ALTERNATIVE TEACHERS’ CHALLENGES IN TEACHING LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
A Thesis Proposal
The Faculty of the Graduate School
Saint Columban College
In Partial Fulfilment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts in Education’
Major in Educational Management
MARIA TERESA U. LAROTIN
More than one billion individuals around the world, of whom almost ninety- three million are children, live with certain form of disability. Persons with incapacities ride differences in their day by day lives, and have less possibility to access a quality education which takes place in an inclusive setting (Parker, 2015). This scenario shared by the Worldwide Association of Special Education can mean a shortage of special education teachers.
Shortage of special education teachers is a global problem. In United States, many states are into the problem. For instance, in Oklahoma, there is a lack of special education teachers; In New York, the same problem is existing (Morris, 2016). As such, to fill the gap, non-graduates of special education are employed to solve the problem. England, Germany, Canada, and many more find the need for special education teachers a real demand that hopes for adequate supply. Yet, the problem becomes an ongoing scenario (Madek, 2015). In India, most kids with disabilities are not getting any proper learning, and early intervention for young learners with extraordinary needs is rare. There is an extensive shortage of special-education teachers and related service providers to work with learners with a kind of special needs.
The hassle of one of this shortage is likewise experienced in the Philippines. As stated, in Metro Manila (at the five largest schools) learner populace displays they still lack of trained teachers, proper amenities and equipment while the number of learners with special needs remains to grow. Nationwide, the figure of SPED enrollees rose by means of 13.04% from 38,671 in 2014 to forty-three thousand seven hundred twelve a year after, according to latest data from the Department of Education. With the shortage, alternative teachers are made to teach. (Barrrido, 2014).
The shortage is also happening locally. In the place of Zamboanga Sibugay, numerous non-special education degree holders, non-holders of master’s degree are hired to teach special learners responding to the special desires of learners who are having several difficulties – as an example, the once who’ve difficulties in seeing, listening , and those who need attitudinal deficiencies. Some others are difficult to deal with — those learners who have diffficulty in remembering or concentrating. It is not only the researcher who has gone through this burden however also many others who are teaching in SPED with no educational background in special education and are considered as alternative teachers so as to fill the teaching gap and discourse the learning needs of the special children. This evidently is the outcome of insufficient number of SPED graduate teachers, for this reason, unable to supply the pressing demand.
The local problem on insufficient supply of special education teachers has eventually led to hiring alternative teachers to reply to the call of demand. Yet, this plight genuinely poses challenges not only to local alternative teachers as being non-specialized in such area can be rigorous and laborious and even be a possible mismatch of teaching and learning. Yet, relying on expert determination and commitment of instantly born alternative teachers to deal with the special needs of the special learners, so with their professional industry may be an impetus to developing action plan and all methods and ways to definitely convey the special learners into the fore of learning.
As such, this study is carried out to assess the challenges confronting alternative teachers teaching learners with difficulty in remembering and concentrating in some SPED schools offering special education in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Perspective of the Researcher
The researcher is a BEED graduate with general education as her field of concentration from the Holy Name University-Tagbilaran City. She is a master holder, in Guidance and Counseling, yet, unused in her present teaching job as she is dealing learners having special education needs. Though a non-holder of special education degree, she had been a scholar grantee under the auspices of the Department of Education sent in Davao City (University of Southeastern Philippines) to study special education which could be the reason she has been hired as an alternative SPED teacher in Buug SPED Center, Buug Zamboanga since 2008 up to the present. She is presently enjoying the position as SPED Teacher II.
Having developed her passion for special children, her desire to finish graduate studies is awakened, thus, has enrolled at Saint Columban Colleges under the master’s program – Master of Arts in Education major in Special Education to further her knolwedge and skills in dealing with LSENs, much more her pupils who are having difficulty in remembering and concentrating.
It is the researcher’s view that she is an interpretivist. As such, this study leans on interpretivism as she believes that results of this study which are to be drawn upon the lived challenges experienced by alternative SPED teachers can be a grand contribution to helping future alternative teachers teach the learners with mental difficulties or mental disabilities learn from the inspiring truths out of this phenomenological study to realize teaching the LSENs. Despite the shortage of SPED teachers, the alternative teachers have their own way of experiencing self-pride as their dedication and commitment coupled with industry and resourcefulness are good lead to devising and implementing their classroom tasks to address concerned learners.
