South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
NEL, Norma et al. A comparative perspective on teacher attitude-constructs that impact on inclusive education in South Africa and Sweden. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.1, pp. 74-90. ISSN 2076-3433.
This article is based on joint research, between academics from South Africa and Sweden, comparing the influence of South African and Swedish teachers' attitudes towards the practical application of inclusive education (IE) in the classroom. The aim of the study was to identify and investigate problem areas pertaining to teachers' attitudes to IE. Attitudes often relate to interaction with others. This study departs from Festiger's theory of cognitive dissonance, which deals with the influence of people's attitudes and attitude change. In this research teachers from South Africa and Sweden completed the same questionnaire on perceptions pertaining to IE in their school system. A number of attitude-constructs were derived from the data via exploratory factor analysis methodology. Attitude-constructs included policy issues and specialised support; practical implementation of IE; teacher support structures; teachers' receptiveness of IE implementation; feasibility of proposed IE practices; and role of special schools in an IE environment. Negative responses to some of the attitude constructs identified problem areas in Swedish and South African inclusive systems. The comparative nature of the work enabled the researchers to suggest remedial action within each country'ssocio-economic setting, and in this way affect change in teacher attitudes.