Mendive. Revista de Educación, january-may 2019; 17(1): 20-33
Translated from the original in Spanish
The overcoming of the primary teachers in the realization of the curricular adaptations
La superación de los maestros primarios en la realización de las adaptaciones curriculares
Yosniel Estévez Arias1
1University of Pinar del Río «Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca». School of Early Childhood Education. Department of Special Education. ¨Pinar del Rio. Cuba. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: April 5th, 2018.
Approved: November 11th, 2018.
In the present article an important topic in Cuban education was addressed: the permanent formation of primary teachers in the context of educational inclusion. The objective of the work was directed to the proposal of a strategy of overcoming Primary Education teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities, in conditions of educational inclusion. During the course of the investigation, theoretical, empirical and statistical methods were applied to collect, interpret and process the information related to the subject in question. As a result, the proposal elaborated on the basis of the systemic combination of several forms of organization consistent with the theoretical assumptions of Advanced Education is a response to the needs presented by teachers of Primary Education in the realization of curricular adaptations. The same is considered novel, meanwhile, the main guidelines of this process are offered in correspondence with the current demands imposed by the educational inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in the achievement of a quality education for all.
Keywords: curricular adaptations; intellectual disability; overcoming.
En el presente artículo se abordó una temática relevante en la educación cubana: la formación permanente de los maestros primarios en el contexto de la inclusión educativa. El objetivo del trabajo estuvo dirigido a la propuesta de una estrategia de superación de maestros de la Educación Primaria en la realización de las adaptaciones curriculares para alumnos con discapacidad intelectual, en condiciones de inclusión educativa. En el transcurso de la investigación se aplicaron métodos del nivel teórico, empírico y estadístico que permitieron recopilar, interpretar y procesar la información relacionada con el tema en cuestión. Como resultado, la propuesta elaborada, sobre la base de la combinación sistémica de varias formas de organización coherentes con los presupuestos teóricos de la Educación Avanzada constituye una respuesta a las necesidades que presentan los maestros de la Educación Primaria en la realización de las adaptaciones curriculares. La misma se considera novedosa, en tanto se ofrecen las pautas principales de este proceso en correspondencia con las exigencias actuales que impone la inclusión educativa de alumnos con discapacidad intelectual en el logro de una educación de calidad para todos.
Palabras clave: adaptaciones curriculares; discapacidad intelectual; superación.
The scientific-technical revolution that humanity is currently experiencing makes it evident that the development of society is increasingly due to the ability of men to create, innovate, produce and manage knowledge in correspondence with the problems and demands imposed by said developing.
Cuba, as part of the world, does not escape this reality and, immersed in a new educational revolution, dedicates to its development several material and human resources, destined to the improvement of educational systems and the permanent improvement of its professionals.
Cuban Higher Education is inserted in these purposes and has the mission of directing and controlling postgraduate academic training, in order to respond to the growing demands emanating from social development. It is aimed primarily at promoting professional growth, systematic updating and improvement of the performance of the activities of university graduates.
The strategic conception of professional improvement finds its theoretical and methodological aspects in the theory of Advanced Education, considering it as a process aimed at satisfying the needs of overcoming labor human resources, to achieve greater quality and productivity, greater Work efficiency and effectiveness.
Professional improvement to teachers in Primary Education is also part of this universe of teachers. They must be prepared to meet the new personal and social needs of their students, among which are those with intellectual disabilities or other special educational needs, associated or not with the disability.
It is considered that the overcoming of professionals is transcendental to comply with the principle of educational inclusion, since they must be able to transform the conditions in which the educational process is developed and look for the methods, procedures and work styles that correspond to the peculiarities of the students.
Educational inclusion is, therefore, a political project concerned with the examination of differences, an issue that affects all elements of an educational system, a process that must guarantee quality education for all students, regardless of their special conditions of development, which constitutes a challenge to professionalism, to the psychological, pedagogical and didactic improvement of teaching groups.
The inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in Primary Education requires that the school must:
"(...) substantially modify its structure, functioning and pedagogical approach to meet the educational needs of each and every one of the children, including those with a disability ` Cobas, CL (2013. p.22).
From this perspective, educational inclusion contributes to the aspirations of achieving social justice, equality and equal opportunities, since it is considered as:
« (...) a way to help to eliminate marginalization, as an effective approach to education, provided that it responds to the characteristics, regularities and variety of human development (...) » (Borges, S. 2011, p. 5).
In its broadest expression, as the aforementioned author refers, inclusion is understood as: « (...) a conception that recognizes everyone's right to quality education, regardless of its particularities and characteristics that condition the variability in its development ( ) » (Borges, S. 2014, p. 14).
