Teachers' perspectives on improving educational inclusion through the performing arts: a qualitative study of primary schools in Shenzhen

Zhu, Yinshu (2021) Teachers' perspectives on improving educational inclusion through the performing arts: a qualitative study of primary schools in Shenzhen. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research focuses on teachers’ perspectives on improving educational inclusion through the performing arts (music and dance) at primary schools in Shenzhen, China. Over the last decades, the Chinese government has attempted to develop inclusive policies and practices in schools, emphasising the importance of promoting educational equality. For example, The Learning in the Regular Classroom Programme (Ministry of Education, 1994) established that all children should be taught in mainstream schools. However, its relevant legislation has not been fully implemented, and educational inclusion in China requires further research. This study investigates schoolteachers’ perspectives on using music and dance for promoting educational inclusion. It also elucidates any influence of their backgrounds on their perceptions and any gaps between policy intentions and reported practice. The inquiry adopted a qualitative approach, including reviewing key policy documents and interviews with schoolteachers working in mainstream schools (Silverman, 2016). The document review systematically analysed key inclusive education policies and documents implemented in China since 1994. Semistructured interviews were conducted in ten primary schools with a total of thirty-four teachers, including music and dance teachers, class tutors, headteachers and special education teachers. In-depth and contextual data were collected from the researcher diary and participants’ interview transcripts on their experience of promoting educational inclusion and using music and dance to meet children’s different needs, which were thematically analysed. Data analyses highlighted six Key Findings focussing on diverse facilitating aspects and obstacles to implementing the inclusive practice and how teachers’ background may influence their beliefs and self-efficacy towards inclusive education. Although educational policies and school environment have been more inclusive since the start of the 21st century, the lack of continuing professional development, poor school collaboration, insufficient educational resources and limited parental support were found as obstacles for teachers to meet children’s different needs in mainstream school settings. Moreover, teachers with more theoretical knowledge of inclusive education or positive experience of meeting children’s needs tended to have more positive attitudes and higher self-efficacy in inclusive practices. Music and dance teachers showed stronger self-efficacy in meeting children’s needs as they were confident of creating a more inclusive learning atmosphere in music and dance classes. Implications for policy and practice are considered in the conclusion chapter, and it also suggests that music and dance activities could be a vital element of a cost-efficient and effective approach for inclusive education in Chinese schools and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Odena, Prof. Oscar and Alves, Dr. Ines
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82768
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 12:05
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:41
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82768
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82768

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