Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Comparative Study of the Attitude, Concern, and Interaction Levels of Elementary School Teachers and Teacher Candidates towards Inclusive Education

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

A Comparative Study of the Attitude, Concern, and Interaction Levels of Elementary School Teachers and Teacher Candidates towards Inclusive Education

Article excerpt


Inclusion is an educational approach providing students with special needs with education in normal classrooms, which is the least restrictive educational environment for them by offering the necessary services for full time or part time. Although the necessary laws and regulations appear to execute this inclusive practice properly in Turkey, there are some problems regarding its implementation. Aim of this study contributes to the implementation by determining and solving the problems encountered in the inclusive practices by developing an assessment instrument comparing the attitude, concern and interaction levels of pre-service and in-service elementary teachers towards inclusive education. The study sample consists of 68 in-service elementary teachers working at central elementary schools in Amasya and 112 pre-service elementary teachers in the elementary education program of Amasya University during the 2009-2010 academic year. For the study, an assessment consisting of four parts was developed and applied as a data collection instrument. The data gathered from the study was analyzed using the SPSS 18.00 package program. With the findings obtained, it has been determined that there are significant differences between the in-service and pre-service teachers' attitudes towards inclusive education and their interactions with individuals with special needs. It has been concluded that these differences are related to occupational experience and the preparation levels of the individuals with special needs. The findings of this study suggest that professional development workshops and seminars on special and inclusive education would improve the knowledge of in-service elementary teachers and enhance the qualification of the inclusive practices.

Key Words

Elementary School Teachers, Inclusive Education, Attitude, Concern, Interaction.

Approximately 12 % of a society consists of individuals with special needs (Günes, 2001; Üre, 2002). Individuals with special needs have right to benefit from educational services which will meet their needs in the best way, just like all other individuals. As a natural outcome of the fact that these individuals' needs are different, the environment where their individual needs are met also varies. The main environments are special education schools, special classrooms in the public schools and regular classrooms. Another practice which is offered in regular classes and becoming widespread day by day is "inclusive" education. Inclusion is defined as an educational approach providing the students with special needs education in the regular classrooms, which are the least restrictive educational environment for them. Inclusion provides the necessary support services in the same classroom with other students of the same age on a full time or part time (Gulliford & Upton, 1992; Idol, 2000; Kircaali-Iftar, 1998; Miles & Singal, 2010; Osborne & Dimattia, 1994). Based on from the definition, this means more than just placing the student in the normal classrooms; inclusion should be considered as an environment where the student may integrate with students of the same age, while their special needs are still being met.

The effect of teachers, families, guidance counselors, and school managements is very important determinant factor in successful implementation of inclusive education (Florian & Linklater, 2010; Kircaali-Iftar, 1998). It is certain that these four factors are quite significant in inclusion process. However, teachers, especially classroom teachers' attitudes towards the students participating in inclusive education, behaviors, and proficiency levels related with inclusive education are strongly significant (Hannu, Petra, Mima, & Olli-Pekka, 2012).

Classroom teacher should have a strong moderator role in terms of classroom climate and behaviors in any classroom condition, especially in the classrooms where the children with special needs and normally developing children are trained together (Hill, 2009; Van Kraayenoord, 2007; Walker & Lamon, 1987). …

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