School of Education
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)
inclusive education, special educational needs, theory of planned behavior, teacher efficacy, mainland China
Ma, Sharon Ann, "A Phenomenological Study of In-Service Expatriate Teachers’ Experiences with Inclusive Education in Chinese Private Schools" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4374.
The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of in-service expatriate teachers who provide differentiated instruction for students with special educational needs (SEN) in regular classrooms at mainland Chinese private schools. The study was designed around the following central research question: What are the experiences of in-service expatriate teachers who provide differentiated instruction for students with special educational needs in regular classrooms at mainland Chinese private schools? This study used a theoretical framework of Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior by examining the planned behavior of in-service expatriate teachers as influenced by the subjective norms of the surrounding culture and their perceived behavior control for providing differentiated instruction for students with special educational needs. The data collection consisted of physical artifacts, personal interviews, and focus groups. Data were analyzed by deriving and clustering themes into categories to find meaning. Seven themes were derived from the participants’ experiences (a) concern for students with SEN; (b) awareness of differentiated instruction; (c) reluctance to accommodate or modify instruction; (d) feelings of inadequate preparation; (e) frustration with cultural differences; (f) overwhelmed with challenges; and (g) learning from experience. The findings of this study are consistent with the research previously conducted on teacher self-efficacy and inclusive education. Interpretations of the themes included three significant interpretations: the cultural dissonance within expatriate teachers in Chinese schools, the need for clearer school policies, and the need to increase teacher self-efficacy for providing differentiated instruction in an inclusive classroom.