The impact of teacher training in special education on the attitudes of Australian preservice general educators towards people with disabilities.
Caddo Gap Press
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Although it is recognized that teachers play a pivot role in shaping the overall attitudes towards students with disabilities in classrooms, little research has focused on redesigning preservice teacher training programs to facilitate more positive feelings in the interactions between teachers and students with disabilities. Specific factors have been shown to influence how teachers interact with students with disabilities. By addressing these factors in preservice teacher training, it is suggested that the classroom practices of future teachers would ultimately be modified. Recently, two Australian universities (The University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland) reconfigured their preservice special education courses to address concerns that existing preservice programs are not adequately preparing teachers for inclusive education and the newly developed national standards and guidelines for initial teacher education in Australia. The redesigned courses incorporated a number of innovative practices to help improve students' attitudes toward people with disabilities. The present study investigates the effect of participating in the 10-week special needs course on preservice teachers' attitudes towards people with disabilities. Of particular interest, were any changes concerning preservice teachers' feelings of discomfort during interactions with individuals with disabilities.