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EED7001Research Methods in Education :Synoptic Literature Review

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    EED7001

Assignment 2

‘An investigation on the perception and attitude of typically developing students towards students with special educational needs and whether they are socially accepted or rejected?

Introduction

Inclusive schools for children with disabilities began in the 1970s. The federal government's provision of the disability discrimination act was in 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education in 2005. Australia was one of the first few countries to sign the Salamanca statement in 1994. The Salamanca statement encourages integration policies of all-inclusive schools to accommodate all children, regardless of their intellectual, emotional, physical, social, linguistic, and other conditions. Because of this, there has been an increase in the numbers of enrollments of students with special educational needs in mainstream Australian classrooms (Anderson, J & Boyle, C 2019).

Students with special educational needs (SEN) are defined as having difficulties with learning compared to most children their age. Some of the disabilities include intellectual, physical, behavioral (ADHD, OCD), communication, and language (dyslexia, dysgraphia) (Department of Education and Training, 2019). Garrote et al. (2020) stated that these problems have negative development consequences, and students with SEN are generally at a higher risk of academic failure, emotional issues, and peer rejections.

This is rather a significant concern as there appears to be some evidence that shows that students with SEN are finding it hard to make friends in mainstream school due to their disabilities and negative stereotypes. Students with SEN need to be socially accepted because classmates' rejection can negatively affect the students' educational outcomes and wellbeing (Bacete et al. 2017).

From this perspective, there should be further investigations on the inclusiveness of students with SEN and whether they are successfully integrated into mainstream schools and not excluded by their peers. Therefore, to verify this concern, the research aims to examine the perceptions and attitudes of typically developing (TD) students towards students with SEN. The following question shall be answered: Are students with special educational needs socially accepted or rejected by their peers in mainstream primary school classrooms?

Since inclusive schools have students with various forms of SEN in general education classes, it's much easier for researchers to consider all pupils with SEN as test subjects rather than isolate and test only one form of disability. For example, only students with speech disorders are tested to see if this particular group is accepted or rejected by peers. This justified the reason for the chosen articles, and the peer reviews journal articles were found online at VU library using keywords such as 'social acceptance,' 'peer rejections,' and 'students with special needs.

Methods and Methodologies

A total of eight journal articles was reviewed for this research topic to investigate and explore whether or not students with SEN are rejected in mainstream primary school (Hoffmann et al. 2020; Henke et al. 2017; Broom, K 2020; Bacete et al. 2017; Pinto et al. 2019; Peru et al. 2015; Garrote et al. 2020; Wilbert et al. 2020). The sample size across all eight articles ranges from hundreds to thousands of children with or without SEN from inclusive primary school in European countries such as Spain, England, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Almost equal numbers of boys and girls with several more or less were present in each study. An average of 1/6th of participants in each study was diagnosed with SEN. All

studies used the simple random sample as their method of collecting data except Henke et al. (2017), used stratified random sampling and Hoffmann et al. (2020) used target sampling because Hoffmann et al. (2020) wanted to make sure that at least one student with formally diagnosed SEN were present in the study. Furthermore, Henke et al. (2017) found that students with a SEN diagnosis were not evenly distributed across classes, and some classes with no SEN diagnosis children. This indicates that simple random sample and stratified random sampling method may not have students with SEN diagnosis in some of the classes in their studies.

Data were gathered through sociometric (Hoffmann et al. 2020; Henke et al. 2017; Broom, K 2020). (Bacete et al. 2017; Pinto et al. 2019; Peru et al. 2015; Garrote et al. 2020; Wilbert et al. 2020) and semi- structured interview methods (Bacete et al. 2017) and were coded and analysed according to the principles of the inductive data-driven analysis approach. The sociometric analysis was done using the Indegree and outdegree graph to see patterns of who nominated who. An Outdegree is when person A nominated person B, and indegree is when person A receives a nomination from whomever. The data is computerized to generate a graph connecting all the indegrees and outdegrees.

Interview methods are for students who cannot answer questions due to their disabilities as an ethical consideration and can be seen in the study of (Wilbert et al. 2020). Sociometry is a method for measuring social relationships as it is the most extensively and widely used with good validity and authenticity for children in primary school (Broom, K 2020). Bacete et al. (2017) highlighted that at present, sociometry has been shown to be valid and is perceived to be the most effective way of investigating a child's social experience in the classroom because, according to interpersonal coordination theory by Selman, R (2003), most children aged 6–8 years are cognitively aware of their thoughts, motives, and feelings in social interactions.

