Expectations of Failure: A Review of International Perspectives on Teachers and Learning Disabilities





learning disabilities, attribution, teachers, perspectives


It is estimated that learning disabilities (LD) affect up to 10% of children across the world (University College of London, 2013). Due to the prevalence of this disability and the scope of different types of learning disabilities, it is likely that teachers will encounter a wide range of children with LD during their teaching careers. This literature review examined teacher roles in and attitudes towards the identification, inclusion, and attribution of students with LD. A systematic search across three databases (e.g., ERIC, PsycInfo, Childhood Development & Adolescent Studies) of studies published between 2000 and 2020, using search terms related to LD, teachers, teachers’ perceptions, and inclusion of students with LD produced 23 articles focused across eight countries. Findings indicated that teachers attributed the failures of students with LD to the disability, provided more positive feedback and empathy to these students, and that teachers were likely to have a pessimistic outlook on the future successes of students with learning disabilities. Our global comparison revealed that identification of LD, as well as inclusion of students with LD, varied across the world indicating geographic location influences treatment of learning disabilities. Future research should further examine ways to alter teacher perceptions on present and future outcomes of students with learning disabilities.