Educators in Belize are charged with ensuring that all Belizeans are given an opportunity to acquire a quality education that promotes personal development and productive citizenship. Consequently, Belizean law now requires all children from ages five through fourteen to attend at least eight years of primary school. Students with special needs have historically not received accommodations in the education system, so many teachers struggle with meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities in these inclusive settings. This qualitative case study explored teaching strategies and contextual factors in inclusive primary classrooms in Belize and was conducted in the form of Community Engaged Research in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture (MOE). Findings suggest consistent approaches for differentiating instruction, teacher passion for teaching and commitment to meeting student needs, a need for additional resources and training, and a disconnect between families and schools. Interpretation of these findings through Hornby’s (2015) theory of inclusive education suggests that Belize is primarily following inclusivity as students with disabilities are integrated into the mainstream educational system. However, while some principles and practices of inclusion are followed, other features are absent. Adding a special education component could enhance student learning as individualization and standardization of instruction, expectations, and assessment could occur between teachers, across grade levels, and in communication with families. A special education component with associated teacher training could support teacher desire for additional resources and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students.


inclusive special education, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), community-engaged research, teaching practices, primary education



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