Teachers' perceptions of the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom

Jeanne R Bruce, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in perceptions of general and special education teachers toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Between 1995 and 2005, the percentage of students with disabilities spending 80 percent or more of the school day in a general classroom showed an overall increase from 45 to 52 percent (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Teachers may not be prepared to teach in this very demanding environment without proper training and preparation. Research has shown that the absence of preparation for inclusion causes both teachers and administrators to feel unprepared and unsure of their role in the process (Garrison-Wade, Sobel, & Fulmer, 2007). In this study, a quantitative survey-based research design was used to explore differences and similarities between the perceptions of general and special education teachers regarding inclusion in a rural school system in Tennessee during the 2010–2011 school year. Teachers voluntarily completed two instruments in this study: a demographic survey and the Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with Disabilities (ORI). An independent samples t-test was used to compare the differences in general and/or special education teachers’ perceptions on each of the four factors on the ORI Survey: Benefits, Classroom Management, Training and Preparation, and Segregated (pull-out) vs. Inclusive Classrooms. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the differences in teacher’s level of education, years of teaching experience, amount of training and preparation, amount of in-service and professional development, and experience teaching students with disabilities with each of the four factors from the ORI. A statistically significant difference occurred when analyzing the benefits of inclusion, comparing the number of hours of in-service and/or professional development that related to inclusion and teachers’ positive perceptions of it. The more in-service and/or professional development hours teachers had regarding inclusion, the more positive their perceptions. This may indicate a need for further research to examine whether increased training and preparation for inclusion could improve teachers’ perceptions of including students with disabilities in the general education classroom. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Special

Recommended Citation

Jeanne R Bruce, "Teachers' perceptions of the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3433389.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3433389

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