Insight Into Special Education Teachers’ Practices With Preschool Children in Saudi Arabia

  •  Faris H. Algahtani    


Special educational teachers’ practices in a centre for children with intellectual disabilities in Saudi Arabia were shown to be influenced by the Islamic and Arab context together with differing understandings of disability and American-influenced treatments of what are seen as inappropriate behaviours. Knowledge of the interventions which teachers find useful and effective enables identification of potential improvements in educational services for preschool children. In this interpretive qualitative study, data were collected from semi-structured interviews with fifteen teachers in a single centre. Findings identified through thematic analysis of the data are presented in three main categories: play as intervention, structure, and behaviour improvement. Teachers emphasized the importance of correcting behaviour as a prerequisite for more academic learning, with some acknowledgement of a child’s need for freedom and growing interest in Montessori. Key issues of initial teacher training and professional development would be addressed by the adoption of a more child-centred approach may be more suited to an Islamic approach to childhood.

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