The above presupposes that, under conditions of inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in Primary Education, a curriculum must be conceived that meets their educational needs.
It coincides with Guerra et al. (2012) , when it refers that the curriculum of students with intellectual disabilities must have an inclusive character, manifesting itself in the « (...) possibility that it offers for the realization of curricular adaptations and designing pedagogical help as a way to favor attention education in primary or special school» (p. 17).
Related to the previous ideas, Gayle, A.; Guerra, S.; Cobas, CL. (2013); Guirado, VC; González, D. (2013) and others consider the curricular adaptations as modifications or adjustments that are made to the curriculum taking into account the individual characteristics of the students.
Recognizing the meaning of the individuality of the students for the gradual modification of the didactic components of the curriculum, Guirado, V. and González, D. (2013) state that: «The curricular adaptation is the accommodation of the educational offer to the possibilities and needs of students with special educational needs (...). It is an instrument of adjustment to the development, evaluation, performance and teaching-learning procedures; a tool to adapt the interrelation of the didactic components of the process » (p. 18).
According to Guerra et al. (2012):
«The process of curriculum design, development and evaluation in schools that serve students with mental retardation goes through a double methodological processing for adaptation given by the modifications made to the general curriculum in correspondence with the special educational needs of these students and their students. Individual particularities" (p. 66).
From this perspective, the existence of three levels leading to the realization of: general curricular adjustments (level I), institutional, family and community curricular adjustments (level II) and adaptations are required within the process of carrying out the curricular adaptations Individualized curricula (level III).
Individualized curricular adaptations are understood as "modifications that will be made in the classroom programming to respond to the special educational needs of students when required" (Guerra et al. (2012) p. 69).
The preparation of teachers to fulfill this task is an essential condition and its success depends on the success of a quality educational inclusion for all.
Despite the studies carried out by several Cuban authors, regarding the overcoming of primary teachers for the attention to the generality of students with special educational needs and in their level of preparation for the realization of curricular adaptations, the main author considers that in correspondence with the current requirements imposed by the educational inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in Primary Education, the topic needs to be deepened.
Hence the need to propose a strategy that contributes to the improvement of Primary School teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
MATERIAL AND METHOD
The study was carried out in the different elementary schools of the municipalities of Viñales, Consolación del Sur and Pinar del Río, from 2010 to May 2015. A sample of 75 Primary School teachers who have students included in their classrooms was worked on with intellectual disability. The selection of the sample followed an intentional criterion, while it was possible to work with all the elements that integrated it.
The investigative process assumed the dialectical-materialist method as a general method for the construction of the necessary knowledge in the solution of the scientific problem. At all times the mixed research approach was taken into account, while it was based on theoretical methods such as: modeling, systemic-structural, analysis and synthesis, as well as induction and deduction. These methods allowed the systematization of the theoretical knowledge necessary to support the strategy; In addition, they allowed their modeling from the components and the essential relationships between them.
Similarly, empirical methods such as document analysis, class observation and teacher interviews were used to process and assess the necessary information that would allow the diagnosis of the current state of preparation of Primary School teachers for realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
In particular, the analysis of documents allowed the verification of the projection of contents related to curricular adaptations in different normative and methodological writings of the process of overcoming the teachers of Primary Education.
The observation to the classes (initial and final) allowed verifying how the Primary School teachers implement in the classes the curricular adaptations for the students with intellectual disabilities.
The teacher interview (initial and final) corroborated the level of preparation on the theoretical and methodological aspects that underpin the realization of the curricular adaptations, as well as the attitude reflected in said process.
The selection of the methods and the construction of the instruments responded to the interests of the research and, in turn, facilitated the construction of the overcoming strategy.
The results of the application of the aforementioned instruments, which evidenced the weaknesses of the primary teachers in the realization of the curricular adaptations and the need to prepare a proposal in correspondence with the deficiencies identified.
For this purpose, the methodological triangulation technique was applied. This allowed identifying the main insufficiencies to be taken into account for the elaboration of the overcoming strategy for teachers of Primary Education in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
Primary school teachers have inadequacies in the mastery of the theoretical aspects that support the realization of the curricular adaptations evidenced in:
Primary school teachers have inadequacies in the knowledge of the methodological aspects that support the process of carrying out the curricular adaptations evidenced in:
Proposed solution to the problem identified
As a solution to the shortcomings referred to above, a strategy is proposed that aims to contribute to the improvement of Primary Education teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
The decision to develop an overcoming strategy required the search for definitions and varieties of this scientific result.
