ENHANCING SELF EFFICACY AND GRIT: HOW EDUCATIONAL TEAMS CAN PROMOTE INNER STRENGTHS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS

E. Miller, E. Kass

Achva Academic College (ISRAEL)
The general aim of the study was to examine narratives of occupationally successful adults with childhood disabilities. This presentation will focus on the contributions of educational teams (teachers, administration and private tutors) to their self-efficacy and grit. Sense of Self-efficacy (SOSE) relates to individuals' perception of their ability and resources to successfully cope with new or challenging tasks in order to achieve their goals. Hence, it is one of the main conditions for the individual's ability to succeed (Bandura, 1997). However, self-efficacy alone does not enable the individual to attain successful results if it is not accompanied by skills necessary to perform the task.

Grit is another trait that helps individuals to cope with challenges. Duckworth (2016) defined grit as a personality trait that combines long-term perseverance with passion. She asserts that grit and effort contribute more to an individual’s achieving and sustaining success than talent. Several studies found a correlation between grit and the academic performance of students (e.g., Duckworth & Gross, 2014). The similarity between grit and self-efficacy is that an individual with a high SOSE has the ability to cope with difficulties and overcome them. However, grit also emphasizes the concepts of passion, interest, practice, and hope.

The present study examined self-efficacy and grit as a gradually developing trait that helps individuals cope with the challenges imposed by childhood disability (e.g., physical disability, etc.) and its social, functional and emotional implications.

The presentation will focus on the importance of educational teams to the development of grit and SOSE of students with disabilities inclusive settings. Research question: Based on retrospective narratives of occupationally successful people with disabilities, what are the contributions of educational teams that supported the development of grit and SOSE during their school years?

Methodology:
The present study used a narrative methodology (Holley & Colyar, 2009). The narrative's purpose is to serve the narrator's goal, and therefore it could change and be reconstructed. Research on people with disabilities is increasingly using narrative methodology to investigate their spoken or written narratives.

Participants:
18 adults with disabilities, who have made significant occupational attainments, in various domains. We used an in-depth, narrative interview, and a brief questionnaire including some demographic information. The opening question was: Please tell me the story of your life. At the initial stage the participants told their narrative in a free flowing manner. Then, we used follow-up questions that focused on ways in which the educational system (especially significant educators or administrators) promoted or hindered the processes that enabled the participants to attain success and develop elements of grit and SOSE. Data were analyzed using content analysis.

Results suggested that efficacy enhancing messages and support from educational teams, grit and unique traits, combined with educational accommodations, helped students with disabilities persevere despite various social and academic challenges.

The results will be discussed in light of an increasing shift toward including great percentages of students with moderate to severe disabilities in schools.