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Date of Award
Education Specialist (Ed.S)
Advanced Education Programs
The effect of clinical labels and professional experience on teachers’ perceptions of exceptional children was investigated. It was hypothesized that experienced teachers would perceive exceptional children more negatively than would inexperienced teachers and that labeled descriptions of children would be perceived more negatively than would unlabeled descriptions. In order to test the hypotheses, 80 teachers who were just completing their college training and 80 teachers with three or more years of school experience were presented labeled and unlabeled descriptions of mentally deficient, psychopathic, schizophrenic, and cerebral palsied children. Following each description, Ss rated the applicability of positive and negative adjectives to the child. Four 2 x 2 analyses of variance were used to test the data for significant differences. The results were interpreted to mean that labeling does effect the teachers’ perceptions of exceptional children. The effect is not consistent, however, for different labels. For the mentally deficient label, the child was seen more negatively when the description was unlabeled than when labeled. Labeled descriptions of psychopathic, schizophrenic, and cerebral palsied children were rated more negatively than were unlabeled versions. Experience does not seem to effect teachers’ perceptions of exceptional children. The stated hypothesis concerning the effect of experience on teachers’ perceptions of exceptional children was not upheld. The hypothesis concerning the negative effect of labels on teachers’ perceptions of exceptional children was supported for psychopathic, schizophrenic, and cerebral palsied labels and rejected for the mentally deficient label.
Copyright 1965 Ronald H. Combs
Combs, Ronald H., "Effects of Labels on Attitude of Educators Toward Exceptional Children" (1965). Master's Theses. 901.