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An Exploration of Special Education Teachers’ Practices in a Preschool Intellectual Disability Centre in Saudi Arabia

ALGAHTANI, FARIS (2017) An Exploration of Special Education Teachers’ Practices in a Preschool Intellectual Disability Centre in Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Exploration of special educational teachers’ practices in a centre for children with intellectual disabilities in Saudi Arabia has been shown to be influenced by the Islamic and Arab context together with differing understandings of disability and American-influenced treatments of what are seen as inappropriate behaviours. This study explores teachers’ practices together with their perceptions of the challenges and barriers they face, and strategies they consider could improve the delivery of services for the children they work with. In this interpretive qualitative study, data collected from semi-structured interviews with fifteen teachers in a single centre are presented under the three main research questions. Teachers emphasised the importance of correcting behaviour as a prerequisite for more academic learning, with some acknowledgement of a child’s need for freedom. The findings indicate that provision for children with intellectual disabilities is informed mainly by Islamic teachings and American methods. The principal methods adopted from America are behaviourally based: TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children), which emphasises structure in the physical environment, schedules and methods of teaching tasks and skills; and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), which aims to improve behaviours and skills by focusing on detailed breakdown and teaching of task components and rewarding desired behaviours with positive reinforcement. Future improvements require certain key issues to be addressed, especially professional development and staff support for special needs teachers, links between special and mainstream teaching, and collaboration with parents and colleagues. The thesis concludes by proposing that future improvements would be secured by the adoption of a more child-centred approach which benefits from constructivist teaching methods and which may be more suited to an Islamic approach to childhood.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.718837
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 12:43
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17799

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