The conceptual framework of the study in shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The Schematic Diagram of the Conceptual Framework
From the figure above, this study will focus on the challenges encountered by Alternative Teachers teaching Learners with Special Educational Needs. From the responses of the target participants and findings of the study, an implication to policy and practice may be drawn as the output of this research.
Van Kraayenoord, et al (2001) believed that there is a worldwide need for teachers of special education. As such, teaching learners with disabilities can present unique challenges, as learners can occasionally have various incapacities or severe disabilities. For that purpose, special education teachers must be tolerant, flexible and even-tempered.
Baterna (2016) revealed that some challenges encountered by alternative SPED teachers revolve around difficulty in handling behaviour problems among children, curriculum implementation, and coaching and trainings.
Statement of the Problem
This study will assess the alternative teachers’ challenges in teaching learners with difficulty in remembering and concentrating. It will be carried out in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay- selected alternative SPED teachers as research participants teaching learners with special educational needs. It will be conducted this school year 2018-2019.
Specifically, this study seeks answers to the succeeding questions:
1. What are the challenges encountered by alternative SPED teachers in teaching learners with special educational needs?
2. Based on the findings, what implication can be drawn from the study?
Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study has to observe some research parameters, thus, its scope and limitation is detailed below serving as guide of the researcher.
Subject Matter. This study will focus on determining the challenges encountered by alternative teachers teaching special education, especially, those teachers handling learners with intellectual disabilities.
Research Environment and Timeline.This study will be conducted in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay focusing on alternative teachers teaching learners with special educational needs in SPED centers that offer special education.
Research Participants. This study will cover alternative SPED teachers in Zamboanga Sibugay province and who are catering the special educational needs, particularly, of learners with intellectual disability.
Research Design. This study will employ qualitative research design with specific use of phenomenology to gather important data on the lived challenges experienced by alternative teachers handling learners with mental disability. .
Research Methods. This study being qualitative in nature will utilize in-depth interview so as to answer the specific problems posed in this inquiry. With the research participants, it will use one-on-one interview with the target participants to learn about their lived challenges as alternative SPED teachers.
Significance of the Study
This study is highly significant as it sheds lights on the challenges of alternative SPED teachers teaching learners with difficulties in remembering and concentrating. Given their professional commitment to teach special education, this study will therefore give an account of their experienced challenges or problems encountered which will be addressed through coming up with action plan.
Specifically, this study will its following beneficiaries:
Future Alternative Teachers. This study will serve as a document that encourages them on how to be innovative and resourceful in coming up with strategies that will help them beat challenges and problems when so hired as alternative teachers. This study further teaches them to float above problems as they become dedicated and devoted to their teaching services with patience and with passion for the LSENs. This study, finally, with their developed passion and interest for LSENs can inspire to grab opportunities of possessing teaching expertise by attending relevant trainings and seminars or by enrolling in post graduate studies specializing Special Education.
Learners with Special Educational Needs. This study benefits them as they become the receivers of alternative teachers’ efforts in affording them learning in the four-walled classroom despite their disabilities and difficulties.
Future Researchers. This study could inspire them to come up with a similar study exploring other possibilities of covering other learners with different difficulties or deficiencies from other research environment.
Definition of Terms
Some terminologies that are constantly used and are recurring in this study are defined operationally to give easy understanding to the readers by giving the meanings of the terminologies based on how they are used in this inquiry. The following terms below have their operative definitions:
Alternative Teachers. They are the teachers who are not graduates of Special Education course, yet, are hired to render teaching services to address the special learning needs of learners with special educational needs.
Challenges. They are the problems, difficulties experienced or encountered by alternative SPED teachers as they offer instructional delivery to learners with special educational needs to address their special needs.
Learners with Special Educational Needs. They are the school learners enrolled in SPED, which have individual personal difficulties or deficiencies — such as those children having difficulty in remembering and concentrating whose learning needs must be met to keep them behaved and attention-focused in class.
SPED. This refers to Special Education to cater the special needs of the learners with special educational needs.
Structure of the Thesis
The study will consist five chapters:
Chapter 1 includes the introduction of the study, perspective of the researcher, the conceptual framework, statement of the problem, scope and limitation of the study, significance of the study, definition of terms and the structure of the thesis.
