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Heng, Tang Tang
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Considerable attention has centred around conceptualising competencies required of teachers for mainstream education as opposed to special education (SPED). Existing research on competencies seldom include the voices of teachers on the ground and are mostly situated within overseas inclusive education, where children with special needs are included in mainstream or regular schools. There is a dearth of research on competencies for SPED teachers in Singapore, where teachers work with students who are not included in mainstream settings. Given contextual differences in education systems worldwide, literature from overseas may not be fully applicable to Singapore’s SPED context. Moreover, past research are mainly focused on competencies of educators teaching students with SEN in general, with limited research on specific competencies for teaching students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Given that students with ASD have distinctive learning characteristics and require additional support, as compared to typical learners or even those with other types of disabilities, this study aims to examine teachers’ perceptions of key competencies for teaching students with ASD in Singapore SPED schools. Fifteen trained and experienced teachers from five different SPED schools for students with moderate-to-severe ASD participated in two rounds of qualitative data collection involving email questionnaire and face-to-face semi-structured interviews. By looking through their lens and engaging their expertise, three broad themes—supporting learner’s characteristics, curriculum and instructional excellence, professional skills and qualities—emerged from a total of 11 key competencies and 49 sub-competencies that teachers raised. The findings of this study spell implications on professional development programmes and hiring processes for SPED schools, as well how a SPED competency framework and teacher education programme can be conceived.
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Call Number: 
LC4019 Cha
Appears in Collections:Master of Education

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