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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Readiness of Regular Education Teachers towards Inclusive Education in Ghana

Benjamin Adu Gyamfi, Abraham Yeboah
American Journal of Educational Research. 2022, 10(6), 420-431. DOI: 10.12691/education-10-6-8
Received May 08, 2022; Revised June 11, 2022; Accepted June 23, 2022

Abstract

The study examined regular education teachers' readiness for inclusive education in Ghana's Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region. The study employed a descriptive survey design. One hundred and twenty regular education teachers from public basic schools were included in the study through census technique. The data was collected using a questionnaire, and the Cronbach's coefficient alpha for the data was 0.79. The data was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, means, rankings, and standard deviations. Regular education teachers in the Adansi North District were found to be ready for inclusive education. Teachers modified instructional practices in inclusive classrooms to accommodate the requirements of special education learners by pre-teaching difficult concepts prior to the start of classes and offering written as well as oral directions to learners. Teachers indicated their readiness by using appropriate Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) and group work in the inclusive classroom. It was revealed that regular education teachers faced challenges in teaching learners with special needs in inclusive classroom. There was an issue of inadequate teaching and learning materials. It is recommended that even though regular education teachers are ready to implement inclusive education, teachers need to be motivated by the Government of Ghana to show more commitment in ensuring effective implementation of inclusive education in their classrooms. Regular workshops on adaptation of instructional strategies should be organized by Ghana Education Service (GES) to equip teachers on current practices in adapting the instructional strategies in their classrooms to meet the needs of all learners.

1. Introduction

Education systems around the world are undergoing major changes. One of these changes is related to increased school diversity 1. This means that the education system in many countries is increasingly being required to accommodate a large number of learners with different needs. This suggests that education systems are becoming more and more involved. According to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, inclusion is a widely approved programme 2. Inclusive education must ensure the engagement of all learners in schools and involves redesigning school environment, rules, and activities to react to the different needs of learners in their communities 3. The purpose of an inclusive education is to break down the barriers that exist between regular and special education, and to make registered learners feel valued and included in the regular class. Individual learners with special needs get possibilities and confidence in learning freely as a result of being in regular classrooms. The fundamental idea of inclusive education is that, wherever possible, all learners should learn together, regardless of any obstacles or differences that may develop.

According to reference of 4, one of the variables leading to the growth and development of education is the teacher. Nevertheless, in many situations, educational reform has failed because it does not pay close attention to present practices and the demands of those who are supposed to implement them 5. A study by the authors of Wearmouth et al., in South Africa revealed that South African teachers are experiencing a marked lack of awareness about issues affecting inclusive education. This is understandable given the participants' lack of education and experience in handling learners with special educational needs. In 2003/2004, inclusive education, for the first time, was introduced in schools in Ghana under a pilot program, and in 2008, 129 schools were offering inclusive education (IE). The goal of these schools, known as inclusive classrooms, was to provide learners with disabilities and poor learners with the chance to gain education in regular schools 6. An inclusive education policy was designed in 2015 to ensure the complete implementation of inclusive education in all Ghanaian schools. The Ghana Education Service (GES) was responsible with implementation, ensuring that the issues described in the IE policy are implemented at the school level through national, regional, and district decentralized organizations. As part of its implementation, the special education coordinator in the Adansi North District organized a workshop on inclusion education of school heads in the district. Teaching and learning materials were distributed to various schools in the district. This means that all schools and teachers across the country must practice inclusive education.

Nonetheless, in the past, teachers have not prioritized placing learners with special needs in regular classrooms 7. Willingness of teachers to educate learners with disabilities is one of the most essential aspects that allows for the successful inclusion of learners with special educational needs in the general education system. Teachers must be ready to adapt to a common education system in order to fulfill the needs of learners with special educational needs in order to achieve inclusive education. Variables in the school environment, such as the availability of physical and social assistance, are linked to inclusion attitudes. Most importantly, the success of any all-inclusive policy is primarily dependent on the instructors who are ready for it. Are the Adansi North District's regular education teachers ready to detect and handle learners with special needs in their classroom settings?

Teaching strategies could be changed in areas such as content, teaching settings and teaching strategies 8, 9. The authors went on to say that the implementation of teaching and adaptation strategies can be most effective when teachers understand comprehensive teaching strategies and implementation processes at the classroom level. Therefore, to ensure that teachers in the Adansi North District are fully ready to use inclusive education, they must be ready to change instructional methods to meet the demands of special learners. Also, teachers need to use a variety of techniques such as group work, co-curricular activities and collaborative learning that will enable these learners to get along well. Teachers in the general education system face many challenges such as inadequate teaching and learning materials, large classroom sizes and inadequate experience in dealing with severe disabilities when teaching individuals with special needs in the ordinary classroom. Since regular education teachers in the Adansi North District are also in the general education system, they are likely to face similar challenges. In the regular classroom, while teaching learners with exceptional needs, 10 argued that teachers face challenges such as lack of experience in the inclusion setting, inexperience in dealing learners with severe and profound disability and involving all learners in all activities.

1.1. Statement of the Problem

Inclusive education is characterized by a number of problems. Insufficient understanding of inclusive education within the classroom and teachers were not ready to effectively teach learners with disabilities as challenges to inclusive education. Generally, teachers in the classroom have insufficient training needed to teach academic, social or adaptive behaviors to learners with disabilities 9. These findings are important because they highlighted teachers' negative attitudes, lack of knowledge and expertise to understand and apply the concept of inclusive education. Inclusive education is used across the country and it is important to assess teachers' readiness to adhere to this policy. It is also necessary to explore how basic school teachers in the Adansi North district are ready to implement this policy in the district.

Although there is a shortage of study in the Adansi North District in terms of teachers' readiness for inclusive education, informal communication with other teachers while supervising student teachers in the district has revealed that some educators are knowledgeable about inclusive education but as to whether they are ready to implement it in their classrooms is an issue which demands investigation. In addition to the interactions, some teachers were observed during the teaching practice supervisions. It was found out that these teachers had difficulty in ensuring that learners with special needs are effectively socialized. It is as a result of this that the study sought to find out how ready are regular education teachers in the Adansi North District to implement inclusive education in the district.

1.2. Purpose of the Study

• Assess regular education instructors' readiness to modify instructional practices in inclusive classrooms to meet the needs of individuals with special needs.

