Faculty of Education, Al Ain University of science and Technology, UAE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The United Arab Emirates has always been keen to integrate students with special needs in mainstream classrooms. This study explores teachers’ attitudes toward the inclusion of children with disabilities in the UAE mainstream schools. It also provides a basic background about the present types of programs and services offered within the UAE schools with respect to individuals with special needs. The main findings of this study which targeted 56 teachers who are involved in teaching students with disabilities in UAE private and public inclusive schools indicated that the participating teachers agreed in principle with the goals of inclusion, however, they were generally unsatisfied about the current practices of inclusion in their schools. These teachers reported that their schools have insufficient allowance for special equipment, resources and services; a limited number of certified special education personnel; a lack of proper training for teachers in mainstream classrooms, and a lack of clear guiding policies available in schools to deal with inclusion issues, even the senior-level administrators are not sufficiently knowledgeable with inclusion practices. Further, these teachers expressed common concerns such as teachers’ time taken away from the rest of the students, class size, and safety of children with special needs. Such teachers’ concerns might be justified as inclusion is relatively a new educational philosophy practiced in the country.
Keywords: special education teachers; inclusion; UAE special education; students with disabilities