Teachers' Beliefs and Practices Toward Children with Disabilities in Ethiopia

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The purpose of this study was to examine the beliefs and practices of teachers toward students with disabilities at one early childhood school in Ethiopia. I conducted a case study that included ethnographic features in order to examine teachers' beliefs about children with disabilities, factors that influence their beliefs and ways in which teachers' beliefs are evidenced by their daily classroom practices. I used the bioecological systems theory as a framework to consider data for this study. I conducted a series of classroom observations and interviews with 12 teachers at Addis Early Childhood School (AECS) for this study. I also gathered extensive background and contextual data interviews with other Ethiopian education professionals in order to gather additional data on this topic and to triangulate data I gathered from primary sources. Findings of the study indicate that, although AECS teachers acknowledged that Ethiopian traditional beliefs linking disabilities to supernatural causes persist in Ethiopia, most AECS teachers rejected those beliefs and believed children with disabilities could learn with appropriate support. Teachers' prior training and experience related to teaching children with disabilities influenced their beliefs about children with disabilities. They held similar expectations for all of their students regardless of their abilities, and they often provided assistance and differentiation to students in order to help them meet participatory, behavioral and academic standards. Findings from this study provide valuable information for Ethiopian teachers, education policy makers, and international organizations as they continue to reform Ethiopia's education system and attempt to improve education for all children.