What is it about?

Since 1994, many countries have improved their education policies. This is especially true for Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) students. To ensure a good experience for SEND students, schools have to first create a welcoming environment for them. Researchers interviewed 70 teachers from comprehensive elementary schools in Saudi Arabia. They examined the opinions and beliefs of these teachers about SEND students. The findings of the study suggest that different teachers understand ‘disability’ differently. Some teachers view disability as associated with a disease. Others see disability as the product of birth circumstances and ability to learn. When teachers view disability as a disease, SEND students may be discouraged. This can make them want to leave general schools and join special schools. But teachers who view disability as the product of social barriers can help students improve. This can help give SEND students a more welcoming environment in schools. The findings also revealed that some teachers are in favor of sending SEND students to general schools. However, others feel that SEND students may make the teaching and learning in these schools difficult. Teachers should be trained to have a better understanding of ‘disability’. This will help SEND students stay in general schools. They suggest using “dialogic learning”, i.e., learning through discussions, to do this. The right words should be used to describe disabled people in policy documents and textbooks. This can support a more encouraging view of SEND students among teachers.

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Why is it important?

Teachers play a key role in the educational system. Their beliefs and opinions have a great impact on educational policies opportunities for SEND students. KEY TAKEAWAY: Teachers in Saudi Arabia's schools have mixed views about SEND students. Teachers should be trained to see disability in a more positive light. This can create a more welcoming environment for SEND students in schools. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 4 - Quality Education • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

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This page is a summary of: A Dialogical Inquiry of Elementary School Teachers’ Perspectives on Inclusive Education of Students With Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND), SAGE Open, April 2023, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/21582440231162056.
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