There are three distinct ways of collecting data via sociometry; peer ratings, positive peer nominations, and negative peer nominations. If a peer rating method is chosen, participants are asked to rate each of their class peers based on how much they like to play with them or not on a five-point scale. Positive peer nomination is when the subject only nominates who they like to play with, and a negative peer nomination is the opposite; they nominate who they don't like to play with (Wilbert et al. 2020). Broom (2020) argued that negative peer nomination and peer rating have potential ethical implications. For example, a child may discuss their negative nomination when instructed not to, and this may then lead to those who are low-accepted experiencing further social difficulties. Furthermore, the author stresses that peer ratings may be difficult to comprehend for children with SEN. Therefore, the positive nomination method was a preferred choice, and Broom (2020) stated that data could be sought quickly and efficiently.

Peer-rated sociometric was the preferred choice (Pinto et al. 2019; Peru et al. 2015; Garrote et al. 2020; Henke et al. 2017). These researchers wanted to understand how participants feel about each other.

However, Bacete et al. (2017) conducted his methodology based on Grounded Theory and preferred negative peer nomination. While all data from seven studies suggested a positivism paradigm (hypothesis in the research question), Bacete et al. (2017) appealed to both positivism and Interpretivism (open-ended questions) to explore the reasons for rejection. Bacete et al. (2017) used the triangulation method to obtain information from students in an interview extracted from the sociometric questionnaires to investigate further, strengthen the findings, and clarify the rejections. In

addition, the interview was conducted by other research collaborators in the field of educational psychology.

The students, parents, or legal guardians provided written consent in all eight studies and were approved by either the school ethical committees, the educational research association, or related educational governing bodies. The students were informed that participation was not mandatory and that they could stop at any time.

Overview of literature

Social acceptance in classrooms can be crucial for the development of cognitive and social-emotional for every student. Social rejections could lead to mental and emotional issues, and sometimes, students with SEN are at greater risk of rejection, and the outcomes could be fatal (Garrote et al. 2020). For example, the Port Arthur shooting in 1996 in Tasmania (Dudley et al. 2016). This research paper aimed to investigate the perception and attitude of typically developing students towards students with special educational needs in mainstream primary school classrooms and whether or not students with SEN are socially accepted or rejected by their peers.

There appears to be strong evidence from all eight studies which significantly indicated that students with SEN were found to be considerably less accepted than their typically developing peers (Hoffmann et al. 2020; Henke et al. 2017; Broom, K 2020; Bacete et al. 2017; Pinto et al. 2019; Peru et al. 2015; Garrote et al. 2020; Wilbert et al. 2020).

Sociometric peer nominations were used in the study of (Broomhead, K 2019; Wilbert et al. 2020; Hoffmann et al. 2020). On average, ‘typically developing’ participants achieved considerably more nominations than ‘with SEN’ groups. In addition, peer nomination revealed that participants with SEN nominated each other while most typically developing peers nominated other typically developing students. This clearly shows that participants without SEN were friends with other students without SEN, and students with SEN were friends with other students with SEN. Therefore, results from these studies show that students with SEN are rejected by students without SEN.

A different method of sociometric (peer rated) was used by (Garrote et al. 2020; Peru et al. 2015; Henke et al. 2017), which also shows students with SEN are less favorable. Each student was provided with a list of all classmate’s names and were asked to rate how much they liked to play with every single one on a scale from 1 to 5. ‘I like to play with X’ = 5 to ‘I do not like to play with X’ = 1 or neutral = 3. (Note – each study used different wordings for their scales. Example, from ‘friends’ to ‘no friends’). Among students with SEN, most average acceptance scores were low, and the TD students received the highest number of scores. Again, another powerful indicator that proves that peers reject students with SEN.

It concerns to see even though Pinto et al. (2019) used a combination of peer rating and

nomination. The results are still in line with all the other seven studies mentioned in this research paper. Pinto et al, (2019) showed that students without SEN had the most nominations and received the highest scores, while students with SEN had the lowest or no nominations and scores.

While most studies focused on who is rejected and who is not Bacete et al. (2017) took one step further and questioned why and which behavioral characteristics lead children with SEN to be accepted or

rejected by their peers. This study adopted the negative nomination sociometric method and combined open-ended questions to collect the reasons given by the rejecters. Axial coding was used to simplify concepts and was categorized during the interview and found that unfriendliness and lack of companionship, aggressive, dominating and antisocial behaviors, fighting and disruptive behaviors make up 80 percent of why their peers reject them. In addition, most students believe this type of abnormal social behavior is seen as a risk to other children's physical health and safety. Therefore, students with problematic behaviors and low levels of social behaviors were less accepted by the peer group (Bacete et al. 2017).

