Who has a Problem, the Student or the Teacher? Differences in Teachers' Beliefs About Their Work with At-risk and Integrated Exceptional Students
In this study, teachers' assumptions and beliefs are explored about the needs of at-risk and exceptional students, and about their roles and responsibilities in meeting such needs. Teachers appear to hold consistent and coherent belief systems which differ along an ordinal scale. At one end, 'restorative' beliefs assume that problems reside largely within the pupil, and therefore the teacher's duty is to refer the pupil for confirmatory assessment as soon as possible. At the other 'preventive' end, teachers assume that the environment, including instruction, plays a part in a student's problems. The teacher therefore attempts prereferral interventions, and requests assessment to identify instructional alternatives. This study provides evidence for the validity of the restorative-preventive construct, reporting the results of both quantitative and qualitative analyses of interviews with 27 regular class elementary teachers. Teachers' ratings on the construct correlated significantly with their self-ratings of teaching efficacy (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). Teachers with preventive beliefs had higher self-efficacy scores than those with a restorative profile. Further, teachers with restorative beliefs rated the withdrawal of problem pupils from the classroom as a more desirable resource service than preventive teachers, who preferred in-class consultative support.
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