• Explore regular education teachers’ readiness in ensuring effective socialization in their classrooms for learners with specific needs.

• Find out the challenges regular education teachers face in inclusive classrooms.

1.3. Significance of the Study

The study's findings will identify the methods that regular education teachers in the Adansi North District will need to help them adjust instructional strategies to fulfill the learning demands of learners with special educational needs in inclusive classrooms. The study would provide regular education teachers ways for efficiently socializing youngsters with special educational needs in an inclusive setting. The issues that regular education instructors face in terms of inclusive education in district schools would also be addressed. Finally, the study is expected to generate interest in other researchers to undertake similar studies in other districts.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Bronfenbrenner Bio-ecological Theory

The Bronfenbrenner-bio-ecological model of human development defines four levels of systems that interact with the chronological system 12. Systems have subordinate systems that work with the entire system. According to 13, a person is a component of society's interwoven substructures. Learners are participating in this process since there are obstacles at all levels that contribute to the readiness of regular education teachers in the application of inclusive education. It is vital to note that teacher readiness is a critical aspect in establishing that inclusive education is prioritized in mainstream schools. Bronfenbrenner bio-ecological theory proposes four environmental system standards: micro-system, meso-system, exo-system, and macro-system. The micro-system, meso-system, exo-system, and macro-system all interact with the chrono-system 12. A micro-system consists of a family, class, or systems in the immediate vicinity where a person meets physically, socially and mentally.

That the micro-system contributes to a child's development through the development of a sense of love, support and care. Learners are affected by changes in the family or class environment 12. For example, the problems a child faces at home can affect other family members in conjunction with teachers and other learners at school. Learners who experience family problems can have barriers to learning. The meso-system as, interacting with micro-systems 12. The meso-system has two interactive systems, such as communication between the child's home, peers and school. Experiences in the family or in any of the micro-system can contribute to another micro-system. A family situation with no emotional support to the child's can be a boon to the development of learning barriers 12. The exo-system refers to areas that could affect a child even if the child is indirectly involved and affects him in any way. Changes in the exo-system can affect the interaction between the child and the parents, including other micro-systems such as school and peer group 12.

The macro-system refers to, “major economic structures, social structures, attitudes and values, ideas and cultural planning” 12 (p. 47). Economic structures, values, attitudes, ideas and cultures can influence how a child interacts with the environment. Social values and beliefs can affect schools. Learners can be negatively or positively affected by a change in the larger system. Schools do not operate alone due to socio-economic conditions 12. The Chrono-system incorporates the time and manner in which it interacts with the functioning of the micro-system, meso-system, exo-system and macro-system including its effects on human development 12. Bronfenbrenner's concept of bio-ecological can be applied to the application of inclusive education by looking at family and school environments as communication systems that contribute to transformation, growth and development. When teachers understand the four systems that work in a student's life, they should look at the causes and sources of energy and potential for development within these systems.

The teacher is best equipped to decide which system will provide the optimum education for learners, whether at school, at home, or in a person's culture or community. To identify any deviations, they should begin at the individual level, that is, the pupils' physical, mental, and moral traits. After the test, micro-systems in learners' lives such as home, school, parents, siblings, teachers, and school friends are all considered for any sources of conflict. Examining the student body might also provide insight into other aspects of student support.

In this study, the school or other program in which the teacher is involved can be seen in the readiness process, and then working with the ongoing categories of teachers to be ready to use inclusive education in mainstream classes. Teachers' views on their situation are central to understanding how they interact with them. To ensure that all systems work together to ensure that regular teachers are ready to implement inclusive education, the Ministry of Education operates at the macro level, in policy-making, the region in the exo-system, in policy-making and regional requirements, and in the meso-system at the district level. Finally, the school, where the teachers will use the inclusive education in the classroom, must work together to achieve a holistic approach. Monitoring and evaluation, feedback and reporting strategies should be implemented from the lowest to the highest levels of the system, determining the time frame for development at the chrono-system level, and cutting off interactions between these programs and their implications for teacher readiness.

2.2. Relevance of the Theoretical Framework to the Study

Bronfenbrenner believed that human growth was affected by everything in his environment. He divided human nature into five distinct categories: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. The child's family, school, peers, and neighbors are all part of his or her microsystem. Sports and hobbies such as soccer are examples of microsystems. Bidirectional connections exist in the microsystem. When a child's parents connect with the child's teachers, this interaction can have an impact on the learner's upbringing. The idea allows the teacher to be ready to build a basic relationship with their learners and to build a rich communication class that includes a parent. As a result, a teacher's willingness to collaborate with parents of learners with unique educational requirements will allow them to better grasp the child's issue. This will go a long way toward ensuring that inclusive education is implemented effectively in regular school.

2.3. Teachers’ Readiness in Adapting the Instructional Strategies

Acquisition of teaching skills entails more than simply placing a learner in a typical classroom; it also covers minor issues such as how learners with special needs interact with their peers and how the classroom is constructed to have successful teaching 14. In practice, the head teachers and their staff had great difficulty in coming up with the right strategies for teaching learners. Some issues are generated by the academic and work environment, academic staff duties, dispositions, and expertise, and the obstacles of social inclusion for learners with special educational needs. Challenges in any of these areas can lead to restricted access to instructional methods via non-participatory instructional methods and discrimination. Many of the learners indicated that not only was the personal assistance they received in their specially transformed educational environments was very helpful and made it much easier to cope with career challenges, but that they were also missing out on other available activities for learners who did not have such needs. Schools that offered an individual curriculum in which learners worked in small groups at their own pace were part in the adaptation.

According to 15, 94 percent of learners with special educational needs between the ages of 13 and 16 got some type of accommodation or support in a research done in the United States of America. Extra time to finish tests (76 percent of learners) or assignments (67 percent) is one strategy. Newman polled local support in the United States of America to help learners with special educational needs thrive in high school. Teachers have demonstrated that they have modified teaching methods to these learners' learning styles and that autonomous learning approaches frequently have similar value in teaching general teaching principles.

