Experiences among beginning special education teachers in general education settings: the influence of school culture
In this study 20 beginning special education teachers were asked to describe their experiences in general education settings. To provide data, each teacher completed approximately three electronic reflective journals during a school year and also participated in a phone interview, which was aimed to give in-depth information regarding the participants' comments in the journals. The participants described their experiences in regard to collaboration with mainstream teachers, the delivery of the curriculum and the understanding of their role with reference to identity. They reported some good experiences but also many difficulties in their attempts to support pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and enhance their learning and participation in mainstream schools. Challenges in collaboration, the delivery of the curriculum and the development of teachers' identity at the beginning of a career in special education are discussed. We argue that the teachers' experiences are associated with the legislative educational system and the school culture which does not encourage collaborative practices but rather promotes individualism and leads to exclusive practices.