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Impacting Pre-service Teachers’ Attitudes toward Inclusion

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Author(s): Roben W. Taylor | Ravic P. Ringlaben

Journal: Higher Education Studies
ISSN 1925-4741

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2012;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Despite federal mandates to educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, teachers continue to have mixed feelings about their own preparedness to educate students with disabilities in the general education setting. However, research has documented that teachers with more positive attitudes toward inclusion are more likely to adjust their instruction and curriculum to meet individual needs of students and have a more positive approach to inclusion. With inclusion becoming the norm in today’s schools, teacher educators are now faced with the challenge of making significant changes to educational programs in preparing pre-service teachers to be ready to meet the needs of all students. These programmatic changes mirror the continuous melding transformations in progress now in traditional general education and special education programs. However, there is limited information about how these new teacher educator programs influence pre-service teachers’ confidence or attitudes toward inclusive education as future teachers. To investigate this influence of teacher preparation programs on pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion, a survey method was used to collect data from pre-service teachers in one teacher-preparation program. The responses from pre-service teachers were analyzed indicating that pre-service teachers from this particular teacher preparation program in which general education curricula were infused with special education curricula in special education survey courses had improved positive attitudes and confidence toward inclusion. The implications of this study for practice and future research are discussed.
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