FEMALE GENERAL EDUCATION TEACHERS' KNOWLEDGE OF AND PERCEIVED SKILLS RELATED TO LEARNING DISABILITIES IN THE QASSIM REGION, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Alkhateeb, Norah A.
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Students with learning disabilities are now taught in inclusive classrooms in Saudi Arabia. There is a lack of research on female general education teachers' knowledge of and skills related to the inclusion of students with learning disabilities. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate female general education teachers' knowledge of learning disabilities and perceived skills related to working with students with learning disabilities in the Qassim Region of Saudi Arabia. Two hundred and twelve teachers participated in an online survey distributed via Qualtrics and ten principals were interviewed for the study. The relationship among demographic factors with the teachers' knowledge of learning disabilities and their perceived ability to teach students with learning disabilities in the general education classroom were analyzed using ANOVA. Pearson correlations were used to ascertain the relationship between teachers' familiarity with evidence-based strategies to support inclusion and demographic variables. Paired sample t-tests were used to examine the relationship between sources of information and teacher knowledge and self-efficacy.. Teachers with professional training did not have significantly higher knowledge regarding identifying students with learning disabilities. Familiarity with a person with learning disabilities was linked to the teachers' purported use of accommodations while having a medium to large size class was not related to use of accommodations. Teachers used Twitter, Facebook and television for finding information regarding learning disabilities and knowledgeable teachers used more sources of information. Professional training, class size, familiarity with persons with learning disabilities was related to teacher familiarity with teaching strategies. Teachers identified lack of training and increased class size as barriers to inclusion. Principals' felt that successful inclusion of students with learning disabilities required highly trained teachers who had a range of sophisticated cognitive and emotional skills and who provided multiple learning strategies. The principals also felt that the general education teachers had very basic knowledge about instructing students with learning disabilities. Recommendations for teacher preparation programs, educational organizations, and future research are provided.