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

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:48 authored by Nicholas, J
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.


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Copyright 2017 the author

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  • Open

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