This is why teachers must promote a classroom for all students to acquire and practice cooperative and prosocial behaviors in the peer group to increase their level of social acceptance. From a pedagogical and educational perspective, the quality of student-teacher interactions is potentially under the

teacher’s control, and teachers serve as a reference frame for students’ social preferences and social behavior, as this can be seen in the study of Wullschleger et al. (2020); Klang et al. (2020). This study shows that teacher’s classroom management strategy (teachers’ feedback and peer-assisted learning) can impact students’ learning processes and is also an essential element in facilitating student social acceptance in inclusive classrooms. (Wullschleger et al. 2020; Klang et al. 2020).

Conclusion

Overall, studies have identified complexities regarding students with SEN in mainstream primary school, and the findings strongly suggest that students with SEN are at risk of social exclusion. Research also shows that students with a SEN diagnosis are less accepted and are rejected by students without a SEN diagnosis. Students with SEN prefer to be friends with one another, while students without SEN chooses friends without SEN (Henke et al. 2017).

Analysis revealed that even though different sociometric methods were used in some of the studies, they all had the same results showing that SEN students had lower social acceptance and more challenging social experiences than their typically developing peers (Hoffmann et al. 2020; Henke et al. 2017; Broom, K 2020). (Bacete et al. 2017; Pinto et al. 2019; Peru et al. 2015; Garrote et al. 2020; Wilbert et al. 2020). Nevertheless, this raises questions on whether inclusive education in mainstream school settings has the desired effects on academic, social, and emotional development for students with SEN as parents would expect.

Clearly, results show that interventions to support children's social skills with SEN in mainstream schools are essential and that teaching strategy may help with students’ acceptance in the classroom (Klang et al. 2020). Therefore, more interventions are needed to improve social conditions for SEN students. This literature review proves and provides a starting point for further research to find a solution to lower the risk of students with SEN being rejected in mainstream primary schools.

References:

Bacete, F, Carrero, P, Perrin, GM & Ochoa, GM 2017, Understanding Rejection between First-and- Second-Grade Elementary Students through Reasons Expressed by Rejecters, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, no. MAR.

Broomhead, KE 2018, ‘Acceptance or rejection? The social experiences of children with special

educational needs and disabilities within a mainstream primary school’, Education 3-13, vol. 47, no. 8, pp. 877–888.

Department of Education and Training, 2019, Inclusive education, viewed on 10 June 2021, < https href="http://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/additional-needs/Pages/default.aspx">www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/additional-needs/Pages/default.aspx>

Dudley, MJ, Rosen, A, Alpers, PA & Peters, R 2016, ‘The port arthur massacre and the national firearms agreement: 20 years on, what are the lessons?’, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 204, no. 10, p. 381– 383.

Garrote, A, Felder, F, Krähenmann, H, Schnepel, S, Sermier, DR & Moser, OE 2020, Social Acceptance in Inclusive Classrooms: The Role of Teacher Attitudes Toward Inclusion and Classroom

Management, Frontiers in Education, vol. 6.

Henke, T, Bogda, K, Lambrecht, J, Bosse, S, Koch, H, Maaz, K & Spörer, N 2017, ‘Will you be my friend? A multilevel network analysis of friendships of students with and without special educational needs backgrounds in inclusive classrooms’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, vol. 20, no. 3, p. 449.

Hoffmann, L, Wilbert, J, Lehofer, M & Schwab, S 2020, ‘Are we good friends? – Friendship preferences and the quantity and quality of mutual friendships’, European Journal of Special Needs Education, pp. 1– 15.

Klang, N, Olsson, I, Wilder, J, Lindqvist, G, Fohlin, N & Nilholm, C 2020, ‘A Cooperative Learning

Intervention to Promote Social Inclusion in Heterogeneous Classrooms’, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 11.

Peru, A, Nepi, LD, Fioravanti, J & Nannini, P 2015, ‘Social acceptance and the choosing of favourite classmates: A comparison between students with special educational needs and typically developing students in a context of full inclusion’, British Journal of Special Education, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 319–337.

Pinto, C, Baines, E & Bakopoulou, I 2019, ‘The peer relations of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools: The importance of meaningful contact and interaction with peers’, British Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 89, no. 4, pp. 818–837.

Selman, R. (2003). The Promotion of Social Awareness: Powerful Lesson from Partnership of Developmental Theory and Classroom Practice. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Wilbert, J, Urton, K, Krull, J, Kulawiak, P, Schwalbe, A & Hennemann, T 2020, ‘Teachers’ Accuracy in Estimating Social Inclusion of Students With and Without Special Educational Needs’, Frontiers in Education, vol. 5.

Wullschleger, A, Garrote, A, Schnepel, S, Jaquiéry, L & Moser Opitz, E 2020, ‘Effects of teacher feedback behavior on social acceptance in inclusive elementary classrooms: Exploring social referencing processes in a natural setting’, Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 60.

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  • Posted on : April 04th, 2023
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