Inclusion is becoming more and more of a recognized and practiced approach to teaching students with special needs. The majority of studies focused on the opinions of administrators, special education teachers, regular education teachers, parents, and students. Most of these studies surveyed the opinions of regular education teachers only, not their special education counterparts. Studies found that when the teachers’ attitudes relative to inclusion are averaged, the attitudes appear rather neutral. Most teachers indicated that their answers would differ relative to the specific disabilities of the child they would have to teach. Another study addressed: regular education teachers (role, attitudes, and knowledge); collaboration and team teaching; special education (role and resources); students (rights, performance/skills, and perceptions); and families. The authors state that teacher educators should model a positive attitude toward inclusion and respect other professional opinions. There should be continuous pre-service and in-service education focusing on attitudes that enable all teachers to work effectively with students who may have special needs (Daniel & King, 2007). Further studies gathered regular education teacher opinions in relation to inclusion programs. When asked if they support the concept of mainstreaming or inclusion, a majority: said they supported inclusion, expressed a willingness to teach a student with disabilities, agreed inclusion would create more work, felt as if they did not have enough time to plan for inclusion, did not feel that administrators were very supportive of the needs of the general education teacher in regards to inclusion, and agreed with general statements that students with and/or without disabilities could benefit from mainstreaming/inclusion experiences. A few teachers stated: students with disabilities could be harmful to the classroom, and that they would feel imposed upon (Snyder, 2005).
Welch (2008) conducted a study than answered several questions about inclusion. The questions included: 1. How much time did teams of teachers spend planning, implementing, and assessing their team-teaching activities? Teaching teams employed 2. What formats of team teaching? 3. What student grouping formats were employed during team teaching? 4. Will there be an overall improvement in student performance on criterion-referenced assessment scores? A special education teacher with 10 years’ experience teamed with a fourth-grade teacher with 10 years’ experience for school 1 and a fifth-grade teacher with 15 years’ experience teamed with a special education teacher with 2 years’ experience. All participating teachers had completed the same staff development relating to inclusion. Students with disabilities met the desired 20% gain, but no gain was statistically significant. The only negative comment consistently made during discussions was the amount of time needed to plan team teaching, but both teams “recognized several advantages (Welch, 2008).”
One study compiled parent and teacher attitudes about inclusion. It answered questions about parent involvement and successful inclusion practices. Most parents reported positive experiences with inclusion and relationships with other team members, but as amount of parental advocacy increased, positive relationships with team members decreased. Most parents had strong, positive attitudes towards the concept of inclusion (Bennett, Deluca, & Bruns, 2007)
A study conducted by Brotherson, Sheriff, Milburn, and Schertz (2005) examined the sociopolitical context of ECE inclusion from an elementary school principal's perspective. While not exhaustive or mutually exclusive, the six themes in this study point to three difficulties that confronted elementary school principals as they sought to include young children with disabilities into programs with typically…