Chapter 2 discusses the review of related literature, tackles on the published and unpublished books, articles, theses, blogs and online articles.
Chapter 3 covers Research Design, Research Environment, Research Participants, Table 1 Research Participants, Research Tool, Data Gathering Method, Ethical Considerations in Research.
Chapter 4 deals on the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data.
Chapter 5 covers the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.
Review of Related Literature
This chapter reviews the literature related to the concepts used in this study.
The Alternative SPED Teachers
There are several provisions in DEPED Order No. 26 (1997) which cares the basic education among children with special needs, namely, the exceptional/talented, the difficulty in remembering, the difficulty in seeing, the difficulty in hearing, the difficulty in mobility, the learning disabled, the speech defectives, the children with behaviour problems, the difficulty in self-help skills and those with health problems through the formal association. As such, all divisions will organize a minimum of one SPED Center which can accommodate children with special need. The institutionalization of education among children with special needs has consequently encouraged the production of Special Education teacher graduates to respond to the above order.
But, teacher graduates of Special Education appear scarce. As reported, in Metro Manila with five biggest schools offering special education, student populace displays its growing figure in which enrollees keep on increasing. With the problem, alternative teachers are made to teach. (Sotor, 2015).
The shortage has then caused in hiring or assigning general education teachers to reply to the problem. In runway with the study of Aguilar (2015) whose paper was presented at DLSU RESEARCH Assembly 2015, DE La Salle University, capital of the Philippines reveals that general education teachers are shuffle to educate with children having handicap which in good turn pose challenge on the part of the said teachers assigned in particular schools in Cavite.
In New Jersey, according to Mader (2017), general education teachers with no trainings in special education are issued emergency teaching certificates to address the need of teaching special children.
Special Education in the Philippine Island
This sections deal on the perception of special education in the republic which is organization-based. Special Education talk about the provision of teaching techniques, modified tools and supplies, manageable settings, and added interventions intended to talk the needs of pupils with learning variations, intellectual health troubles, bodily and developmental disabilities, and giftedness. Setting up of special education is concluded from provisions of the 1987 Philippine grammatical constituents. Item II, phase 17 gives that the government must offer priority to education, even as Article XIV, section 1 assurances that this education be accessible to all: suitable steps should be taken. Section II of Title II of the Magna Carta for Incapacitate Individuals, RA 7277, added several commendations on special education in the Philippines. Sec. 12 commands that the “Government shall yield into attention the special necessities of disabled individuals in the making of scholastic programs and platforms.” Instead, learning institutes are cheered “to bear in mind the special needs of disabled persons with admiration to the usage of school amenities, course plans, bodily schooling needs, and other related concern.” Definitely, learning institutions are recommended to deal “auxiliary services with a view to help the learning manner for incapacitated persons. “Sec. 14 of RA 7277 bids that the country “shall install, preserve and care comprehensively, suitable and unified scheme of special education for difficulty in seeing, difficulty in hearing, difficulty in remembering and other types of unique children in all regions of the country. “But, there may be still no sufficient law which orders special education within the Philippines.There are 2 Senate bills: SB No. 517, the Special Education Act of 2007, presented by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and SB No. 2020, the Special Education Act of 2008, stated by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. Sen. Estrada’s bill proposes that special education centers in tactical places which will be provide available facilities to offer for learners with special needs. It commands that there must be at least one Special Education Center for every school division, and as a minimum of three SPED Centers for school divisions with Children with Exceptional Needs. Moreover, it commands that the Government shall institutionalize a suitable and appropriate informative program for each child with exceptional needs (Sec. 2). The bill pursues to allow the parents of CSN, through imparting them with information near the complete range of facilities and likely placement choices (Sec. 3, para. d). It further pursues to authorize the teachers and different caregivers by way of providing them with the ability to detect, refer and interfere with evolving disorders and disabilities. (Sec. 3, para.E). But possibly, the most patronizing ideal as recognized by the bill is to “effectuate good sized and fantastic modifications in network attitudes closer to disability and the need to offer special schooling, care and other desires of children with special needs. (Sec. 3, para. G)