The impact of co-teaching as a method of instructional adaptability 16. Dymond et. al., put the Universal Development for Learning (UDL) strategy to developing high school science curriculum to the test in the United States of America. The advent of this allowed the classroom teacher to collaborate with colleagues or other experts to give teaching to pupils with special educational needs. The co-role teacher's has evolved from modifying teaching methods during classes to cooperatively preparing lessons, collaboratively delivering teaching strategies, and working with small groups of learners with or without special educational needs. The most significant benefit for the pupils was the improvement of their social skills and better communication with others. Because UDL teaching techniques are meant to accommodate the needs of each student, the position of a teacher's partner may entail more than just being a teaching strategy adapter. Local support in the United States of America to assist learners with special educational needs in succeeding in high school 17. Teachers have demonstrated that they have modified teaching strategies to these learners' learning styles and that independent learning approaches frequently have similar value when utilizing general education teaching methodologies.

Effective instruction for learners with special educational needs necessitates more frequent assessment, evaluation, and feedback than instruction for learners without disabilities 15. It is critical that assessment evaluates relevant outcomes rather than merely those that are easy to measure, and that a variety of assessment instruments are available 18. Assessment is critical in the inclusion process in order to identify areas of special difficulty and to evaluate progress. Internationally, standardized assessments in the form of national examinations and tests at major educational levels are frequently employed. However, in order to be relevant to learners with special educational needs, these kinds of certification should either cover a wide range of outcomes or provide alternate examinations for different ability levels.

Learners with special educational needs require more standardized assessment, evaluation, and response than non-disabled learners 15. It is critical for assessment to quantify meaningful effects, not just those that are easily measured, and that a variety of testing procedures are accessible. According to 18 assessment is critical in the inclusion process in order to identify areas of difficulty and evaluate progress. Internationally, formal tests like national examinations and examinations at major levels of education are frequently employed. However, in order to aid learners with special educational needs, these types of certificates must encompass a wide variety of accomplishments or give several examinations of varying ability levels.

A previous National Commission on Science Education report on inclusion concluded that useful strategies for any successful inclusion include flexible time frames for work completion, task differentiation, flexibility for teachers, time for additional support, an emphasis on vocational as well as academic goals, and flexible teaching-learning methodologies, and that access to instructional strategies involves how learners with special educational needs interact with teachers 19. One of the strategies teachers can use in curriculum change and maintain the integrity of national teaching strategies is differentiation 9. According to 9, the differentiation emphasizes on moving from the expectations of the whole class to the success of each student. Learners with learning disabilities are not learners who cannot learn, rather they need separate instruction designed for their different learning abilities 20.

One teacher's guide for teaching learners with disabilities is to provide immediate feedback 20. In this regard, Mensah and Mensah added that learners need to be quick to recognize the relationship between teaching and learning. Feedback as one of the strategies in behavioral analysis 21. According to 15, successful instruction of learners with special educational needs necessitates a more comprehensive response than teaching of learners without impairments. Newman observed that it is critical for tests to measure good findings, not just easy-to-measure ones. According to 22, inclusive teachers may consider developing distinct groups based on age. Learners can learn to engage with their peers, or teachers can arrange for learners of various ages to be in a group so that older learners can help and so learn to care for younger learners, while younger learners can learn from adults and extend their learning. In order to be successful, teachers must assign peers to provide assistance when needed. The success of peer learning depends on a balanced interaction between teachers and learners rather than telling learners what to do 21. The introduction of comprehensive peer education reduces the rate of failure 23.

Learners with difficulties are helped by others with problem-solving skills. It helps to develop an understanding of ideas among learners 21. The findings confirm the discovery of 24, 25, 26 reported that collaborative learning enhances academic achievement in learners who develop desirable attitudes 27. In transforming teaching strategies in inclusive schools, there is a need to use tools and techniques such as braille resources and speech books to increase access to teaching strategies for learners with visual impairments 28.

A study by 15 investigated local support to assist learners with special educational needs in high schools in the United States of America, observing that teachers adapt teaching strategies to suit learners' learning styles and that independent learning methods frequently measure the importance of using common teaching strategies. Many teachers, according to 29, see other forms of assessment such as reducing the number of items on the test page, rewriting questions, and teaching assessment skills, or doing other living space such as extending time, learning to read aloud and changing instrument function.

2.4. Effective Socialization of Individuals with Special Needs in Inclusive Classroom

Learners learn communication skills through social engagement at school. Learners can make friendships and learn about each other's hobbies through these relationships. Because school connections are vital for boosting learning, when a kid has a friend, the student can comprehend himself and the class member. Learners can connect with one another and create a better learning environment. Involving classmates who do not have special needs and those who do have special needs offers the learners with a supportive environment for one another (an all-inclusive school). Particular schools for learners with developmental impairments have special conditions that match their special educational demands, yet communicating with others is a difficult task. School has a lot of promise for socialization, but we don't always accept learners with disabilities 30. According to 31, successful education for learners with disabilities in mainstream schools is closely related to learners with physical disabilities (visual and auditory impairment, motor skills without further impairment, and especially in mild forms) and in families where learners are given more attention and support. Because the establishment of schools for disabled learners is unavoidable, it is critical to develop new material for all areas of an inclusive education environment that contributes to the socialization of learners with impairments.

Co-curricular activity offers significant potential for learners with disabilities as a process of communication and collaboration. Curriculum work has a greater potential for real participation of learners with disabilities because it does not preclude opportunities for healthy school learners to complete them; additionally, co-curricular activities organized in collaboration with learners with a "significant amount of education" have a greater potential for real participation of learners with disabilities 31 (p. 16). Learners with disabilities, on the other hand, participate in co-curricular activities of their choice at a lower cost and volume. Co-curricular work for learners with impairments is organized in two ways: remedial work programs and co-curricular work plans. If activities within the rehabilitation program are aimed at correcting developmental deficiencies, the various forms of co-curricular work allow for the efficient use of free time, the acquisition and development of skills, the stimulation of improving comprehension, and participation in various activities associated with school learners without disabilities.

The effective participation of teachers in the education of people with special needs in the inclusive class means that teachers are equipped with strategies such as the proper use of TLM, group work, peer body system (classmate who helps a colleague with a disability), co-curricular activities and circles of friends. Teaching and learning materials are used by learners to entertain themselves with the vibrations and sounds they produce 32. Using TLMs as play materials improves learners's muscle tone and increases their attention span and builds their listening skills 32. Aside from the benefits of interacting with TLMs, a kid with a visual impairment is more likely to be emotionally impaired, to struggle with social rehabilitation, and to struggle with self-expression. According to 21, accepting group work as a method brings learners with special needs and those with special needs together in learning. Group use encourages active student participation, rather than rote learning 9.

