The Impact of Initial Field Experience on Pre-Service Teachers' Attitude Toward Inclusion
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In the United States, up to 50% of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). This unacceptable level of sustainability of the profession is of concern to both teacher preparation institutions and the local education agencies. This paper looks at one factor that may impact the sustainability of current teacher preparation models: attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities in the mainstream classroom. Participants in the study were currently enrolled in 3 different phases of a teacher preparation programmes at a regional university in the United States. A survey was administered at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Results indicate that students become progressively more negative toward inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom yet continue to support the social value of having all students in a general education setting. Results from the survey are presented and implications for practice are discussed.
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