Using Q Methodological Studies To Investigate Attitudes of Educators and of Students with Disabilities toward Inclusion.Report as inadecuate

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Two Q-sort surveys examined perceptions about inclusive classrooms among 40 rural special education and regular education students, aged 12-19, and among 59 educators from metropolitan and rural school districts. Educators included preservice teachers, administrators, and teachers experienced in elementary through higher education; 41 percent were directly involved in special education. The majority of students indicated negative perceptions of membership in an inclusive classroom setting. Six student factor arrays were generated representing distinct points of view, but none supported full inclusion. Negative perceptions cut across the categories of curriculum, peer interaction, teacher interaction, teaching style, learning style, and self-concept. The attitudes of both disabled and nondisabled students toward inclusive regular education classes were more negative than positive. As in the student study, no teacher factor array supported the placement of all children in general education classrooms. Experience within the classroom did not create a different perspective concerning inclusion. No major differences were found between the beliefs of special and regular education teachers; rather decisions concerning placement of students with disabilities appeared to be based more on subjective beliefs than on teaching specialization. These studies verify that both students and teachers have fundamental problems with inclusive classrooms. The only clear consensus was that full inclusion was impractical in serving the needs of students. (TD)

Descriptors: Attitudes toward Disabilities, Classroom Environment, Disabilities, Educational Attitudes, Elementary Secondary Education, Inclusive Schools, Mainstreaming, Q Methodology, Regular and Special Education Relationship, Rural Schools, Special Education, Student Attitudes, Student Surveys, Teacher Attitudes

Author: Cutbirth, Denise; Benge, Beverly


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