Similarly, a study conducted by 33 on how teachers effectively socialise individuals in inclusive class reveals that the peer buddy system can boost confidence in learners with special needs. This can be achieved by giving leadership roles to learners with special needs in an inclusive classroom. This increases relationships with everyone as a whole group rather than small groups. Teachers use co-curricular activities like sports, acting, singing and recitation to ensure proper relationships among learners in inclusive schools 34. This will help promote inclusive education that works in all schools. This view agrees with 35 findings. Dalton points out that teachers ensure the successful inclusion of learners with special needs in the classroom when they engage in activities such as sports, sports, acting and cultural demonstrations.

Teachers encourage learners to prepare for the lesson before class, use group work, peer support networks and playful learning 36. Bruner adds that people with special needs in the inclusive class are made to interact with their peers by reading books, listening to lessons or watching videos, watching demonstrations on a white board, work and answering assignments and questions. This helps to promote the effective participation of learners in inclusive schools. Collaborative learning also helps to ensure learners' participation in inclusive schools 37. The report of Kirk et al. shows that when shared learning is used effectively, it will lead to better interactions between learners. Kirk et al. adds that social relations seem to be focused on supporting inclusion movements. This means that using all of these techniques in inclusive classrooms will improve social cohesiveness for both learners with and without special educational needs.

2.5. Challenges Regular Education Teachers Face in Inclusive Classrooms

In an inclusive classroom, teachers confront a number of problems while educating learners with special needs. Teachers' insufficiency in handling with learners with special educational needs, teachers' battle with the tension between tolerating some learners' special needs while disadvantage others, teachers' expectation of teaching learners with special needs as a completely individual and skilled process, and insufficient teaching and learning resources in teaching learners with special needs are some of the challenges. According to 10, inclusion classrooms are a lovely concept that requires a lot of training, patience, and compassion from teachers. Tonie-Marie said, "Completely inclusive classrooms are made up of learners from all walks of life, ranging from generally developing learners to seriously and profoundly disabled persons, making it challenging for the teacher to provide equal support to all of the learners in the class (p.16)". According to her, teachers face challenges such as a lack of experience in an Inclusion setting, a lack of experience with severe and profound disabilities, developing activities that include all learners, educating learners with less severe disabilities, dealing with death, not having enough teacher aides, teaching compassion to learners, dealing with parents of "typically developing" learners, addressing individualized lesson plans, and coordinating therapies.

A research was performed in four countries: Nepal, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia, in order to provide insight into the current situation of inclusive education in those countries 38. According to the findings of a Tanzanian study, teachers are under-trained in sign language, braille materials, hearing aid preparation, tactile diagrams, and maps in order to satisfy the demands of inclusive education. It also implies that teacher education in inclusive education is insufficient. Finally, the study shows that restrictive teaching techniques are a barrier to the adoption of inclusive education. Centrally controlled teaching practices and assessment systems contradict efforts to establish inclusive environments for all learners, regardless of learning difficulties.

According to the findings, schools lack the required teaching and learning resources to assist learners with visual impairments in studying more effectively in inclusive classrooms. From the survey report, parents' involvement and participation in their learners's educational concerns is also missing. Furthermore, the statistics reveal that teachers lack adequate information about inclusion and how to teach visually impaired learners in inclusive classrooms.

Teachers' lack of expertise about how to use the restricted resources available to learners may jeopardize the learning rate of learners with visual impairments, as the majority of them learn from what their instructor teaches them 39. On this point, it is considered that because teachers lack the necessary expertise in dealing with such learners, as well as in the devices used to teach them, they are more prone to act on impulse, perhaps worsening the education of such learners.

Nyaigoti investigated institutional determinants influencing the implementation of inclusive education in public primary schools in Rigoma Division, Nyamira County, Kenya 40. Five research objectives were devised to lead the investigation. The study's objectives were to examine how physical facilities, teacher credentials, learning adequacy, teaching resources, instructional techniques, and support services influence inclusive education implementation in public primary schools. In this study, a descriptive survey design was adopted. The study involved a total of 12 head teachers, 96 teachers, and 180 pupils. Questionnaires and an observation check list were used to collect data. The findings showed that, physical amenities influenced the implementation of inclusive education in public primary schools. Schools lacked adapted toilets, walkers, crutches, and swings, as well as playground ramps on entrances, big rooms, and adapted desks and wheel chairs, which were all required to address unique conditions in their school. It also says that head teachers and teachers were not properly trained to cope with learners with special needs, which delayed the implementation of the inclusive curriculum. The research also revealed a lack of teaching learning resources, instructional approaches, and content delivery. It reveals that quality assurance officers at the Ministry of Education were not in favor of developing inclusive education.

3. Methods

3.1. Design

A descriptive research design was adopted for this investigation. It was used by the researchers to describe how ready teachers in the Adansi North District are to implement inclusive education in their classrooms. It enabled the researcher to demonstrate how regular education teachers adapt instructional strategies to meet the demands of learners with special needs, as well as how they were equipped to ensure that kids with special needs were effectively socialized in their classes.

3.2. Participants

The target population was all of the teachers in Adansi North District's public basic schools. The available population, on the other hand, consisted of all instructors in three Adansi North District educational circuits. The class had a total of 120 teachers. The Adansi North District was separated into six (6) educational circuits to generate the sample size for the study. At the time of the study, there were thirty public basic schools in the various circuits (30). Table 1 lists the educational circuits and the number of schools that fall within them.

It was decided to adopt a multi-stage sampling technique. When performing investigations with a large population, multi-stage sampling is an approach utilized. To begin, three (3) instructional circuits were chosen at random from a total of six (6) circuits using a basic random sample technique. Akrokerri East, Dompoase North, and Kwapia were the three (3) educational circuits. Two schools from each of the three circuits were chosen using simple random selection. Akrokerri Islamic Basic School, Bobriase D/A Basic School, Old Edubiase Methodist School, Kyeaboso Methodist School, Kwapia R/C Basic School, and Patakoro D/A Basic School were among the institutions that were chosen. This was accomplished by employing the processes required in the method of tables of random numbers. The sampling frame was discovered first. The census survey approach was used to choose the study participants after two schools were randomly selected from each of the three educational circuits. To include 120 teachers from the selected schools, the census survey approach was used. Table 2 shows the selected schools as well as the overall number of teachers in each.

