General education teachers’ perceptions of inclusion of students with disabilities in the regular classroom



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General Education Teachers' Perceptions of Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the Regular Classroom Sharon Ruth Stidham-Smith, Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 2013 Supervisor: James L. Schaller This exploratory descriptive study was conducted to examine the perceptions of general public school teachers regarding inclusion of students with disabilities in their classroom. Instruments used to measure the concepts studied include an Inclusion Inventory followed by additional open-ended questions. A sample of general education public school teachers, who have had a child with a disability in their classroom, was recruited from a Texas regional school district. The research questions asked about the teachers' educational teams, their grade level assignment, and the number of years taught; followed by open ended questions that included the participants' definition of inclusion, their experiences and challenges, training in inclusion, and the concept of the general education teacher having sole responsibility for all the students in the class. Inclusion teams were found to be an important aspect of this study. The participants reported the success (or lack of success) of their inclusive classroom often depended on their inclusion team. In particular, special education coordination with vii administration support in finding solutions for unacceptable classroom behavior, time management, and class size. Many respondents felt further preservice and inservice training on how this support can be accomplished that includes administration as well as general and special education teachers was one avenue that could help realize an inclusive classroom that was beneficial to all. What exactly would be emphasized in this inclusion training was not stated. The inclusive practices and strategies discussed in this study require further research in order to determine what could be called a 'best practice' in the inclusive classroom.