Understanding an inclusive classroom environment for a student with Down Syndrome

Ko, Cherry Chia Ling (2004). Understanding an inclusive classroom environment for a student with Down Syndrome MPhil Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Ko, Cherry Chia Ling
Thesis Title Understanding an inclusive classroom environment for a student with Down Syndrome
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Prof. John Elkins
Total pages 177
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subjects 13 Education
Formatted abstract

The present investigation explores the perspectives, practices and experiences of the principal, classroom teacher, two teacher aides, the mother, and coordinator of the special needs unit in relation to a student with Down syndrome in a primary school in Brisbane, Australia. In this qualitative study, the school, a specific bounded system, and its inclusive processes and practices are the key factors in understanding the case. Ethnographic case study methods using a multi-method design were used to collect data from the previously listed adults from the school. In-depth interviews and participant observation were used for data collection and the themes that emerged from the data analysis included the mother's description of the child and the perspectives and practices promoting inclusion of the previously listed adults. Because classrooms are complex social environments within specific school contexts, data were collected about staff perceptions of the school culture and its influence on the way programs were organised in the school. Findings indicated that a range of factors influenced a school's culture of inclusion. Of particular importance were perspectives and knowledge of the parents and staff related to the following: the student's background; planning; curriculum; behaviour and interaction; teaching strategies/methods; learning environment; collaboration between the classroom teacher and parents; collaboration between staff; support and attitude towards support; attitude towards inclusive education; benefits of the inclusive program and challenges of the inclusive program that support inclusion. The present study demonstrates that both collective and individual beliefs, knowledge and values influence individual and school practices in supporting all students in learning. It is clear that the school requires a belief that the necessary supports can be brought to the classroom to help each individual student with and/or without disabilities to learn and to be successfully included. 

Keyword Down syndrome
Inclusive education

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:37:10 EST