3.3. Research Instrument

Data was gathered via a questionnaire. The questionnaire was divided into five sections: A, B, and C. The questionnaire has a total of 37 questions. There were 15 items in Section 'A' about curricular adaptation. Section 'B' featured eight topics on socialization of learners with disabilities, while section 'C' had 14 items on issues teachers confront in inclusive classrooms. Strongly Agree (SA) = 4, Agree (A) = 3, Disagree (D) = 2, and Strongly Disagree (SD) = 1 for the items on teachers' readiness to adapt the curriculum. Strongly Agree (SA) =4, Agree (A) =3, Disagree (D) =2, and Strongly Disagree (D) =1 were used to grade items on the socialization of people with exceptional needs. Finally, Strongly Agree (SA) =4, Agree (A) =3, Disagree (D) =2, and Strongly Disagree (D) =1 were assigned to statements about challenges teachers face in inclusive classrooms.

3.4. Data Collection Procedure

To present the researchers to the Adansi North District Director of Education during the data collection, a letter of introduction from the Head of Department of Special Education at the University of Education, Winneba was obtained. The researchers were given permission by the district director to contact the heads of the various schools in the district in order to collect data for the study. The data was collected in February of 2020. The participants were chosen and the questionnaire was administered over the course of one week. The researchers obtained the agreement of regular education teachers and informed them of the study's goal as well as the procedure for responding to the questionnaire. The surveys were given to the teachers on a one-on-one basis. Within two weeks, the completed questionnaires were collected. This was done to provide respondents ample room and time to complete the questionnaire items without putting them under undue stress, given their hectic schedules. Respondents were promised that their responses would remain private and would only be used for research purposes.

3.5. Data Processing and Analysis

Means and standard deviation were used to analyze data for research questions one and two, whereas frequencies and percentages were used to analyze data for research question three. Table 3 and 4's criterion was done by dividing the range (3) by the number of categories (4), yielding 0.75. The criteria were 1.00-1.74 for Strongly Disagree (SD), 1.75-2.49 for Disagree (D), 2.50-3.24 for Agree (A), and 3.25-4.00 for Strongly Agree (SA).

3.6. Question One

How do regular education teachers in Adansi North District adapt the instructional strategies of regular schools to meet the needs of individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms?

Table 3 shows that respondents strongly agreed that they adapted standard school instructional practices to meet the needs of learners with special needs in inclusive classes (M=3.46, SD=.60). Respondents strongly agreed that they adapted the curriculum by: (a) pre-teaching difficult vocabulary and concepts before the start of the lesson (M=3.73, SD=.44), (b) providing written as well as oral directions (M=3.65, SD=.64), (c) providing frequent feedback to encourage slow learners to participate actively in lessons (M=3.64, SD=.54), and (d) providing written as well as oral directions (M=3.65, SD=.64). (d) encouraging peer teaching to ensure that no student is left behind in class activities (M=3.61, SD=.56), (e) encouraging cooperative learning among learners (M=3.58, SD=.58), (f) using various assessment techniques to make it clear to slow learners (M=3.51, SD=.56), (g) accepting alternative forms of sharing information (M=3.50, SD=.51), and (h) using various memorization techniques to ensure that no student is left behind in class activities (M=3.38, SD=.68) Furthermore, study participants agreed that they changed the curriculum by allowing learners to choose their own activities in order to keep their interest in lessons (M=3.20, SD=.80).

3.7. Question Two

How equipped are regular classroom teachers in Adansi North in ensuring effective socialization of individuals with special needs in inclusive classroom?

Table 4 revealed that, in sum, regular classroom teachers in the Adansi North District strongly agreed that they are equipped in ensuring effective socialization of individuals with special needs in inclusive classroom (M=3.44, SD=.62). It was observed that respondents strongly agreed that they used strategies such as (a) appropriate use of TLMs (M=3.74, SD=.51), (b) group work (M=3.63, SD=.59), (c) peer body system (a classmate helping his/her colleague with disability) (M=3.51, SD=.69), (d) co-operative learning (M=3.48, SD=.60), (e) co-curricular activities (M=3.43, SD=.60) and (f) peer support networks (Learners participate in activities in pairs) (M=3.35, SD=.54). The results of the study additionally revealed that respondents agreed that they are equipped to use circles of friends (M=3.02, SD=.76) in ensuring effective socialization of individuals with special needs in inclusive classroom.

3.8. Question Three

What are the challenges regular education teachers in Adansi North District face in teaching learners with special needs in inclusive classrooms?

Table 5 shows that respondents agreed that educating learners with special needs in inclusive classrooms is difficult. Based on how the items were scored, the responses are divided into two categories. (a) Agree and (b) Disagree were the two categories. Between 17.5 % and 89.2 % of the respondents agreed that teaching learners with special needs in an inclusive classroom poses obstacles, while 10.8 % to 82.5 % disagreed. As a result of the study, it was shown that the majority of respondents had difficulty teaching learners with special needs in an inclusive classroom.

  • Table 5. Distribution of Results of Challenges Regular Education Teachers Face in Teaching Learners with Special Needs in Inclusive Classroom

4. Discussion

4.1. Readiness of Regular Education Teachers in Adansi North District in Adapting the Instructional Strategies of Regular Schools to Meet the Needs of Individuals with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms

According to the study's findings, respondents in general strongly agreed that they adapted instructional approaches to fit the requirements of individuals with special needs in inclusive classes. Respondents strongly agreed that they adapted instructional strategies by: (a) pre-teaching difficult vocabulary and concepts before the start of the lesson; (b) task differentiation; (c) frequent feedback to encourage slow learners to participate actively in lessons; (d) encouraging peer teaching to ensure that no student is left behind in class activities; and (e) encouraging co-operative learning among learners to ensure that there is peer teaching, (f) Using various evaluation strategies to make it clear to slow learners, (g) embracing alternative ways of information sharing, and (h) Using various memorizing techniques to aid slow learners in remembering knowledge, such as the use of mnemonics. Furthermore, the findings suggested that study participants believed that they can adapt the curriculum by pre-teaching challenging terminology and ideas prior to the start of the class. Quinn and Ryba's findings are consistent with the findings of this study (2000). Quin and Ryba performed research and found that teachers in inclusive classes pre-teach challenging terminology and ideas before the start of the lesson. As a result, teaching practices must benefit all learners. Every learner in an inclusive classroom, including those with and without special needs, can profit from the lesson. 41 Quinn and Ryba went on to argue that in order for teachers to adjust instructional approaches to meet the requirements of learners with special needs, all learners must be included in the teaching and learning process.

