Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 44, No. 2, 142–155, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to determine the impact of a course on inclusive education on participants’ attitudes, concerns, and their teaching efficacy.
The participants were 30 pre-service teachers enrolled in a Bachelor of Primary Education or Bachelor of Secondary Education programme within an Australian University. They took part in a nine-week university course specifically designed to educate them about the techniques used to teach a diverse range of students with disabilities enrolled within mainstream classrooms. They were required to attend a weekly two-hour workshop, actively engage in class discussions, create and perform class presentations, and read set texts.
The authors administered three questionnaires prior to and following the university course: the Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Inclusion Scale (TATIS), Concerns about Inclusive Education Scale (CIES), and Teacher’s Efficacy in Implementing Inclusive Practices (TEIP) .
The findings reveal that formal education alters pre-service teacher attitudes, concerns, and efficacy towards inclusive education while also revealing that demographic differences influenced the ability of formal education to modify these characteristics.
The authors argue that the change in pre-service teacher attitudes suggests that completing a course in special/inclusive education increases positive attitudes towards inclusion.
Furthermore, it was found that formal education is particularly good at fostering positive attitudes towards inclusion amongst pre-service teachers who have previous experience of teaching students with a disability. The findings reveal that the completion of a course reduces concerns about acceptance of students with a disability by others, concerns about how implementing inclusion will affect the academic standards of the rest of the class, and concerns about how it will negatively affect teacher workloads. It was also found that the course also reduces the concerns pre-service teachers have about whether they will be adequately resourced to put strategies into practice.
The authors argue that changes in pre-service teacher efficacy revealed that the course increased overall efficacy.