Workload Factors in Special Needs Education
Authors: Johanna Pulkkinen, Virpi Sillanpää
Abstract: The environment of the basic education has changed during the last few years. The children's needs are more manifold than before and there are more children who need special needs education. The implementation methods of the special needs education have changed with the inclusion (one school to everybody). The changes in the environment have challenged teachers in many different ways. The special needs teachers work in the cooperation, between the units of the separate actors, such as teachers, school psychologists, school welfare officers, a psychiatric nurse, home and child protection, which for its part increases the load of the work and may cause the feeling of the inadequacy.Ensuring and maintaining the working capacity of employees is one objective of the Finnish Occupational Safety Act. According to the act, the employer has a responsibility to make sure that the work does not load worker too much. It is important to identify the work load factors, because it is the foundation of the safety work. The article is about what are the workload factors in the special needs teacher's work. The work load factors are analysed in the framework of the well-being at work. It is attempt to find factors of well-being at work, which are significant from point of view of the work load and management. The special needs teachers of one Finnish municipality participated in the study. The data for this paper was collected through well-being survey (n=35) and workshops. The process and methods will be described in the article.The results of the preliminary data analysis indicate that work of the special needs teachers is experienced to be mentally and ethically burden. According to well-being survey the working environment and conditions were not mainly considered to be the work load factors. The special needs teachers indeed experience the feeling of the inadequacy in their work which for its part adds the load of the work. Daily work needs to be done in hurry. It is not possible to do the work as well as wanted. The paper contributes to prior research by providing new information about workload factors in special needs teachers’ work. It is important to support the special needs teachers' work welfare because it has reflections in the pupils and their families, but also to other teachers and special needs assistants.
Keywords: Safety, Well-Being At Work, Workload Factors, Special Needs Education
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