study about the implementation and utility of Collaborative Action Plans over time is recommended to clarify the veracity of the present study's findings.

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