Italian teachers’ perceptions regarding talented atypical students: A preliminary study

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Atypical students (i.e., workers, athletes, artists, and Erasmus) could encounter difficulties in balancing their educational path. Therefore, this preliminary study aimed to investigate the actual academic support and the potential teachers’ approach toward atypical students in Italy. A twelve-item questionnaire was developed to ascertain differences (p<0.05) in the university teachers’ perceptions towards student being also Artists, Athletes, Erasmus, and Workers. Artists were perceived to have the lowest flexibility provisions for class attendance (p<0.0001) and for exam sessions (p<0.01) with respect to other student typologies. Conversely, teachers reported to be available to provide flexibility, especially to Workers and Athletes (p<0.01). Furthermore, respondents declared to be available to provide additional work in case of missed class attendance, considering on-line reception, tutoring support, and e-learning services as appropriate tools, especially for Workers and Athletes (p<0.05). Finally, teachers claimed that Artists and Athletes should be valorised (p<0.01), although they are not aware of them in the class (p<0.01). In general, Artists resulted the less recognized atypical student category, whereas positive teachers’ perceptions towards student-athletes emerged. These preliminary findings call for a substantial improvement of dual career paths in Italy.
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