From the Advanced Education a group of terminologies on this concept is contributed, among them are: joint interventive strategy, interdisciplinary strategy of overcoming, strategy for the training of experts, strategy for the elaboration of research projects, evaluation strategy and strategy of overcoming.
In the documentary review, the main author has been able to appreciate that in the strategies there must be an interrelation between all its components, so that they express a logical combination of actors, factors and actions, selected among other combination alternatives to achieve a certain objective in a specific context
In this regard and in relation to the above, Añorga (1999) states that: «The conceptualization of forms, other strategies, technologies, instruments and methods in which the action should be ordered to achieve certain short-term objectives, medium and long term, explaining in its letter, the security in the possibility of reaching the objectives and what are the factors that will be met" (p. 30).
This research assumes this definition, given the theoretical and methodological relevance of the considerations made for the development of the strategy of improvement for teachers of Primary Education in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
When deepening the studies on the subject in question, the criteria that define the overcoming strategies were found as a system of personalized actions, which allow to implement in the pedagogical practice the use of the methods and procedures that allow the transformation of the behavior of the subjects, seen in the performance of those who participate, leading them to professional improvement and to the elevation of the quality of life of human beings that develop in a particular sociocultural context.
The first element of the structure of the overcoming strategy is related to the philosophical, sociological, psychological, pedagogical, and legal, curricular and didactic foundations, which allowed establishing a set of relationships that enrich the process of overcoming in the theoretical plane from the Theory of Advanced Education. These relationships are as follows (Estévez, 2015, p.100):
These relationships favor the development of Advanced Education as an educational theory within the Pedagogical Sciences, in the area of the process of overcoming for teachers, and enrich Special Education in the challenge of achieving theoretical positions around educational inclusion for all.
The identified relationships of the dialectical and causal type favor the identification of the contribution to scientific theory based on the process of systematization of the process of overcoming teachers in Primary Education and the process of curricular adaptation for the training and development of students with intellectual disabilities
Taking into account the above, the mission of the strategy of improvement proposed is to ensure the improvement of teachers in Primary Education in the realization of curricular adaptations in response to the variability of the development of students with intellectual disabilities and the current requirements imposed by educational inclusion.
The general objective is to contribute to the improvement of Primary Education teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
The specific objectives are:
To meet the proposed objective, the strategy consists of four phases (diagnosis, planning, execution and evaluation), which in turn contain general, short, medium and long term actions; as well as forms of organization that in their didactic structure integrate objectives, themes, content systems, methods, procedures, evaluation systems and bibliography.
The first phase (Diagnosis of the needs of overcoming) has as objective to determine the needs of overcoming of the teachers of the Primary Education in the realization of the curricular adaptations for the students with intellectual disability.
To meet the proposed objective, the following actions were drawn and implemented:
1. Specify the dimensions and indicators to be taken into account in the collection of information on the inadequacies and needs of teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
2. Determine the methods to be used to identify the needs of Primary School teachers in relation to the realization of curricular adaptations.
3. To elaborate the instruments corresponding to the determined methods to identify the knowledge that the teachers of the Primary Education possess in the realization of the curricular adaptations.
4. Apply the instruments developed to identify the knowledge that Primary School teachers possess in the realization of curricular adaptations.
5. Process the results obtained through the application of the instruments applied.
6. Prepare a report that qualitatively and quantitatively reflects the results obtained.
The actions described above were projected and executed from January to March 2011.
The second phase (Planning of the overcoming) is proposed with the objective of planning, in an organized way, the actions and forms of organization to be executed in order to overcome and create changes in attitudes in the teachers of Primary Education in the realization of the curricular adaptations.
In order to fulfill the objective proposed in this phase, general actions are proposed in the short, medium and long terms.
The general actions are presented below, which are aimed at planning in an organized and conscious way the overcoming of Primary Education teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
The general actions include those that are aimed at raising awareness among teachers regarding the realization of curricular adaptations; so that they face the process with willingness, commitment and responsibility.
1. Establish the objectives to be achieved based on guiding the process of overcoming Primary School teachers, based on the needs identified in the diagnosis of the current state.
2. Determine the requirements for planning to overcome the teachers of Primary Education.
3. Determine the forms of organization to be executed based on the overcoming of Primary School teachers.
4. Establish the schedule for the execution of the specific forms of organization and their concretion in the municipalities Viñales, Consolación del Sur and Pinar del Río.
5. Specify the objectives, contents, methods, means and forms of evaluation of the overcoming activities based on the problems identified.
The actions described above were projected and executed from March to April 2011.
