THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WEBQUESTS PROMOTING ENGLISH- LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING FOR INCLUSIVE INSTRUCTION OF LEARNERS WITH DISABILITY
Keywords:WebQuest, a teacher of English-as-a-foreign-language, pre-service teachers, teacher training, special educational needs, a learner with disability.
nclusion in Ukraine has been the national educational policy since 2018. Most of post- graduate educational institutions that provide professional development opportunities, responded to the need for preparing in-service teachers for addressing inclusion-related challenges. Relevant academic modules and courses have been designed and are being delivered all over the country. In the same time, a survey conducted among 136 teachers of English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) revealed that its results are insufficient for effective teaching. It may be caused by three factors. The first one is the lack of trainers' knowledge, skills and experience of teaching learners with disabilities that influences the quality of professional development. The second one is the segregation mentality that can still be found in educationalists and which explains their unwillingness to accept inclusion of learners with disability. The last reason is the complex nature of a typical professional development course that highlights numerous issues related to language teaching and leaves little time for reflection and practice. Thus, the theoretical input provided cannot result in readiness for inclusion.
The present research is aimed at studying the potential of WebQuests as means of EFL teacher training for inclusive instruction of learners with disability. The study has shown that WQs promote the development of teachers' low-order and high-order thinking skills irrespectively of their level (shorter-term or longer-term). Besides, such WQ characteristics as: their practical orientation, holistic, pro-inclusive, comprehensive, proactive and subject-specific nature provide effective preparation for inclusive instruction of learners with disability. Among other benefits of WebQuests is the simplicity of their dissemination among would-be and working EFL teachers.
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