Teachers’ Attitude Toward Students with Disabilities in Saudi Arabian Secondary Schools

Introduction

The Saudi Education System

From the information sourced from to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (2010), it can be said that the education system of Saudi Arabia Kingdom has grown dramatically as compared to its founding almost 78 years ago.  At the start, the system of education favored only the privileged in the society – the children of the wealthy and the elite. This has changed drastically by evolving of the education sector; this can be seen by the construction of over 25000 schools in Saudi Arabia.  Now education is provided to all people from all walks of life in the society. The government pays for the schooling of all students.

Those people who had disabilities in Saudi Arabia before 1958 did not receive any form of special education as per their needs. It was the parents who came to provide this education to their kids. However, this began to change after 1958 when blind students got to receive special education in special schools. The Ministry of Education also established the Dept. of Special Learning to cater for students with disabilities and providing rehabilitation for them.

Teachers in various institutions have various attitudes towards students with disabilities. This paper will be looking at the attitude of teachers towards students with disabilities in Saudi Arabian Secondary Schools in the city of Jeddah.

The teacher’s attitude towards a student matters most especially regarding their performance. The negative attitude towards a certain student by a teacher may affect the student adversely, especially the disabled who have a fragile nature.

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Hypothesis

A teacher’s attitude towards a student may affect how a student performs and what they become later in their future. The disabled students especially need much attention and care and, therefore, teachers have to have skills and training that is necessary for handling these students.

There will be a positive attitude by teachers towards their students, especially the disabled ones. This can be attributed to special training instilled in teachers on how to handle students with needs like those of the disabled. This is not the case, however, in all these schools; there may be exhibited negative and disapproving behavior by teachers towards their students. This crops up due to a number of reasons that may lead to a teacher disapproving his or her students. To satisfy this study, there were many questions that arose:

  • What is the attitude of teachers towards their students in these schools?
  • What are the effects of positive and negative attitude from teachers to their students?
  • What makes one have a certain attitude towards their student?

The project, therefore, will be conducted to find the answers to these questions and possibly find a solution to this and provide a few recommendations.

Chances

This research is feasible and can be conducted to come up with results that conform to the hypotheses and the research questions that were generated. The perspectives of the teacher will vary from negative to positive with a variation of reasons accompanying each. Various studies have been conducted in relation to the education that is specially made for the disabled. These studies had much information that was not present many years ago.

Literature Review

This was conducted so as to come up with a solid theoretical base for my paper and also show this as a piece of work that has never been done before. I will examine several texts and premises that are related to my field of research.

The first text that I will analyze is The Experience of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Mainstreaming Students with Special Educational Needs in Public Schools (A Success Story) by Nasser A. Al-Mousa, Ph.D. This text is a scientific documentation that talks of the efforts in Saudi Arabia of mainstreaming students who have disabilities and consequently need special education into regular schools with normal students. This text talks about the segregation that disabled people faced in the society, the ignorance of the society to their needs. Islam has been quoted as a driving force that led to better treatment of these disabled people.

People with disabilities have rights that are supposed to be looked into. Individuals with disabilities have the right to public goods like education. In addition, they should participate in learning in public schools for normal students. The study showed that there was the importance of mainstreaming and incorporating students into learning institutions. It also showed that there was no major rift between the normal and the exceptional students.

Teachers’ attitudes towards mainstreaming were seen to lack stability as some had positive views while others had negative attitudes due to reasons as nature of the disability, the sex, experience in that field among others.

This study was a success as the mainstreaming was successful all over the Kingdom.

The other text I analyzed was Special Education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges, Perspectives, Future Possibilities by Turki Alquraini, Ohio University. The text provided a background of the educational system in Saudi Arabia and especially in the development of special education in the Kingdom. The author proposes many things to be done so as to streamline the provision of quality education to disabled people.

A piece of information that was closely related to my study was the perspective teachers had towards the general education for students who had disabilities in the nation. There are many studies that show that the teacher plays a vital part in the success of having and including students with disabilities in their classes and schools. If there is a positive perspective, the success of a certain program was guaranteed. If it was a negative perception, there were bound to be problems.

Islamic Beliefs have also contributed a lot to the fight for equal rights for all, be it the disabled or the poor among others. It has led to the establishment of schools and even mainstreaming of disabled people into the institutions for normal students (House, 2012).

With these texts, I was able to base my research on the field that had not been ventured by many.

Methodology

These can be said to be the tools that were used so as to collect data that was vital in proving of the hypotheses generated. Various methods were employed. The method to be used was determined by the data that was to be collected.

Primary data

In primary data collection, various methods were used to get this data. They include:

  • Observation: this was the use of eyes and other physical cues to collect the needed data by the researcher. This was handy in situations like observing teacher student interaction, the behavior of teachers to students among others.
  • Sampling, this involved the use of various tools like questionnaires, interviews among others, especially administered to various students, teachers and other stakeholders.

Secondary Data

This was sourced from previously related studies like those mentioned above, from school records and the records of the Ministry of Education. Also, the internet was widely employed in the research.

The secondary and primary data sources complemented each other and often brought out the validity of the data involved.

Conclusions

It was seen that there were many factors that influenced the attitude of a teacher towards their student. These comprised the extent of the student’s disability.  It was seen that physical educators preferred to work with students who had mild disabilities rather than those students who had severe disabilities. Teachers have varied perceptions as rejection and indifference that was pointed towards students with disabilities. This was at times grounded on the levels of the disability may it be hidden or obvious. Rejection by teachers was more likely to affect students who had severe cases of disabilities than those who had mild cases.

There is stress in this study on investigating the perceptions of teachers towards their disabled students. Despite all this, there has been little research that has been done. It is, therefore, paramount for studies such as this to be conducted and this will save the country much time and money spent in streamlining operations in institutions with disabled students as the Saudi Arabian Secondary Schools at the city of Jeddah.