Characteristics of primary teacher training programmes on inclusion: a literature focus

Farida Kurniawati, Anke A. De Boer, A. E.M.G. Minnaert, Frieda Maryam Mangunsong Siahaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The implementation of inclusive education creates challenges for classroom teachers who have to meet the learning needs of students with and without special educational needs (SEN). Research has revealed that teachers’ readiness and willingness to accommodate the learning needs of students with SEN was determined by their training. Though much research on teacher training and inclusive education has been conducted over two decades, less is known about the adequacy of such training in terms of components and effectiveness.Purpose: The purpose of this review is to present a focused analysis of: (1) studies that examined, in detail, the components of teacher training programmes for pre-service or in-service teachers in regular primary schools in terms of content, length, etc., and (2) consideration of the effectiveness of these training programmes.Design and methods: The literature review was restricted to empirical studies published in international peer-reviewed journals after 1994 (i.e. since the Salamanca statement was signed) by using the electronic browser ‘EBSCO host Complete’. After applying the keywords ‘teacher’ and ‘educator’, they were combined with the following terms: training, disabilities, inclusion, inclusive education, impairment, special educational needs, children with special needs and disorder. The search was deliberately restricted to papers where study participants were pre-service or in-service teachers in regular primary schools, and ultimately yielded a small core of 13 studies for detailed review. The first research question was analysed in terms of the training programme’s structure and content, covering aspects such as type of disability, topic, length, medium of course delivery and learning activities. For the second research question, the effectiveness of the quantitative studies was evaluated based on the Cohen’s d effect size, whereas the qualitative studies were considered as effective based on the calculation of percentage of non-overlapping data (PND).Conclusions: Analysis indicated that the majority of training programmes focused on attitude, knowledge and skills. The training programmes were also centred on what might be considered short-term practice and supplemented with field experiences. Although the training programmes appeared to have positive effects on teachers’ attitudes, knowledge and skills, follow-up sessions and students’ outcomes measures may increase training effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-326
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014


  • inclusive education
  • literature review
  • primary school
  • teacher training programme


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