Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 21, No. 8, 974–989, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study was to investigate a number of factors that contribute to the formation of positive attitudes towards inclusive education (IE), during the pre-service training of pre-school teachers.
The participants were 139 pre-service teachers who were enrolled in pre-school education courses, completing a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies or a Masters of Teaching (Early Education) in Australia.
Data were collected through a survey originally constructed by Boyle et al. (2013) known as the ‘Teacher Attitudes Towards Inclusion Scale’ (TAIS).
The findings showed that pre-service pre-school teachers have a positive attitude towards IE.
Furthermore, the results revealed that the completion of a unit studying the philosophy, fundamentals and legislation of IE significantly improved attitudes in pre-service pre-school teachers; a finding consistent with past research. However, the authors found that this attitude did not lead to positive perceptions of ability and competence to implement IE practices upon completion of the degree.
These findings add support to the growing consensus that although pre-service teachers may support the philosophies of IE, they lack the knowledge and efficacy to implement the practice effectively.
Furthermore, this study found that experience increased participants’ perception of competence and ability.
The authors conclude that preservice pre-school teachers felt less positive about their perceived competence to enact IE than their general attitudes towards the construct, although these where found to be only slightly positive. The authors suggest that quality courses that provide pre-service pre-school teachers with the necessary skills, knowledge and understandings to develop and maintain positive attitudes towards IE must be delivered.
Boyle, C., Topping, K., & Jindal-Snape, D. (2013). Teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion in
high schools. Teachers and Teaching, 19, 527–542.