Attitudes Towards Collaboration to Create Inclusive Education in Saudi Elementary Schools: General Education Teachers Perceptions

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This survey study investigates general education teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion and collaboration to create inclusive classrooms for students with learning disabilities in Saudi elementary public schools. General education teachers in Saudi Arabia are central to the success of the inclusion of students with learning disabilities, and understanding their attitudes is fundamental to the success of inclusion and collaboration, to truly create the inclusive classroom. A sample of 188 Saudi general education teachers responded to an online Likert scale survey supplemented with open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics and One-way ANOVA were used in the analysis of the data, which revealed that the sample of general education teachers have neutral attitudes towards inclusion. However, these teachers have positive attitudes towards collaboration, including the two domains of knowledge of and feelings towards collaboration. There is a significant (p < 0.05) difference in the teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion and their feelings towards collaboration when resource rooms exist in schools. However, there is no significant difference in teachers’ attitudes regarding the knowledge of collaboration when resource rooms exist in schools. The open-ended questions revealed that teachers are aware of the importance of their role in the success of inclusion. In addition, the teachers stated that the availability of resources, including special education (SE) teachers is key to creating successful collaboration. A number of barriers to achieving inclusion and collaboration were raised by the teachers, including lack of SE teachers, and the number of students in the classrooms. Concerns were also raised regarding students with learning disabilities, and their abilities to access the general curriculum. Issues external to teacher-to-teacher and teacher-to-students’ relationships, such as administrative support and lack of knowledge regarding inclusion and collaboration practices are also identified. This study lays the foundations for further research regarding in-service training programs, ways to develop and enhance collaboration between teachers and to investigate the perceptions of students with learning difficulties regarding having a collaborative team of teachers who can motivate and guide them in the general education classroom.