Purpose and Hypotheses of Study
The study by Berry (2008) had a purpose of fostering acceptance of needs-based fairness for inclusion students in future classrooms of teacher education students. An open-ended question guiding the study sought to find out novice teachers views about fairness (Berry, 2008). The goal of the study involved seeking understanding of a situation and examining the teachers’ views regarding fairness. Fairness is investigated because it holds implications for teachers’ ideals and pedagogy of inclusion.
Participants in the study by Berry (2008) comprised a subset of 47 of the 89 graduate students enrolled in six sections of a special education survey course at a major university in the United States. The subset of 47 graduate students included 20 preservice teachers and 17 inservice teachers; 27 early childhood/elementary teachers, 20 middle/high school teachers. Of the 47 participants, 38 were females and 9 males. Ethnic breakdown of the participants were as follows: 41 European Americans, 4 Asian Americans, and 2 other/unknown ethnicity.
Methods and Procedures
The subset of 47 participants, 38 females and 9 males, were enrolled at a major university that knew they were participating in a longitudinal study of attitudes about inclusion (Berry, 2008). The courses in which the students were enrolled emphasized the use of instructional techniques benefiting all students and advocated differentiation with regard to needs-based fairness as necessary to inclusive teaching. In this study coursework included optional readings concerning grading, student concerns about fairness, an activity based on Blanchard’s definitions of fairness, and LaVoie’s comments on fairness contained in a workshop video.
As part of the course requirements, participants wrote eight to ten open-ended journal entries during the semester. The entries could be based on any aspect regarding course content, connections to course content, etc. According to Berry (2008) journal entries were not graded for content rather solely on participation of length and number. Upon completion of the coursework, students were invited to participate in the research project by allowing their journal entries to be included in the database.
From the six sections of the graduate-level special education course, 89 students chose to participate and submitted their journal entries electronically. The submissions were stripped of all identifying information, given an identification number, then entered into a database using NUD*IST 4 (N4) Classic software for qualitative data analysis (Berry, 2008). Software utilities allowed for a search of the root word “fair” in all journal entries. Only 47 students’ entries, comprising 185 test units, contained the word “fair” thus these were the only data used.
According to Berry (2008), text units returned by the search were...