6. Plan the different forms of organization for the overcoming of Primary School teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
7. Prepare the necessary material resources for the overcoming of Primary School teachers in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
8. Determine the indicators and forms of evaluation of teachers to continuously assess the progress in the appropriation of theoretical, methodological and attitudinal knowledge necessary in the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
In order to fulfill the objective proposed in this phase, the short, medium and long term actions are shown below, which allow the teachers of Primary Education to be overcome in different periods.
Short-term actions are aimed at overcoming and encouraging changes in attitudes in Primary School teachers in relation to the realization of curricular adaptations in a short period. Among these are:
1. Coordinate the development of a workshop with the Provincial Methodological Team of Primary Education to analyze the main shortcomings obtained in the study carried out and socialize the strategic projection of the objectives, actions and forms of organization in order to meet the needs to overcome teachers in relation to the realization of curricular adaptations. Date of realization: October 2011.
2. To develop the program of the course of overcoming for the teachers of the Primary Education for the realization of the curricular adaptations. Date of realization: October 2011-June 2012.
3. Develop the self - improvement program for teachers in Primary Education to carry out curricular adaptations. Date of realization: permanent.
Next, the medium-term actions are related, aimed at consolidating the overcoming of teachers in relation to the theoretical, methodological and attitudinal aspects that support the realization of curricular adaptations. Among these are:
1. To agree with the principals of the special schools for students with intellectual disabilities the projection of different forms of methodological work to be carried out in order to support the teachers of Primary Education in the realization of the curricular adaptations. Date of realization: September 2011.
2. Develop the improvement workshops for teachers of Primary Education. Date of realization: October 2012-June 2013.
3. Develop methodological assistance visits. Date of realization: October 2012-June 2013.
4. Develop scientific debates among Primary Education teachers who are in the process of overcoming. Date of realization: October 2013-January 2014.
5. Develop control visits to Primary School teachers. Date of realization: October 2013-June 2014.
6. Continue to develop the self - improvement program for teachers. Date of realization: permanent.
Long-term actions are aimed at teachers reaching higher levels of knowledge and changes in attitudes regarding the realization of curricular adaptations. Among these are:
1. Develop the exchange of experiences between teachers in improvement. Date of realization: October 2014-December 2014.
2. Continue to develop the self - improvement program for teachers. Date of realization: permanent.
3. Promote the development of research papers and participation in events, where the results obtained in the realization of curricular adaptations are socialized. Date of realization: October 2014-December 2014.
4. Perform the assessment, by teachers in overcoming, of the different actions and forms of organization planned in the strategy. Date of realization: December 2014.
The third phase (Execution of the actions and the planned forms of organization) consists in executing all the planned actions and organizational forms in order to overcome and create attitude changes in the Primary Education teachers in relation to the realization of the curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
In the process of executing the overcoming strategy, a set of requirements were taken into account, such as disposition and commitment, role of the participating teachers, guaranteeing hygienic conditions and material assurance.
The fourth phase (Evaluation of the overcoming strategy) aims to evaluate the overcoming strategy for teachers of Primary Education, from the different organizational actions and forms planned and executed, according to the needs identified in the diagnosis made.
The following are the actions to be carried out:
1. Evaluate the results achieved by teachers, from the completion of the activities conceived in the course of improvement, workshops, scientific debates, consultations, experience exchange meetings and self-improvement, taking into account self-assessment, the results of teamwork and the discussions that take place. Date of realization: according to the planned cuts.
2. Evaluate the changes that take place from the theoretical, methodological and attitudinal points of view of the teachers according to the curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities. Date of realization: according to the planned cuts.
3. Assess the development of research interests and if it generates other levels of improvement for teachers. Date of realization: according to the planned cuts.
4. Assess, from the theoretical point of view, the strategy of improvement developed. Date of realization: May-June 2013.
5. Verify the practical feasibility of the proposed improvement strategy, through empirical exploration. Date of realization: September-December 2014.
The phases of the strategy are interrelated and this is achieved from its system of actions sequentially. The proposed actions allow to establish the links between them in correspondence with their general objective.
The overcoming strategy was applied in the primary schools of the municipalities: Viñales, Consolación del Sur and Pinar del Río. All planned actions and organizational forms were developed.
The evaluation was a permanent component during the execution of the strategy. For this, the dimensions and indicators declared in the operationalization of the variable were taken into account, which allowed the information to be collected and the results obtained and their respective comparison with those of the diagnosis of the current state to be collected.
