Volume 25 (2017) : Special Issue on Inclusive Education, Guest Editor Elna Carrington-Blaides
The Competencies of Newly Qualified Teachers from The University of Trinidad and Tobago to Engage in Inclusive Practices at the Primary Level
Hundreds of teachers have graduated with a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) since 2010 and are currently employed at primary schools across Trinidad and Tobago. The purpose of the study was to determine whether Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) believed that they acquired the competencies to engage in inclusive practices. It also sought to investigate how NQTs implement inclusive practices, and to unearth their experiences. A mixed method approach was adopted using purposive sampling with one hundred and twenty NQTs. Data collection procedures included questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with focus groups and reflective writing. Data were analysed using an integration of quantitative and qualitative procedures. The results indicate that NQTs believe that they have developed the competencies to engage in inclusive practices, and they implement inclusive practices by using a variety of teaching/ learning strategies. The experiences of NQTs are encapsulated in four major themes. However, participants complained that they face major challenges. It can be concluded that there should be support, resources and a digitized forum for teachers to share best practices. This research has implications for the review of the B. Ed. programme at UTT, other higher education institutions, and for the teacher education in general.
Keywords: Competencies; Teachers; The University of Trinidad and Tobago; Inclusive Practices; Primary Education