The supposed Education Act of 2007 identifies 10 groups of Children with Special Desires (Sec. 4, para. f): 1.exceptional kids and fast learners 2.difficulty in remembering 3.Difficulty in seeing 4.difficulty in hearing 5.children with conduct problems6.Difficulty in mobility7.children with distinctive health problems8.children with learning incapacities 9.speech impaired10.persons with trouble in adoptive skills. Sen. Santiago’s consignment is significantly the same as Sen. Estrada’s. However, these two consignments simply promulgate something which DepEd had apparently been doing as early as 1997. In DepEd Order No. 27, s. 1997, all divisions have been obliged to establish at least one SPED Center to cater the children with one- of -a -kind instructional needs. The indispensable goal of special education in the public school is the integration or mainstreaming of learners with special needs into the regular school scheme and subsequently in the society, following the doctrines of The Salamanca Statement on Values, Program and Practice in Special Education. Out of 84.4 million Filipinos, about 5.486 million (13%) are individuals with extraordinary needs. Around 4.8% are provided with proper academic services, but the 95.2% of those with exceptionalities is no longer served. In 1995 to 1996 about 80,000 exceptional needs learners enrolled. 156,270 by school year 2004 to 2005: 77,152 had been mentally gifted and 79,118 were children with disabilities: 40, 260 learning disabilities 11,597 difficulty in hearing 2,670 difficulties in seeing1 2,456 difficulties in remembering 5,112 behavior issues 760 orthopedically disabled 5,172 children with autism 912 speech defectives 142 chronically ill and 32 children with difficulty in mobility.
Challenges Encountered by Alternative Teachers
Just like in the case of Maria Theresa Marquina, 41, where she teaches at Nagpayong Elementary School (NES) in Pasig City. Marquina, a grade six teacher since 2008, was once assigned last year to a SPED class where her learners were typically children with difficulty in mobility and children with difficulty in remembering. She ponders herself hardly ever geared up to educate SPED classes as she is not a graduate of special education but solely joined some sign-language and sensitivity seminars prior to her first shift. Marquina and some other teachers face but once more the many challenges of dealing SPED classes, carrying the burden of not just instilling knowledge on their learners with disabilities but also making sure of their safety while in class (Sotor, 2015).
The study of Briones (2016) revealed that non-special education teachers encountered challenges such as the proper curriculum to teach or lessons content and therefore commended that professional development and pre-service teacher education programs geared to the most teaching practices could answer the challenges.
Aguilar (2015) disclosed in her study the three major challenges faced by general education teachers handling special education: Internalization of Everyday Guiding Philosophies; Problems Dealing with Present Problems in Class; and, Teaching the Content.
Madek (2016) revealed that general education teachers teaching special education met challenges as to obviously turning in the how to teach to “different needs.” Thus, teachers considered need to expose to the standards that must be taught and lack of support from school administrators.
Wright (2016) revealed countless challenges experienced by general education teachers handling special education such as: Risky Paperwork. Apart from the tough work they experience in the classroom during school hours, teachers use hours and hours verifying learner progress.” Access to better technology that marks it easier for special education teachers to write standards-based Individual Education Plan goals, gather data, monitor improvement, and organize some of the vital documentation can free up time for teachers to put additional energy into instruction.
Briones (2015) also quoted some challenges encountered by some general education teachers teaching special education such as: Challenging Conduct: Special education students are much more possible to involve in challenging behaviour. Challenging conduct is reliably the number one challenge teachers report facing in the classroom. Regularly addressing challenging behaviour in the classroom can be draining and discouraging. As such, there is a need to for Professional Growth, Coaching, and Support which can go a long way in increasing teacher self-assurance in their capability to tackle challenging behaviour in the classroom and create them more effective at doing so. Ensuring that teachers have ready access to high-quality professional growth in evidence-based schemes for addressing challenging behaviour can expand self-assurance and functionality and free up time for educators to devote extra time teaching and less time disciplining.
Based on the assessment of related literature, it has been discovered that there is a lack of resources linked to the relations of the two concepts. Hence, this study is intended to focus on the challenges encountered by the alternative teachers in teaching learners with special educational needs.
This chapter presents the research methodology of the study. It includes discussion on the research design and research methods covering the research environment, research subjects, sampling techniques, instrumentation, data gathering techniques, and statistical treatment, and ethical consideration.
