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Ágnes Németh Tóth: Teacher Attitudes and Inclusive Education

The inclusive approach is a recent theory, appearing in society, policy and education in the past twenty years in Eastern Europe. The notion of inclusive education is mostly used with regard to the social acceptance of disadvantaged persons, members of ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The first two of these groups were never assigned to a separate sub-system of education in Hungary, thus applying the idea of inclusiveness to them is a new use of the term. The third groups, students with disabilities, however, were educated in separate institutions, based on medical categorisation, in Eastern Europe. It is a tradition of centuries which does require the idea of inclusion to change it. This study targets a few theoretical and practical dilemmas of differentiating between disabilities and full integration/inclusion. The Hungarian approach is compared to the traditions of other European countries. Also the changes in teachers’ attitudes are examined regarding integration in the last two decades in Hungary. Specifically, teachers’ thinking related to students with special needs and disabled students attending mainstream schools is targeted to identify where teachers are with regard to their readiness for integration. A regional research project on teachers’ opinions was carried out in the Western Transdanubian Region in Hungary in 2007. 170 mainstream teachers in ten different schools were asked to fulfil our questionnaire. All of these schools identify themselves as inclusive institutions in their documents of establishment. The present survey’s outcome faced the Pedagogy Department of NYME with a major challenge, in addition to providing BA degree courses. It also organises postgraduate training courses for in-practice teachers within the region. Research in this area is both unprecedented and extremely valuable. We hope to change the thematic and the topics of the usual postgraduate teacher training courses by providing them with the rudiments on special needs and with information badly needed to identify, redirect and change their attitude towards students with SEN. We will also enhance the courses offered for in-practice colleagues by adding to the range courses on ways to get to know students with SEN and on methods to measure the efficiency of teaching. These two new postgraduate courses are currently undergoing preparation for accreditation.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 109. Number 2. 105-120. (2009)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Némethné Tóth Ágnes, Nyugat-magyarországi Egyetem, Savaria Egyetemi Központ. H–9700 Szombathely, Károlyi Gáspár tér 4.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia