Teachers' knowledge and beliefs about dyslexia: A survey of pilot inclusive schools in the Effutu District

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In an era where basic education and equal opportunity are perceived human rights, governments and different stakeholders are continually making adjustments to how education is provided for children with dyslexia. Although this global social justice agenda has translated into the Ghanaian educational system, most of the efforts have been towards accommodating traditional disabilities. Consequently, the instructional accommodations needed by children with dyslexia to help remediate the difficulties experienced may not be effectively provided. This research attempts to explore the beliefs that may influence the instructional strategies used on children with dyslexia. Specifically, it investigates teachers' beliefs about dyslexia and explores the extent to which teacher education-specific variables may influence such beliefs. The scope of the research was confined to the Effutu District, Winneba, where professional development initiatives have been comparatively rife. It focused on pilot inclusive schools in the district. Participating teachers consisted of 40 teachers from 6 out of the 8 pilot inclusive schools in the region. Teacher beliefs and knowledge towards dyslexia was measured using both semi-structured interviews and a 15-item dyslexia scale adapted from the validated Dyslexia Belief Index. Descriptive analysis revealed that the mean questionnaire score was lower than 48 points, which was the score hypothesized to be indicative of accurate beliefs considerable knowledge about dyslexia. In spite of this, further analysis revealed that teachers in the Effutu district had both misconceptions and accurate beliefs about dyslexia. Another key finding of the study was that special education needs training in dyslexia and in general did not significantly lead to fewer misconceptions; and teachers with Masters in education had a significantly higher mean score than teachers with Diploma in education. The implications of these findings for teaching training initiatives are discussed.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2014
Ghana, dyslexia, specific reading disability, teachers’ beliefs, inclusive education, Effutu District