Not a Game of Chance: Importance of Teacher Preparation for Successful Inclusion

Prof. Poonam C. Dev
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Approximately 5.1 million students aged 6-21 years were served in special education during the 1995-96 school year in the USA (ERIC Clearinghouse, 2001). These numbers have been increasing steadily, even as nationwide there continues to be a severe shortage of special education teachers. The chronic shortage of fully certified special education teachers at about 9.8% annually has been found to be almost twice that of teachers in general education (Boe, Cook, Bobbitt, & Terhanian, 1998).With the increasing emphasis on educating students with disabilities along with their peers without disabilities in schools all over the world, teacher preparation takes on even more importance.

This paper describes findings from two investigations about issues regarding teacher education for inclusive settings. Majority of participants in both studies viewed preparation for inclusive settings as imperative to successful outcomes for all students involved. One of the studies yielded a statistically significant relationship between those elementary and secondary school teachers who had taken at least two courses in special education and positive attitudes towards the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in general education classrooms. Findings are discussed in terms of preparation of general education teachers for inclusive settings in elementary and secondary schools.

Special education seems to favor the use of a deficiency model, where students are identified on the basis of which abilities are found lacking in them. Then these disabilities are bundled in categories and assigned various labels. This has resulted in an “exclusion” model, where students with disabilities are often segregated by definition.

Keywords: Teacher Preparation, Inclusive Education
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Not a Game of Chance

Prof. Poonam C. Dev

Faculty, School of Education, Nazareth College of Rochester

Dr. Poonam C. Dev works with Master’s students in the School of Education at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York (USA) and Doctoral students from other institutions. Her research focuses on inclusion of students with disabilities as well as self-concept and intrinsic motivation of students with learning disabilities.

Ref: T06P0007