Delta Journal of Education Attitudes of Teachers Regarding Their Preparedness to
Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 16 Delta Journal of Education ISSN 2160-9179 Published by Delta State University ________________________________________________________________________ Attitudes of Teachers Regarding Their Preparedness to Teach Students with Special Needs Shannon Buford and Laura Baylot Casey The University of Memphis _______________________________________________________________________ Abstract Educating students with disabilities within the least restrictive or most integrated setting has been mandated since the mid 70’s. However, many educational institutions feel ill prepared and are hesitant to fully implement inclusion measures due to several factors. Some factors included time to collaborate, support from peers and administration, and most importantly, adequate training to provide appropriate instruction for students with special needs within the regular classroom. The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of PreK-12 regular and special education teachers regarding their preparedness to teach special needs students in an inclusive setting in a rural school district in southwestern United States. The study utilized a survey to examine the following: attitudes held by teachers, their foundations of knowledge, attitudes and experiences that shape their attitudes. The study showed an overall positive attitude towards inclusive education (M=92.42) with strong implications of training needed in order to provide sufficient instruction to students with special needs. The study ends by providing possible implementation strategies that are predicted to be successful as forecasted by reported teacher attitude. Keywords: special needs, attitudes, inclusion, preparedness Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Shannon Buford, Ed.S.; QMRP, Academic Teacher III, North Mississippi Regional Center, 967 Regional Center Drive, Oxford, MS 38655; [email protected]; or to Laura Baylor Casey Laura Baylot Casey, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Assistant professor of Special Education, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN [email protected] © 2012, Delta State University Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 17 Attitudes of Teachers Regarding Their Preparedness to Teach Students with Special Needs Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children Act, 1975) altered the face of education and set the stage for inclusive education. According to PL 94-142, in order to receive federal funds, states must develop and implement policies that assure a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. The reauthorization of this Act (IDEA, 1990) allowed millions of special needs students across the country access into regular classrooms for either a part of the day or the entire school day. The Act mandated that, to the maximum degree appropriate, children with disabilities are to be educated alongside those without disabilities, unless education in the general education classes with the use of supplementary aides and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. In addition to IDEA 1990, provisions within the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) were established for all students, including subgroups of students identified in terms of their disability, socioeconomic status, language, race, and ethnicity. Specifically, all school students were now required to take high-stakes assessments aligned with statewide learning standards (Allbritten, Mainzer, & Ziegler, 2004). No longer were districts allowed to exempt special education students from taking standardized assessments. In order to comply with the Act and educate all learners, schools were and are still required to merge general and special education into a single delivery system (Matlock, Fiedler, & Walsh, 2001). Such a delivery system is known as inclusive education. Teacher attitudes regarding inclusive education vary widely, similar to attitudes towards most other high-value educational practices. Studies have suggested that teachers find value in inclusive classrooms, for all students, and they are generally interested in serving students in such a manner. The value that is seen is from the documented effectiveness of the inclusion model that consistently documents benefits for all students (Hughes & Carter, 2006; Downing & Peckham-Hardin, 2007; Foreman, Aurthur-Kelly, Pascoe, & King, 2004). For example, the inclusive classroom has numerous advantages for students with special needs, such as: (a) greater opportunity to develop friendships, (b) peer role models for academic and behavior skills, (c) increased access to the general curriculum, and (d) higher expectations of performance. Benefits are also seen for those students without disabilities as they (a) build meaningful friendships with students different from themselves, (b) gain an increased appreciation for individuals with different needs, (c) acquire preparation for living in a diverse community, and (d) show heightened levels of self-esteem as compared to their peers not in the inclusive classroom (Logan, Diaz, Piperno, Rankin, MacFarland, & Borganian, 1995). While there is a reported value in inclusive education, studies also indicate that teachers do not believe they are receiving enough support and training in how to teach an inclusion classroom. It is this lack of support and training which prevents them from being the most effective teachers in the inclusion situation. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 18 Review of Literature Studies that have investigated teachers' attitudes toward inclusion reflected the need for training and resources for teachers. Scruggs and Mastropieri (1996) conducted studies spanning 37 years (1958-1995). Their meta-analysis of survey data included 10,560 general education and special education teachers. Chung (1998) surveyed 386 teachers to examine science teachers' instructional adaptations, testing, grading policies, and perceptions about inclusion. Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden (2000) conducted a survey which included teacher perceptions of inclusive education for special education students. The results from all three of the above studies indicated that teachers supported the concept of inclusion, but they did not believe that they had sufficient time, training, or resources to implement it. Scruggs and Mastropieri (1996) found that, for the most part, teachers are very supportive, on a personal level, of the concept of inclusion. In addition, they are supportive of the practice of inclusion in the classroom and they believe it is an effective teaching method for both general education students and special education students. Teachers who responded to the study were willing to teach inclusion classrooms. There was a far less satisfactory outlook, however, when they were asked about the level of support they felt they receive in regards to teaching an inclusive classroom. "Only 18.6% agreed that they were provided sufficient time for including students with special needs, while only 22.3% agreed that they had sufficient training."(p. 68). Most studies recognized that teachers are in need of intensive training when it came to inclusion of special education students in the regular education program. I t is noteworthy that in Bargerhuff and Wheatley's study (2005), a minority of teachers believed that their coursework had not included instruction on categories of disabilities, or on teaching students with disabilities. However, the majority of university educators surveyed indicated that they believed this information had been covered in their coursework. Both general and special educators are challenged by the idea of including students with disabilities into the general curriculum. Often, it is difficult for them to envision how to teach and meet the needs of the student who is performing at a different level than the other students in the class. Teachers need to know what accommodations and adaptations are successful for students with special needs. Hammond and Ingalls (2003) found that many teachers feel unprepared and lack sufficient training to fully support successful inclusion programs. Hastings and Oakford (2003) also found that in order for teachers to provide a variety of accommodations, they needed ongoing professional development opportunities to continue to develop their skills. Such opportunities could include attending workshops, observing in other classrooms, reviewing research on inclusion, and collaboration with colleagues to develop a successful inclusion program. A study by Leyser and Tappendorf (2001) also supported Hastings and Oakford’s findings that teachers needed to attend various workshops and in-services to learn more about students with disabilities and inclusion. If teachers are provided with adequate training they will begin to feel more comfortable Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 19 working with students with disabilities and implementing various accommodations within their classrooms. Inclusion is not where a child is seated but how a child is treated when they’re in the regular classroom environment. It is misused when it is utilized to reduce special education services. All children cannot be expected to learn the same way and regular education teachers cannot be expected to teach children with special needs without the needed training and support (Keenan, 1997). Rationale for the Current Study Given that regular and special education teachers are the service providers in teaching students with special needs in the inclusive classroom, their attitude towards educating students with special needs is a contributing factor to their success or failure. Teachers who are ill prepared or uncomfortable with the concept of inclusion may pass that discontent onto the students, which in turn can undermine the confidence and success of those students. Conversely, teachers who support and believe they are prepared for the concept of inclusion can provide special education students with confidence and a comfortable learning environment. Teachers’ views of the quality of their preparation could have an influence on their beliefs about their ability to instruct and manage students with learning and behavioral problems in their classrooms (Brownell & Pajares, 1999). While most experts are in agreement that complete integration and acceptance of students with special needs into the regular education classroom will happen only after there is a long-term change in attitude (Beattie, Anderson, & Antonak, 1997). It is important to identify the teachers' attitudes and use this information to address the aspects that make the process of inclusion successful and those perceived as barriers to its success. The primary research questions for this study are: (1) Are there differences in attitude about the preparedness to teach special needs students in the inclusive classroom that are related to issues of gender, age, educational level, teaching level, number of special education courses taken; (2) What is the relationship between attitude and the number of years at the teachers' current teaching level, the total number of years teaching, and the number of years teaching children with special needs in their classrooms; and (3) What types of inclusive education training methods do teachers believe to be the most and least beneficial? Method Participants Teachers in a small, rural school district were chosen as participants in this study. They constituted a convenience sample for the purposes of this research. A total of 182 certified individuals were employed for the 2011-2012 school year, according to information obtained from the district administration office. According to the District's Office of Accountability, the district’s student enrollment on September 1, 2011 was Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 20 2,493. The district is comprised of three schools; an elementary school (Pre-K through 5th), a middle school (6th-8th grade) and a high school (9th-12th). Each teacher was provided a cover sheet stating the general purpose for the study, that their identity and responses would be kept confidential, that participation in the study was purely voluntary, and that their returning the completed survey was their consent to participate in the study. Of the 182 teachers employed in the district, 64 teachers completed and returned the survey (N=64). Materials Because a review of the literature did not yield a specific instrument to address the information sought from this study, the researcher designed a survey. The survey addressed issues pertaining to teacher perceptions on training, administrative support, peer support, collaboration, and student variables as they relate to inclusion. The survey was developed based on areas of concern identified