School psychologists’ training to support inclusive education in Portugal: trainers' perspectives of opportunities, challenges, and improvements

Marisa Carvalho, Rosário Serrão Cunha, Helena Azevedo, Joana Cruz, Diana Alves, Cristina Martins, Elisabete Marques, Marisa Fonseca, Nuna Tormenta, Teresa de Jesus, Sofia Ramalho

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Abstract

School psychologists can support schools in implementing inclusive practices. In Portugal, the Decree-Law 54/2018 has set the country on the path to inclusive education based on whole-school approaches. This policy shift demands a change in school psychologists’ practices to be agents for systems change versus traditional roles (such as assessing and counseling students). An e-learning training course was developed and implemented by nine psychologists through a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Portuguese Psychology Association, focused on the Multi-tiered Systems of Support framework for constructing inclusive schools. The main aim was to empower school psychologists to support adequate, inclusive, and multi-tiered intervention responses in their schools, resourcing a collaborative and supervised approach. From all Portuguese regions, 327 psychologists participated in the training from October 2020 to April 2021. This article focuses on the trainers’ experiences of training, collected through a focus group, reflecting on the challenges, opportunities, and necessary improvements for future training in school psychologists in Portugal on this topic. Trainers have identified organizational and pedagogical aspects as critical to the training delivery and quality that should be addressed in future training courses for school psychologists.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalSchool Psychology International
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Inclusive education
  • MTSS
  • Professional development
  • School psychologists
  • Supervision
  • Training

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