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Action Learning's Effects on Special Educators’ Attitudes Towards Students

Manuela Mauceri, Graziella Di Marco, Orazio Licciardello


In Italian scholastic scenery, special education teachers represent the main resource to facilitate the implementation to the right of education of the disabled students. In this frame, the formation of “know how to be”, or the awareness of how you are found in a problematic situation (or felt as problematic), and the “knowledge” contributed to the “able to do”; that's the appropriate interpretation of special education teachers’ professional role. So we have proposed a workshop inspired to Action Learning and we have carried out a research with 61 pre-service special education teachers. These have filled in a questionnaire before and after their participation in the workshop executed in a small group setting.The aim of this research was dual. First, to explore the representation that the sample had about their Professional Self and about students (both disabled and normal), and to assess the emotional involvement in the educational relationship. Second, to verify the hypothesis that the workshop facilitated emotional involvement and a most positive representation of students.The following measures were used for our data: 3 Semantic Differentials, the Portrait Values Questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2001), regarding the domain of self-transcendence; 2 inventories PANAS (Watson et al., 1988), 1 scale for assessing Empathy towards disabled people.Results showed that an active involvement of the participants in the workshop had effects on a most articulated emotional representation of students (normal and disabled).
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