Beginning elementary education teachers' perceptions concerning teaching in inclusive classrooms: beliefs and attitudes toward preparation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marva Satterfield Miller (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Nicole Dobbins

Abstract: Schools and teachers are increasingly faced with meeting the needs of a diverse student population that can be successful with the general curriculum and prepared for the 21st century. As such, teacher educators assist in meeting this challenge by continuous improvement to teacher education programs preparing teachers to meet the educational needs of all students. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs of beginning elementary education teachers concerning teaching students with disabilities in general education classrooms. A mixed method study was conducted using a three part survey that solicited participant information related to personal demographics, 32 Likert-type scale questions with a certain level of agreement to attitudes, beliefs, preparation, and knowledge of inclusion. In addition, open-ended questions allowed participants to include more in-depth responses to thoughts about their overall experiences, beliefs, and support. The participants were graduates of a southeastern regional university teacher preparation program in elementary education. Demographics of participants indicated that the majority were Caucasian females, worked in general education classes, and were not required to take any special education coursework in their teacher education program. The findings suggested that although a high percentage of beginning elementary education teachers’ believe in teaching and including students with disabilities in general education classrooms, many lack the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully engage students with disabilities in their classrooms. Findings of this study continue to emphasize the need for beginning general education teachers to receive not only more in-depth preparation at the preservice level, which supports successful transition from preparation to practice, but also increased opportunities for professional development and in-service training on meeting the needs of students with disabilities. This study may provide a platform supporting positive attitudes towards professional teacher preparation and experiences in teaching students with disabilities in general education classrooms. By helping bridge the gap between preparation and the implementation of effective instructional practices to meet the needs of diverse learners, beginning teachers can be supported by pedagogy and evidence based educational practices learned through teacher education programs.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Attitudes, Beginning teachers, Beliefs, Inclusion, Perceptions, Teacher preparation
Teachers $x Training of $z United States
Inclusive education $z United States
Teachers of children with disabilities $z United States

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