Teacher Experience with Autistic Students and the Relationship with Teacher Self-Efficacy
Outcomes for Inclusive Education
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by challenges in social communicative skills and repetitive and restricted behaviours and activities. In recent years there has been an increased integration of autistic students into mainstream classrooms in Canada alongside policy necessitating inclusive teaching practices. Teachers of these inclusive classrooms, however, report being underprepared to address the learning and behavioural needs of autistic students. Many teachers have stated that they are unable to provide effective instruction that benefits all students due to a lack of practical experience teaching autistic students in their teaching program. A teacher’s lack of experience results in an inability to facilitate an effective inclusive classroom environment, which in turn has negative consequences on their self-efficacy and future implementation of inclusive teaching strategies. Low teacher self-efficacy may undermine a teacher’s propensity to provide an inclusive environment, which is further reinforced when they are unable to accommodate autistic students. Recommendations for pre-service and in-service teachers are discussed in consideration of the reciprocal relationship between teacher self-efficacy and the academic outcomes for autistic students.
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