Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1998

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)

Department

Advanced Education Programs

Advisor

Amy Claxton

Abstract

This study surveyed the opinions of educators toward educating children in an inclusive stetting. For the purposes of this study, inclusion was defined as the practice of educating children with disabilities within a regular education classroom. One-hundred fourteen participants were recruited form classes during the summer semester of 1998 at Fort Hays State University. Participants were recruited form classes relating to the educational field and included special education teachers, regular education teachers, counselors, administrators, paraprofessionals, and support personnel. Demographic information was collected in order to make comparisons of differing subgroups. It was found that in general; educators do not believe that all children belong in the regular classroom. Responses also indicated that while educators feel that they can utilize inclusion, they lack sufficient time, training, and materials to successfully implement inclusion. In comparing attitudes toward including children with varying disabilities, it was found that educators are most willing to include children with physical impairments, and more willing to include children with learning disabilities in the regular classroom than they were to include children with behavior disorders. It was also found that educators were more willing to include children with mild disabilities than they were children with severe disabilities. Comparisons of special educators and regular educators show that special educators are more confident that regular education teachers can be responsible for students enrolled in special education. Special education teachers also exhibited more positive attitudes regarding having sufficient education, training, and administrative support to implement inclusion. Differences were found in comparing male educators to female educators. It was found that females held more positive attitudes toward including children with severe learning disabilities, mild physical impairments, severe physical impairments, and severe behavioral impairments. It was also found that the female respondents held more positive attitudes toward having regular education teachers being responsible for students enrolled in special education classes. Females also held more positive views regarding having sufficient education, preservice training, and in service training to teach in an inclusive classroom. Compiling responses to open-ended questions showed that most respondents (51.72%) used partial inclusion on a school wide basis, but respondents (28.13%) indicated that they felt that the use of paraprofessionals was more effective than any other inclusionary practice. These findings indicate that differences exist between males and females, and between regular and special educators with regard to attitudes toward inclusive practices. No significant differences were found between educators teaching at differing school levels, between educators with differing years of experience, between educators with differing numbers of students, between educators whose last college level course varied in recency, or between educators holding differing college degrees.

Rights

Copyright 1998 Kriston L. Erickson

Comments

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