A Model for Inclusive Schools in Thailand
Vorapanya, Sermsap, 1974-
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Vorapanya, Sermsap, 1974-
Inclusive education is now accepted worldwide as the best educational practice for children with special needs, but there is still considerable debate about how best to implement inclusion in specific cultures. The purpose of this research study was to develop a model of inclusion that is appropriate for elementary schools in Thailand and to identify appropriate leadership roles in adoption of inclusion practices. This research study was divided into two phases. The first phase consisted of an extensive review of inclusion practice and research findings around the world and development of a best practices inclusion model to guide subsequent interviews. Ten best practices inclusive elementary school principals were interviewed, and observations were conducted in classrooms and surrounding school environments. The phase one findings were then used to create a draft model for Thai inclusive education. In the second phase of research, two focus groups, made up of ten nationally recognized experts in the area of Thai special education, were used. The participants assisted with refinement of the best practices model for Thai elementary schools. Findings included identification of three critical aspects that affect the adoption of inclusion practices: specific characteristics of Thai society and culture; current policy and practices related to current policy; and financing of inclusion. School principals were found to be essential to successful inclusion adoption. Recommendations are made for changes in practice and policy and for future research. The final conclusion drawn from this study was that, even though Thailand had made a great beginning to a monumental and honorable task, the idea of inclusive education is still in early development. The core findings of the research study argue that, while more steps needs to be taken as implementation of inclusion continues, the principals, teachers, parents, education experts, and the people of Thailand have the commitment and strength of determination to make inclusion an integrated part of Thai education.
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