The results obtained were processed by the statistical package SPSS 10.00, the non-parametric test of the signs and the procedures of the descriptive statistics, allowing to specify the behavior of the indicators established according to the decision rules adopted and reflect the comparative status between the initial measurement and finally.
Then the results obtained after application in practice demonstrating the feasibility of the proposal are presented.
In the initial diagnosis it was found that in all the indicators of the dimensions studied (theoretical, methodological and attitudinal) the results were mostly insufficient, ranging between 93.3 % and 100 %. The most affected dimension was the theoretical one. It is significant that none of the indicators of both dimensions obtained values classified as sufficient.
The results of the final measurement show net gain in all indicators. In all cases, sufficient values are reflected that fluctuated between 93.3 % and 100 %. Under no indicator was insufficient values obtained.
The data obtained in the two measurements made were analyzed using the sign test, whose results allow us to affirm that significant changes have been made in the preparation of teachers in Primary Education regarding the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities after the improvement received.
The variable is measured on an ordinal scale with many ligatures, so the statistical assessment test that is applied is that of the signs, with a significance level of 0.01, so the following hypotheses are proposed:
Ho: the strategy applied does not exert significant changes in the improvement of teachers. The probability of finding a teacher with good results is the same whether or not the strategy is applied.
Ha: the strategy applied exerts significant changes in the improvement of teachers. The probability of finding a teacher with good results is higher if the strategy is applied.
The statistical test for the evaluation of the signs is compared with the values of the normal distribution of probabilities, which for a test in a queue:
If the value of z of the test () the null hypothesis is rejected, otherwise it is accepted.
The calculation of Zp from the data record to compare with the critical value in the normal probability distribution table is performed according to the formula:
X : Number of positive changes.
N: sample size.
The value of Zp is greater than 2.33, so Ho is rejected and it is quite likely that the strategy applied will exert significant changes in the improvement of teachers.
In this way, the overcoming strategy, as seen in the results presented, contributed to the preparation of teachers in the theoretical, methodological and attitudinal aspects related to the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities.
The results obtained after the application of the system of methods described above, as well as the theoretical systematization on the subject, demonstrate the need to deepen it, due to the relevance and relevance of the initial and permanent professional training of the primary teacher, given the social demands imposed by the process of educational inclusion and the functions that this professional must perform.
In this sense, the strategy of overcoming that was proposed was based on the dialectical and historical materialism and its methodological basis is therefore the Marxist-Leninist theory of knowledge. Their journey allowed us to identify what part of the improvement of teachers for the process of educational inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities should be subject to transformation (the preparation of teachers for the realization of curricular adaptations) and in their abstraction, identify the contradictions, needs and potentials that are manifested in it, to be able to develop and implement a strategy of overcoming based on achieving the proposed general objective.
From this perspective, it is considered that the proposed strategy is novel and different, because:
- The social requirements related to the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in Primary Education have been considered as conditions of new proposals that in the educational order must be developed in order to prepare man for life, to interact with the environment, transform it and transform itself.
- It allowed the transformation of the teachers, in correspondence with the development and the transformations given in the socio-political order. From this derives the professional challenge that teachers have, from the teaching-educational, the methodological, the overcoming and the investigative, which allow them to solve social problems and demands, presupposing the permanent overcoming based on establishing a relationship between school-society.
- The prominence, development and evolution of teachers in relation to the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities was promoted, based on reflective action and innovation practices in continuous curricular updating, so that at the same time that they develop, learn and transform, they transmit knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that must be preserved as a historical-cultural legacy.
- The relationship between theory and practice was fostered, since the theoretical, methodological and attitudinal aspects related to the curricular adaptations acquired by teachers, from different forms of organization, can be used in their own formulation, implementation and evaluation.
The analyzes carried out here lead to the following approaches:
The overcoming strategy aimed at overcoming Primary School teachers for the realization of curricular adaptations for students with intellectual disabilities, is relevant because it responds to a social need, offers the possibility of integrating the factors of school, family and community under concrete conditions of the territory, as well as the active participation of its actors, where each one assumes his role in a conscious way and in a dynamic multiplier of actions, projection and evaluation of his results.
On the other hand, with the application of the pedagogical strategy, a higher level of preparation, development of skills and professional ways of acting in Primary School teachers was achieved, for the direction of an educational teaching process in correspondence with the variations in the development and degree of functional commitment of students with intellectual disabilities included in this educational subsystem.
In the same way, it is considered that studies related to the realization of curricular adaptations should be increased in correspondence with an increasingly inclusive vision of Primary Education, which fosters the improvement of teachers in correspondence with this challenge of Cuban education.
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