This study will make use of qualitative design with specific focus of phenomenology as it will explore the lived experiences of the alternative teachers handling special education, much more, of their encountered challenges. Though the design merely treats a few participants or informants (considered as its weakness), yet, phenomenology is said to be useful and suitable as it tries to reveal the phenomenon from the lens of the informants who really experience the situation. According to Trist (2013), phenomenology is very applicable when dealing with existed experiences of the informants.
Phenomenological design is the most applicable for it attempts to set aside biases and fixed assumptions about human involvements, feelings, and reactions to a particular situation.
This study will be conducted in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, especially, the different SPED Centers in Zamboanga Sibugay Division. The division has four School Learning Centers (SCL).
SCL-I is comprising of (1) Ipil SPED Center; a public school specifically set within the municipality of Ipil and was established on June 1, 2004 fourteen years ago. It has two alternative SPED teacher with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:12; (2) R.T. Lim Central SPED Center is a recognized SPED Center situated in the town proper of R.T. Lim formally known as Surabay with one alternative SPED teachers and has a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:8; and (3) Titay SPED Center was established on June 01, 2007, eleven years past. It has one alternative SPED teacher with a ratio of 1:13.
SLC-II is comprising of Kabasalan SPED Center, a public school situated within the town of Kabasalan and was recognized as SPED Center in the year 2003, 15 year ago and has a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:8 but with no alternative SPED teacher. Naga Central SPED Center is a public school located at Purok 3 in the town of Naga with 1 alternative teacher and has a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:8.
SLC-III is comprising (1) Buug Central SPED Center where the researcher is an alternative SPED teacher teaching 23 LSENs with different exceptionalities; (2) Malangas SPED Center specifically placed atPurok 2 of Malangas with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:5 and has two alternative teacher; (3) Diplahan SPED Class with no alternative SPED teacher; and (4) Siay SPED Class was being recognized in the year 2010, located in the municipality of Siay, in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, and within the region of Zamboanga Peninsula, with one alternative SPED teacher and has a ratio 1:13.
SLC- IV is Payao SPED Class with one SPED major teacher.
Figure 2 Map of Zamboanga Sibugay
The research participants of the study are presented in Table 1.
The Research Participants
No. Schools Number of Alternative Teachers Teaching Learners with Special Educational Needs
N Population n
1. Ipil SPED Center 8 2
2. R.T. Lim SPED Center 5 1
3. Titay SPED Center 5 1
4. Naga SPED Center 5 1
5. Siay SPED Center 3 1
6. Malangas SPED Center 5 2
Based on the table above, the research participants will only be the alternative teachers with a total of 8. Though this number will all be considered, yet, when responses during the interview will have similar responses at 4 or 5 alternative teachers, final participants will soon be determined after the actual interview.
The study will make use of in-depth interview, a face-to-face conversation between a researcher and a participant involving a transfer of information to the interviewer (Cresswell, 2012) which will generate oral responses. English language will be used during the interview but participants then have the opportunity to choose their own descriptive vocabulary while answering questions in which their answers will not be translated in the vernacular dialect. During the interview, the researcher will audio-tape their responses so as to document well and is made ready for use in data analysis.
Data Gathering Techniques
The researcher has to observe procedures in data gathering. She will have her initial task — write a request letter to ask permission from Division Superintendent of Zamboanga Sibugay. As soon as permission is granted, the researcher will proceed to the target SPED Centers and ask permission from the respective school principals, she too, will inform all the concerned teachers asking for their time and cooperation to participate in this study.
A questionnaire guide will be given to the respondents ahead after getting the approval from school administrators to ensure the giving of honest answers since they have been prepared for the scheduled interview. Then, this will be followed by a one-on-one interview by the researcher herself to the participants in each school given the arranged schedule for each of the participants.
Data to be gathered which are based on the oral responses of the participants will be analyzed qualitatively (phenomenological, in particular), thus, experiences of the alternative teachers as to their challenges encountered will be detailed meaningfully. Moreover, data will be analyzed further based on the common responses of the participants, thus, the data will be presented and analyzed based on themes.
Ethical Considerations in Research
This study has to value some moral considerations. After the permission granted by the school principals, she will convene purposively the research participants to ask them of their time and sincere participation. For the researcher to get assurance of their participation, she will provide consent form to the target research participants to signify of their willingness to participate in this study. Participants’ names and their disclosures through their oral responses (from the interview) will be considered as highly confidential.