Differentiation of tasks allowed regular basic school teachers to adjust instructional tactics to meet the requirements of learners with special needs. This would allow the learners to learn at their own pace without having to compete with each other. The findings are in line with a UNESCO (2005) report on instructional strategy adaptation, which stated that instructors' modification of instructional strategies to accommodate the needs of individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms also included task differentiation. "One of the techniques teachers can take in curricular adaptations while still maintaining the integrity of the national instructional methodologies is differentiation," according to Hayford (2013). (p. 144). Differentiation, according to Hayford, focuses on the move from whole-class expectations to individual student accomplishment. Learners with learning difficulties, according to Mensah and Mensah (2018), do not need to be crippled or unable to study; rather, they require differentiated instruction that is suited to their unique learning skills.

According to the findings, teachers altered instructional approaches to meet the requirements of learners with special needs by offering continuous feedback to motivate slow learners to participate actively in sessions. The findings suggested that learners with exceptional difficulties will have an easier time grasping concepts. One of the guidelines for teaching learners with learning disabilities, according to Mensah & Mensah, is to provide rapid feedback. Mensah & Mensah went on to say that learners need to recognize the connection between what they were taught and what they learnt immediately. In applied behavioural analysis, Kirk et al. (2006) proposed feedback as one of the antecedents and consequent tactics. Effective instruction for learners with unique educational needs, according to Newman (2006), involves more continuous feedback than for learners without special needs. Newman discovered that assessing meaningful results, not just those that are easy to quantify, is critical.

From the findings, regular education teachers altered their instructional approaches to fit the requirements of learners with special needs by developing peer teaching to ensure that no student is left behind in class activities. It would also encourage learners with and without disabilities to socialize and improve their communication skills. The findings support Smith and Thomas' (2006) findings, which showed that inclusive teachers could explore forming various age groups. Learners can learn to communicate and collaborate with their peers, or teachers can bring together learners of different ages so that older learners can assist and learn to care for the younger ones, while the younger ones can learn from the older ones and widen their learning horizons. Teachers must designate a peer to provide guidance or assistance as needed in order for inclusion to be successful. According to Kirk et al. (2006), the success of peer teaching is dependent on a balanced interaction between the teacher and the learners, with the teacher instructing rather than telling the learners what to do. According to Shea and Bauer (1994), using class-wide peer teaching minimizes failure.

Regular education teachers modified their instructional approaches to meet the needs of learner with special needs by encouraging learners to collaborate and promote peer teaching. This peer teaching promotes understanding of core academic topics, resulting in an active learning environment that benefits learners. It also promotes a sense of responsibility among pupils by enhancing a variety of learning styles. The results are in line with those of Kirk et al (2006). Learners with difficulties are aided by individuals who have acquired the abilities needed to address the challenge, according to Kirk et al. It aids in the promotion of mutual concept understanding among learners. The findings corroborate those of Ahmad and Mahmood (2010), Capar (2011), Parveen and Batool (2012), who found that co-operative learning improves academic success by fostering positive attitudes toward courses (Yavuz, 2007), providing motivation 42 (Kus, Filiz & Altun, 2014; Uchida, Masui & Nakayama, 2014), adopting cooperative working habits [45] (Kong, Kwok & Fang, 2012). Regular education teachers employed several assessment approaches to make things plain to slow learners and used various assessment questions such as fill in the blanks, true or false, and essays to encourage slow learners to participate in assessment. This allows each student in the class to get the most out of all of their exams. The findings are consistent with the conclusions of the Qualifications and Instructional Strategies Authority (2000), who stated that using alternative modes of assessment is an important part of instructional adaptation. Dart (2007) focused on beneficial tools and tactics for increasing access to instructional strategies for visually impaired learners in Botswana. Dart discovered that using teaching and assessment materials such as Braille resources and talking books allowed all pupils to benefit from the teaching and learning processes. Newman (2006) investigated the support in place to help special educational needs learners succeed in high schools in the United States of America and discovered that teachers adapted instructional strategies to accommodate learners' learning styles and that teaching techniques for independent learning were frequently given equal weight as teaching general instructional strategies.

The study's findings, but in the other hand, do not lend support to previous findings by Kostelnik, Soderman, and Whiren (2004), who discovered that most teachers perceive alternative test formats, such as reducing the number of items on a test page, rewording questions, and teaching test-taking skills, or making other accommodations such as extending time limits or reading a test aloud, as changing the nature of what is contaminated and contaminating the instrument's validity. Brackenreed noted that teachers do not believe that customized tests provide a fair assessment of learning results for learners with special educational needs (2004). Changes to conventional teaching procedures in the United States, according to Brackenreed, were more likely to take the form of greater time to complete examinations or assignments for learners with high to moderate functioning, with low-functioning learners receiving alternative evaluations.

4.2. Readiness of Regular Education Teachers in Adansi North District in Ensuring Effective Socialization of Individuals with Special Needs in Inclusive Classroom

The purpose of this study was to see how well-equipped regular classroom teachers in the Adansi North District were to ensure effective socialization of people with disabilities in inclusive classes. Overall, regular education instructors in the Adansi North District firmly agreed that they are competent to ensure appropriate socialization of individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms, according to the study's findings. Respondents strongly agreed that they employed tactics such as (a) proper use of TLMs, (b) group work, (c) peer buddy system (a classmate assisting a disabled colleague), (d) co-curricular activities and (e) circles of friends.

