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A study of school leadership, culture and structures in the context of inclusion of learning disabled students as perceived by school staff in mainstream secondary schools in Israel

By Tsafi Timor

Abstract

Since the end of the 1980s the Western World of education has increased its awareness towards learning-disabled students (LDS), and current legislation favours the inclusion for these students as well as for students with other special educational needs in mainstream education. Despite this worldwide commitment, there is no consensus regarding the definitions of learning disabilities (LD), and assessment instruments used for the identification of LD are varied. This lack of unanimity of procedures accompanied by over-inflated numbers of students identified as LDS has originated an in-depth study whose main focus will be managerial. \ud A review of the empirical literature on inclusion has indicated that leadership, culture and structures are all involved in the process. However, the aim of this study was to explore more specifically how school leadership, school structures and school culture are related to inclusive elements and whether they can predict the level of inclusion. The exploration was conducted according to perceptions of three populations: headteachers, teachers and counselors. The research was carried out in five mainstream secondary schools in Tel-Aviv, Israel. \ud Findings from this study matched the literature regarding the contribution of leadership, culture and structures to the process of change-making, but at the same time leadership seems to over-ride culture and structures in the context of inclusion. Findings showed that managerialism is in a transition phase from ‘old’ to ‘new’ in most schools. Yet, inclusive elements fall behind managerial elements in respect of their level of ripening. Thus, the process of inclusion was observed as slower than the process of management improvement and has not reached its full maturity yet. It has also been inferred that the level of inclusion might be predicted to some extent on the basis of school management. On the whole, it might be argued that LDS still present a burden to headteachers and they are not a top priority at schools. Despite the enhancement of the issue of LDS, the educational system does not offer at this point practical responses to these students. Therefore, this issue is still considered as a change in process. The study ends with suggestions for further research in the area

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7719

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