Saudi Educators’ Attitudes towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inclusive Education in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Alshahrani, Mohammad Mobark
Date: 30 May 2014
University of Exeter
PhD in Education
This study explores Saudi educators’ (teachers’ and administrators’) perceptions of and attitudes to Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) inclusion in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in two phases. Data were collected in sequential quantitative and qualitative phases. A questionnaire was first administered to 120 teachers and administrators in direct ...
This study explores Saudi educators’ (teachers’ and administrators’) perceptions of and attitudes to Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) inclusion in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in two phases. Data were collected in sequential quantitative and qualitative phases. A questionnaire was first administered to 120 teachers and administrators in direct contact with DHH students, giving a broad picture of the themes under investigation in phase 1. Attitudes were examined in terms of three components: their beliefs, emotions and behaviour. This phase investigated the influence on educators’ beliefs and attitudes of these factors: type of D/deafness, length of experience, teachers’ qualifications, stage/grade of education, type of school and in-service training. In phase 2, understanding of educators’ attitudes was deepened by conducting semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of five teachers and six administrators of diverse experience, covering five themes: the DHH concept, the inclusion concept, the inclusion process and requirements, barriers to DHH inclusion and changes needed to promote it. The first phase revealed positive attitudes towards hard of hearing inclusion but not with regard to Deaf students, a distinction confirmed by the qualitative findings. The Al-Amal Institute for the Deaf was considered the best educational alternative for Deaf students. Relatively negative attitudes towards Deaf inclusion were related to various factors, especially lack of professional training and expertise in cued sign language, inadequate resources in mainstream schools and poor preparation for receiving DHH students. Participants considered integration to be a matter of equal (part-time) access to the nearest possible local school, but not inclusion as an issue of school restructuring, full participation and active social and academic engagement. Regarding barriers and change, participants were more concerned about the lack of professional training, overreliance on individual donations rather than the local authority to fund and support teaching aids, the absence of strict procedures regarding student referral and teacher transfer from general to DHH education. It was felt that there should be more rigorous diagnosis and differentiation of the national curriculum in order for mainstream schools to be more DHH-friendly. I have discussed the contributions, implications, strengths and limitations of the study. It was concluded that the progressive perspective of inclusion in terms of school restructuring, respect, welcoming, participation and belonging is a far-reaching objective in the Saudi context.
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