Teacher Self-Efficacy in Inclusive Education: The Case of Low-Performing Private Schools in Dubai

  • Juman Karaman-Feidi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Teachers commonly face challenges with students experiencing disabilities in their classrooms, but these are exacerbated when teachers have not been ‘empower[ed] to include’ (Gaad, 2015). Research findings have established that teachers with a high self-efficacy in inclusion are key enablers of learning for students experiencing disabilities, and their views are important (Avramidis,2002). In private schools judged by the Dubai authorities as generally low-performing, teacher self-efficacy in inclusion was expected to be low. This study produces insights on teacher self-confidence in inclusion at schools with limited resources and aims to help schools improve their inclusion provision by signaling prioritized areas for development.
The research methods used included semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings, and a closed-ended survey to capture teacher perceptions of their self-efficacy in inclusion, with questions drawing partially on the Index for Inclusion developed by Booth and Ainscow (2002). Data was gathered from fifty teaching staff in seven purposively selected private schools to answer the research questions about their understandings of inclusive education (IE); their views on their respective schools’ practices of inclusive education; and their self-judgements of their abilities to cope. Qualitative results were triangulated with the quantified results of the survey, and with secondary data from Dubai government published documents of the country’s commitment to international policies in IE.
Results showed a prevalence of varying understandings of IE both across and within schools, where different philosophical approaches to inclusion are applied. Among the main factors negatively affecting teacher self-efficacy in IE were issues in teacher professional development, and leadership practices of a rigid hierarchical management that is incompatible with the requirements of an effective IE.
The findings of this study confirm previous knowledge of the importance of capacity building of teaching staff through adequate professional development measures. These findings emphasise the need for a school leadership that supports and empowers teachers and is able to establish relations of effective collaboration amongst staff that can lead to a collective efficacy. The suggestion is made that teacher self-efficacy be visualized as a sensor that can indicate any misgivings of practices in inclusive education, thus help an agile leadership to address any issues impeding the enhancement of teacher self-efficacy.

Date of Award11 Oct 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAndrea Abbas (Supervisor) & Simon Hayhoe (Supervisor)


  • Teacher self-efficacy
  • inclusion
  • inclusive education
  • school leadership
  • collective efficacy

Cite this