BELIEFS OF STUDENT TEACHERS ABOUT THEIR COMPETENCIES FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN SLOVENIA AND SERBIA
Sunčica V. Macura
The inclusive education policy requires prospective teachers to develop competencies to promote learning in all pupils. Having in mind that teachers’ beliefs are reflected in their practice, the present study aims to explore beliefs of fourth-year student teachers from Slovenia and Serbia about their own competencies relating to inclusive education. Specifically, the research questions are: 1) What are student teachers’ beliefs about their own competencies related to inclusive education? 2) Are there any differences in student teachers’ beliefs in relation to the country in which they are studying? The sample consisted of 135 student teachers enrolled at the University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Education in Jagodina and the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education in Ljubljana. The instrument (questionnaire) contained 26 statements relating to eight areas of teacher expertise: setting the ‘learning to learn’ goal for all pupils; taking responsibility for the learning of all pupils; personalized learning approaches that support autonomy in learning; identifying and addressing barriers to learning; differentiation of curriculum content, learning process and learning materials; positive classroom management; formative and summative assessment and cooperative learning. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS 22.0. The frequencies of each of the responses were calculated for each group of students (Slovenia and Serbia). Differences between the two groups of students were analysed with the χ² test. The results of the study suggest that the majority of student teachers participating in the study feel competent in the abovementioned areas of teacher expertise. The self-confident perceptions of competencies of student teachers from both countries are interpreted in the lens of theories of professional development and implications for further development of teacher education for inclusive education are provided.
Keywords: student teachers, competencies, inclusive education, Slovenia, Serbia.
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