Regular basic teachers agreed that suitable Teaching and Learning Materials [TLMs] were employed to enable effective socialization of individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms, according to the findings. Learners use Teaching and Learning Materials for enjoyment, according to Ocloo (2011), by shaking and bashing them for the sound they generate. TLMs as play material, according to Ocloo, help youngsters develop muscle tone, expand their attention span, and improve their listening skills. Without the benefits of engagement with TLMs, a kid with visual impairment is more likely to be emotionally affected, have social adjustment problems, and have problems with self-expression. When using appropriate TLMs, learners are occasionally placed in groups to use these TLMs. They interact with one another, play together, and share ideas as they use TLMs. As a result, they are able to socialize effectively in inclusive classrooms.

Regular education teachers ensured efficient socialization of individuals with special needs through group work, according to the study. This allows kids to communicate with one another, share ideas, and improve their social skills. The findings are consistent with those of Kirk et al. (2006), who claim that using group work as a strategy brings learners with and without special needs together for learning. According to Hayford (2013), group work encourages active participation from pupils rather than rote learning. Similarly, regular education teachers provided efficient socialization of individuals with exceptional needs through a peer buddy method in which a classmate assists a colleague with a special needs, according to the findings. Learners with special needs share thoughts about issues and assist one another in solving challenges, allowing them to socialize. Foster (2011) maintained that peer buddy system could instill a sense of confidence in learners with special needs by placing them in a leadership role. This increases socialization with everyone as a whole group rather than smaller groupings.

Regular education teachers agreed that co-curricular activities help individuals with special needs socialize effectively in inclusive classes, according to the research. Teachers participate in co-curricular activities such as sports and games, worship, quiz competitions, and festivals with both disabled and non-disabled learners. These activities allow youngsters to interact with one another, improving their social skills. According to Khan, Abbas, and Obaidullah (2018), extracurricular activities like as games, athletics, acting, singing, and recitation assist pupils develop their social skills.

4.3. Challenges Regular Education Teachers in Adansi North District Face in Inclusive Classrooms?

The purpose of this objective was to learn about the challenges that normal education instructors have when teaching learners with special needs in an inclusive classroom. It was discovered that all of the participants in the study agreed that teaching learners with special needs in inclusive classrooms was tough. Teachers felt inadequate in dealing with learners with special educational needs, (b) teachers struggled with the tension of accommodating the special needs of some learners while disadvantage other learners, (c) teachers saw teaching learners with special needs as a highly individualized and specialized process, and (d) inadequate teaching and learning resources were among the challenges that respondents agreed on. The investigation's findings support those of Ananti and Nisreenand (2012). In their descriptive study, 'Including learners with disabilities in United Arab Emirate schools,' these researchers discovered that education teachers faced challenges such as a lack of proper training for teachers in mainstream classrooms, a lack of knowledge about inclusion among senior-level administrators, and a lack of financial support for resources and services, particularly in private schools. According to Mukhopadhyay, Nenty, and Abosi (2012), education teachers confront obstacles such as insufficient special education training, a shortage of resources, and a high student-teacher ratio. These challenges obstruct the successful implementation of inclusive education.

The study's findings revealed that teachers felt inept while interacting with kids with special educational needs. Because typical elementary school teachers believe that educating learners with special needs is the task of specially trained teachers, their confidence in dealing with these learners is relatively low. The findings are congruent with previous findings by Center and Ward (2007), who discovered that teachers' reluctance to integration and inclusion was a reflection of inadequacies in their own instructional approaches, as well as the quality and quantity of assistance they get. As a result, teachers appear to be suspicious of any student who imposes new demands on them. Regular education teachers' confidence in dealing with individuals with special needs reflects their teachers' inadequacy. Gould and Vaugh (2002) indicated that teachers felt inadequate in handling learners with special educational needs because special education courses offered in colleges of education do not have enough content to adequately prepare student teachers in dealing with individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms.

When dealing with individuals with special needs in inclusive classes, regular education teachers battled with the tension between supporting the specific needs of some learners and disadvantageous other learners, according to the research. According to the findings of this study, while regular education teachers appear to be prepared to handle learners with special needs, they struggle to tolerate and accommodate learners with special needs in inclusive classes. The study's conclusions are backed up by Lavoie's earlier findings (2009). Regular education teachers struggled with the tension of addressing the specific requirements of some kids while disadvantageously affecting other learners, according to the findings.

While regular education teachers appear to be well-ready to cope with learners with special needs, they have difficulty accepting and adapting special needs learners in inclusive classes, according to this report. The findings of the study are supported by Lavoie's earlier findings (2009). Teachers' perceptions of educating learners with special needs as a highly personalised and specialized process recommended that normal education teachers should be familiar with diverse approaches for handling individuals with special needs in inclusive classrooms. Regular education teachers found it difficult to attend to learners with special needs in inclusive classrooms since the procedures are time-consuming and cumbersome. The results are consistent with those of Busby, Ingram, Bowron, Jan, and Lyons (2012). Teachers had difficulty viewing the education of kids with exceptional needs, such as autism, as highly customized, according to these studies. Teachers saw teaching learners with autism [CWA] as a highly personalised and specialized procedure, according to Busby et al. The issue was also discovered to be related to the collaboration that teachers should have with CWA parents, which is also considered as time consuming and difficult.

5. Conclusions

In the Adansi North District, the study examined regular education teachers' readiness for inclusive education. Regular education teachers in the Adansi North District adapted instructional strategies to meet the needs of learners with special needs in inclusive classrooms by pre-teaching difficult vocabulary and concepts before the start of the lesson, accepting alternate forms of sharing information, and taking into account individual learners' abilities in the delivery of their lessons, ensuring that all learners benefit from the teaching and learning process. However, it was concluded that regular education teachers faced significant challenges in handling individuals with special needs, such as teachers feeling inadequate in dealing with learners with special educational needs and teachers struggling with the tension between accommodating the special needs of some learners while negatively impacting other learners. Despite the fact that regular education teachers in the Adansi North District have some challenges in implementing inclusive education in the district, they are ready to assist.

6. Recommendations

1. Even though regular education teachers are willing to undertake inclusive education, the researchers urge that the Ghanaian government motivate teachers to be more committed to ensuring that inclusive education is implemented effectively in their classrooms.

