Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Lorraine Cleeton

Abstract

Through the lens of Bandura's social-cognitive theory, which proposes that one's sense of self-efficacy can foster positive beliefs, the purpose of this descriptive, quantitative study was to determine whether the attitudes held by general education teachers have an influence on their perceptions of inclusion. General education teachers' beliefs in their abilities regarding teaching in inclusive classrooms may have an influence on the success of inclusion. This study examined the difference in attitudes toward inclusion between elementary school general education teachers whose previous teaching experience was with solely general education students but who now teach in an inclusive classroom, and those whose only teaching experience has been in the inclusive classroom. Eighty one general education teachers from public elementary schools in a suburban school district completed the Scale of Teachers' Attitudes Toward Inclusive Classrooms (STATIC). Results from independent-samples t-tests and Mann-Whitney difference tests showed no significant statistical difference between mean STATIC scores and indicated the attitudes of both groups were positive towards inclusion. The acknowledgement of current teacher attitudes towards inclusion promotes positive social change by serving as a rationale for other school districts to create professional development opportunities. These opportunities will allow general education teachers to become better prepared in supporting and educating special needs students in their classrooms.