Influencing Factors of Chinese Teachers’ Attitudes towards Current Chinese Special Education System
Recent decades have witnessed the establishment of a dual system of Chinese special education, which is special education school and the Learning in Regular Classroom movement (LRC). Teacher’s attitude about the rising special education system has become a focal research topic in the field. As an emerging trend, research has mainly focused on Chinese teachers’ attitudes about LRC. Although special education school still remain as an important way of educating children with disabilities in China, research has seldom focused on teachers’ attitudes towards special education, and thus merits a need of inquiry for better understanding.
The aim of this study is to investigate what constitute Chinese teachers’ attitudes about special education system and practice, and what factors affect Chinese teachers’ attitudes. The study examined the effect of four types of variables: demographic variables, professional character variables, affective variables and support variable on teachers’ attitudes about Chinese special education system. This study employed a large-scale nationally representative data set from the Study of Professional Development Status of Chinese Special Education Teacher for secondary data analysis. The survey was developed and distributed using a multistage stratified cluster sampling method by East China Normal University. A total of 3,485 special education school teachers from 126 schools of nine provinces participated in the study. Findings showed that teachers’ attitudes did vary based on their gender, workplace and position category. Demographic variables including age (only slightly negatively correlated with public school teachers’ attitudes when based on teacher’s position category) , educational qualification, length of special education teaching did not pose effect on teachers’ attitude. Some professional characters including teaching skills, in-service training, knowledge about special education were found positively correlated with teachers’ attitudes, while other professional character variables, including major and the kind of special education school they teach did not pose effect on their attitudes. Affective variables (self-efficacy level, teaching efficacy level and sense of achievement) and support variable (level of support) were also positively correlated with teachers’ attitudes about Chinese special education system. In the last section, implications were given for school leaders, teacher educators and researchers.