2. The Ghana Education Service (GES) shall offer regular workshops on adjusting instructional methods to educate teachers with contemporary practices in adapting instructional strategies in their classrooms to meet the needs of all learners.

3. Because socialization in an inclusive educational environment is a two-way process involving both the interests of learners with disabilities and those without disabilities, teachers should use more up-to-date strategies to create a learning environment in which both learners can effectively socialize.

4. The Ghanaian government, through the Ministry of Education (MoE), should ensure that all schools have adequate teaching and learning materials. GES should also provide training to teachers so that they can produce their own teaching and learning resources.

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Benjamin Adu Gyamfi, Abraham Yeboah. Readiness of Regular Education Teachers towards Inclusive Education in Ghana. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 10, No. 6, 2022, pp 420-431. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/10/6/8
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Gyamfi, Benjamin Adu, and Abraham Yeboah. "Readiness of Regular Education Teachers towards Inclusive Education in Ghana." American Journal of Educational Research 10.6 (2022): 420-431.
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Gyamfi, B. A. , & Yeboah, A. (2022). Readiness of Regular Education Teachers towards Inclusive Education in Ghana. American Journal of Educational Research, 10(6), 420-431.
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Gyamfi, Benjamin Adu, and Abraham Yeboah. "Readiness of Regular Education Teachers towards Inclusive Education in Ghana." American Journal of Educational Research 10, no. 6 (2022): 420-431.
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  • Table 5. Distribution of Results of Challenges Regular Education Teachers Face in Teaching Learners with Special Needs in Inclusive Classroom
[1]  Acedo, C., Ferrer F., & Pamies, J. (2009). Inclusive education: Open debates and the road ahead. Prospects, 39(3), 227-238.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  UNESCO (2005). Guidelines for Inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All. Paris: UNESCO.
In article      
 
[3]  Gadagbui, G.Y (2008). Inclusive education in Ghana: Practices, challenges and the future implications for all stakeholders. Retrieved from: http://www.schoolsandhealth.org/[Accessed on 10 January, 2020].
In article      
 
[4]  Deku, P., & Vanderpuye, I. (2017). Perspectives of teachers regarding inclusive education in Ghana. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 13(3), 39-54.
In article      
 
[5]  Hay, J. F. Smith & Paulsen, M. (2001). Teacher readiness in inclusive education. South African Journal of Higher Education, 21(4), 213-218.
In article      
 
[6]  Agbenyega, J. S. (2007). Examining teachers’ concerns and attitudes to inclusive education in Ghana. International Journal of Whole schooling, 3(1), 41-56.
In article      
 
[7]  Ainscow, M., & Miles, S. (2012). Making education for all inclusive: Where next? Prospect. Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, 38(1), 15-34.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Hoover, J.J., & Patton, J, R. (1997). Curriculum adaptations for learners with learning and behavior problems: principles and practice. CA, USA: Pro ed.
In article      
 
[9]  Hayford, S. K. (2013). Special educational needs and quality education for all. Winneba: Department of Special Education.
In article      
 
[10]  Toni-Marie, R. (2020). Challenges for Teachers in Special-Needs-Inclusive Classrooms. Retrieved from: https://wehavekids.com/education/Top-Challenges-Teacher-Face-in-Special-Needs-Inclusive-Classrooms on March 4, 2020.
In article      
 
[11]  Mprah, K., Dwomoh, A., Opoku, M., Owusu I., & Ampratwum, J. (2016). Knowledge, attitude and readiness of teachers towards inclusive education in Ejisu- Juaben municipality in Ashanti region of Ghana. Journal of Disability Management and Special Education, 6(2), 1-15.
In article      
 
[12]  Landsberg, E., & Swart, E. (2011). Addressing barriers to learning: A South African perspective. Pretoria: Van Schaik.
In article      
 
[13]  Mahlo, F. D. (2011). Experiences of learning support teachers in the foundation phase with reference to the implementation of inclusive education in Gauteng, University of South Africa, Pretoria, http://hdl.handle.net/10500/5692
In article      
 
[14]  Wortham, S. C. (2002). Early childhood instructional strategies (3rd ed.). New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.
In article      
 
[15]  Newman, L. (2006). General education participation and academic performance of learners with learning disabilities. Facts from NLTS2. NCSER 2006-3001. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Special Education Research.
In article      
 
[16]  Dymond, S. K., Renzaglia, A., Rosenstein, A., Chun, E. J., Banks, R. A., Niswander, V., & Gilson, C. L. (2006). Using a participatory action research approach to create a universally designed inclusive high school110 science course: A case study. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31(4), 293-308.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Bulgren, J. A., Lenz, B., McKnight, K., Davis, K., Grossen, B., Marqquis, B., Deshler, J. & Donald, L. (2002). The educational context and outcomes for high school learners with disabilities: The perceptions of general education teachers. Kansas: Lawrence Institute for Academic Access, Kansas University.
In article      
 
[18]  Kontu & Pirttimaa (2008). Integration and inclusion-how are they different? Paper presented in the National Seminar on Inclusive Education Practices in Schools, NCERT, 2003.
In article      
 
[19]  Winter, E., & O’Raw, P. (2010). Literature review on the principles and practices relating to inclusive education for learners with special educational needs. Meath: NCSE.
In article      
 
[20]  Mensah, A. K., & Mensah, F. A. (2018). Learners with learning disabilities. In Yekple (2018) (eds) Exceptional Learners: An introduction to special education (4th ed.). Cape Coast: Edsam Printing and Publishing Ltd.
In article      
 
[21]  Kirk, S. A., Gallagher, J. J., Anastasiow, N. J., & Coleman, M. R. (2006). Educating exceptional learners. (11th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
In article      
 
[22]  Smith, A., and Thomas, N. (2006). Including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in national curriculum physical education: A brief review. European Journal of Special Needs Education 21(1), 69-83.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Shea, T. M., & Bauer, A. M. (1994). Learners with disabilities: A social systems perspective of special education. USA: Brown & Benchmark Publishers.
In article      
 
[24]  Ahmad, Z. & Mahmood, N, Effects of Cooperative Learning vs. Traditional Instruction on Prospective Teachers’ Learning Experience and Achievement (July 8, 2010). Ankara University, Journal of Faculty of Educational Sciences, year: 2010, vol: 43, no: 1, 151-164.
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