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A heart to learn and care? Teachers' responses toward special needs children in mainstream schools in Hong Kong

  • A heart to learn and care? Teachers' responses toward special needs children in mainstream schools in Hong Kong
  • Disability & Society, 18(4), 489-508, 2003
  • Routledge
  • 2003
    • Hong Kong
    • 1997.7 onwards
    • Primary Education
    • Secondary Education
  • This article examines the problems associated with introducing integrated education into Hong Kong's mainstream schooling system. The research objectives were to examine the experience of teachers in teaching children with special needs in mainstream schools; to examine the attitude of mainstream teachers towards integrated education, and explore whether the differences in perception of difficulties and attitudes are attributable to types of disability and availability of resources. This was achieved through a research strategy utilising a questionnaire survey combined with individual and group interviews. The results demonstrate that there is a clear hierarchy of preference amongst teachers in relation to special needs children. Students with a learning disability and/or behavioural problems pose more challenges to teachers than those with a physical difficulty. Teachers that had both types of special needs children in a class experience more problems in maintaining classroom discipline, have a greater workload and struggle to manage the disparate academic standards amongst students. Teachers in schools with extra funding provisions, teachers trained to teach special needs children, additional counselling resources and specialist support expressed more accepting attitudes towards children with special needs and their admission into mainstream schools. Resource classes did not exert a positive effect on acceptance. More than 70% of questionnaire respondents were supportive of two positive value statements 'realisation of equal opportunities' and 'a good chance for students to interact'. At the same time teachers tended to agree with the statements 'integration was a burden to the schools and teachers' (over 60%) and 'a painful struggle for special students' (48%). Although there is a general normative acceptance of inclusion, the statistical pattern suggests that teachers' attitudes are not static or based solely on ideology.
    [Copyright of Disability & Society is the property of Routledge. Full article may be available at the publisher's website: ]
    • English
  • Journal Articles
    • 09687599
  • 2010-11-24

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