Ordinary Teachers' Attitudes Towards Teachers Who Teach Intellectually Disabled Children in Selected Lusaka District Schools
Mando, Buleti Rodrick
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the attitudes of ordinary teachers towards teachers who teach children with intellectual impairments in Lusaka District schools in Lusaka Province. A survey approach was used in conducting this research. Data were collected through interviews and questionnaires from a sample of 10 head teachers and 55 ordinary teachers selected to accurately represent the population under study. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) from which frequencies, percentages and graphs were generated while qualitative data obtained through interviews were coded and grouped by establishing the emerging themes. The study found out that the attitudes of head teachers and ordinary teachers towards teachers of the intellectually impaired children varied. Some head teachers and ordinary teachers showed some positive attitudes towards the teachers of the intellectually impaired children. They perceived these teachers as hardworking, tolerant, creative and caring. On the other hand, some head teachers and ordinary teachers perceived the teachers of intellectually impaired children to be emotional and that they tended to think and behave like the children they taught. These negative attitudes exhibited by head teachers and ordinary teachers towards the teachers of intellectually impaired children could partly be attributed to the anti-social behaviour of the teachers of the intellectually impaired children because in most cases they tended to isolate themselves. The study also revealed that the teachers who taught the intellectually disabled children were stigmatised by some head teachers and ordinary teachers who called them all sorts of names such as "teachers of fools, teachers of imbeciles, teachers of idiots, teachers of mad children, teachers of lunatics" - associating them with the behaviour of the children they taught which in due course had a negative bearing on teachers of the intellectually disabled children. Suggested measures by respondents to change the negative attitudes of some head teachers and ordinary teachers towards the teachers of the intellectually impaired children included: organising regular seminars and workshops on Special Education Needs (SEN) for both head teachers and ordinary teachers in schools; conducting in-service short courses in special education for both head teachers and ordinary teachers in schools; involving both the ordinary teachers and the teachers of the intellectually impaired children in all school activities and sensitizing both the ordinary teachers and the teachers of the intellectually impaired children to understand that they possessed the same qualifications and no one was inferior to the other. The study recommended that: • More programmes should be introduced in schools to specifically sensitise head teachers and ordinary teachers to develop positive attitudes towards the teachers of intellectually impaired children. • The Ministry of Education should introduce a department of education for children with intellectual disabilities in all colleges of education so that graduates from these colleges would have knowledge of teaching the children with intellectual impairments. • The Ministry of Education should sensitize ordinary teachers on the importance of teaching children with intellectual impairments through holding regular seminars and workshops so as to enhance the relationship between ordinary teachers and the teachers of the intellectually impaired children.