The Effects of Experience on Teachers' Attitudes toward Incorporating Special Students into the Regular Classroom

By Lanier, Nancy J.; Lanier, William L. | Education, Winter 1996 | Go to article overview

The Effects of Experience on Teachers' Attitudes toward Incorporating Special Students into the Regular Classroom


Lanier, Nancy J., Lanier, William L., Education


Introduction

Since 1975, Federal law has encouraged the incorporation of children with special needs into the regular classroom, under the supervision of regular classroom teachers (Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975). To better accommodate this Federal policy of "inclusion", the State of Georgia mandated in 1981 that all teachers certified to teach students from kindergarten through grade twelve must take an introductory special education course on the characteristics and behaviors of special students (Special Education Services Act). The latter law is enforced by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for teachers who wish to become certified, reinstate expired certificates, add new teaching fields, or update certificates.

The goals of the inclusion policy include: a) improving the socialization of special students, b) providing special students access to mainstream educational resources, and c) accomplishing these enhanced educational opportunities at a reasonable cost. Many decisions to include or exclude special students will depend upon the willingness of classroom teachers to accept and support those students. In order for inclusion policy to succeed, it is important that regular classroom teachers have realistic expectations of the special students and their ability to deal with those students. Further, it is highly desirable that teachers' expectations remain realistic with the passage of time and experience.

In the two decades that the above mentioned Federal and Slate laws and their more recent permutations have been in effect, there have been no published reports in which teachers' long-term attitudes towards special students have been quantified. This issue was addressed by the present study. We tested the hypothesis that, in the years following the teachers' completion of the State-required introductory special education course, there would be an erosion of their willingness to manage special students. Willingness to include special students into the regular classroom was quantified using a survey form in which the teachers evaluated specific classroom scenarios.

Methods

The survey population was full-time, regular-classroom teachers who took the course "Identification and Education of Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom" at Georgia Southern University between September 1987 and December 1991. The survey was originally administered to the teachers immediately after completing the class, and again after they had experienced a minimum of three years in teaching. The survey consisted of 60 classroom scenarios, representing varying degrees of challenge. An example of a scenario in which little difficulty would be anticipated is as follows:

David squints through his eyeglasses, even when he sits at the front of the room. He cannot read the blackboard or his book quite as rapidly as many of the other children.

An example of a scenario in which intermediate difficulty would be anticipated is as follows:

Chuck doesn't seem to catch on to things as quickly as most students. He needs to have things explained over and over again. Eventually he appears to learn everything the others do, even though it has taken longer.

An example of a scenario in which much difficulty would be anticipated is as follows:

Flora has neither bladder nor bowel control and must be taken to the bathroom at frequent intervals.

After reading each scenario, teachers were asked to assess their comfort in coping with the situation, using the 5-point scale on Table 1.

The individual scores for each question were calculated for the respondent cohort. Additionally, the effect of classroom teaching experience on the response to each question was calculated using the following formula:

Response change = final score - initial score.

For example, if a respondent initially scored a scenario as 2, and the final score was 4, this would represent response change of +2 (i.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Effects of Experience on Teachers' Attitudes toward Incorporating Special Students into the Regular Classroom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.