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Dual enrolled students attending mainstream and special schools : the perspectives of special education teachers

Nicholas, J (2017) Dual enrolled students attending mainstream and special schools : the perspectives of special education teachers. Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Dual enrolment for students with a disability is a relatively new policy and
practice and the number of dual enrolled students is relatively low. In Victoria, it is
possible for students with disabilities to be dual enrolled and attend a mainstream
school part of the week, and a special school for the remainder of the week. The
purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of dual enrolled
students from the perspective of teachers in order to identify ways to best support
students, and improve their quality of school life. In the absence of literature that
focuses specifically on dual enrolled students with disabilities, this study drew from
literature on secondary school students with disabilities; the rotations between classes,
the changes in teachers, the inconsistency between settings, differences in
instructional approaches that were thought to provide parallels to the experiences of
dual enrolled students moving between two educational settings during their school
week.
Three special education teachers voluntarily participated by way of an
interview with the author. The findings from this investigation focused on three main
purposes for dual enrolment: (1) dual enrolment as a trial, (2) dual enrolment as
social integration, and (3) dual enrolment as a compromise. Dual enrolment as social
integration was the most recorded reason for dual enrolment arrangements. However,
age and awareness of ‘difference’ was seen to be problematic, as was the complex
changes to relationships and routines. These findings are similar to current research
exploring the inclusion of students with disabilities in secondary school settings.
Based on the theory of self-determination, this investigation hypothesises that to
achieve relatedness teachers must also address students’ innate desire for autonomy
and competency within and across educational settings.
Working as a team across educational settings was the most prominent theme
within the data. Four sub-themes were identified: (1) communication, (2)
collaboration, (3) consistency, and (4) support. All three participants acknowledged
the importance of communication; however, this investigation revealed that little to
no communication and minimal collaboration took place between mainstream and
special teachers. Comments made by participants suggested that the best way to
support teachers is to create time and space that allows for greater communication,
collaboration and engagement across educational settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Keywords: dual enrolment, students with disabilities, mainstream education, special education
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 the Author

Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2017 00:14
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 01:48
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