through the Review of Literature. The survey consisted of Parts A, B, and C. Part A of the survey gathered teacher demographic information; specifically, gender, age range, educational level, current level of teaching, number of years teaching at the current level, number of years teaching in total, and the amount of training received in teaching children with special needs. Part B of the survey consisted of 34 questions related to teacher attitudes regarding inclusive education. This survey is a self-designed instrument consisting of items drawn from measures of beliefs and attitudes toward inclusion used in previous studies (Antonak & Larrivee, 1995; McHatton & McCray, 2007; McLeskey, Waldron, So, Swanson, & Loveland., 2001; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996; Stoiber, Goettinger, & Goetz, 1998). The teachers were instructed to circle their responses on a 4-point Likert scale (SD: Strongly Disagree; D: Disagree; A: Agree; or SA: Strongly Agree). Part C of the survey consisted of open-ended responses related to the type of training participant teachers perceived would most benefit them in effectively implementing inclusion, and any other concerns they may have held in regards to teaching students with special needs in the regular classroom. In order to establish content validity for the survey, the instrument was reviewed by three expert reviewers consisting of a certified school psychologist, a National Board certified elementary teacher and a director of special populations in Mississippi. Cronbach’s Alpha reliability test was conducted on each of the subdomains (Table 1). The results obtained showed that for the alpha coefficient for: Student variables .74; Peer variables .70; Administration variables .72; Collaboration variables .69; and Training variables .76. The alpha reliability for 32 items combined is .72. Suggestions were incorporated into a revision of the instrument. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 21 Table 1 Reliability Coefficients of Subdomains (n = 34) Variables Student Peer Administration Collaboration Training Overall Reliability Number of Items 10 3 3 5 13 34 Cronbach’s Alpha .74 .70 .82 .69 .76 .72 The survey was administered to elementary, middle, and high school regular and special education teachers in the school district. Data Analysis, Scoring, and Screening The data collected included responses from teachers (N=64) who completed the survey. The data was analyzed using Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS), Version 12.0. The attitude scale developed for the study consisted of 34 questions, the set of which served as the measure of teacher attitudes. Higher scores on each item suggested positive attitudes regarding teacher preparedness for inclusive education. In order to answer the research questions, the Total Attitude score was used for the analyses. A standardized z-score was computed on the attitude scale, as well as years teaching at current level, total years teaching, and years teaching special needs children. An extreme score was defined as a z-score of 3.29 or greater. A score of this magnitude would be significant at the p <.0005 level of significance. A one-way ANOVA was performed to identify differences between the independent variables of teacher gender, age, education levels, teaching level, teaching experience, teacher education in teaching special education students, and grade level taught. For the purposes of the statistical analysis, the Total Attitude scores were used. Conceptually, the operational definition of Total Attitude is the total score of the 34 question survey instrument, which is comprised of five sub domains identified as integral components of teacher preparation in the review of the literature. The subdomains are identified as Student Variables, Administrative Support, Peer Support, Collaboration, and Training. In regards to the Total Attitude scores, the higher the score, the more positive the attitude. The subdomains were not used in the statistical computations, as they independently do not have statistical strength to allow for such calculations to be performed. However, their frequencies are listed in Table 5 so that individual responses within each subdomain can be examined in relation to the literature. Open ended questions completed by teachers at the end of the survey instrument helped to identify the training methods that teachers rated as being the most and least beneficial in their training about inclusion. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 22 Procedures After the Institutional Review Board approval of the research proposal, a letter was submitted to the superintendent of the schools for permission to conduct the research. Once permission was granted by the superintendent, a cover letter and the Survey Instrument were provided to the elementary, middle, and high school teachers employed by the district. The letter clearly stated that the participant’s informed consent was provided by their completing and mailing the survey back to the researcher. The letter also indicated that teacher participation was voluntary, that their anonymity would be maintained at all times that all information would be kept confidential, and that the participant’s could view the results of the study. The participants were provided two ways to contact the researcher if they had concerns or questions. Participants were provided with a pre-stamped, self-addressed envelope to be used to return the survey. Results The demographic characteristics of the sample are provided in Table 2. The number of respondents and percentages are provided for the categorical variables with the means, standard deviations, and ranges shown for the continuous variables. Complete data (N = 64) is shown for the categorical variables. Not all participants completed information for the continuous variables, and thus, the information is based on the number of subjects completing these variables, shown in parentheses in Table 2. There was a greater response rate from females than from males. Teacher’s ages 36 years and younger comprised 59% of the sample. The majority of participants had attained their master degree in education. The number of special education courses received, categorized by the respondents who had received two or fewer courses and those who had taken three or more courses, suggested an almost equal split, with a four-point difference. Twenty-two percent (22%) of participants reported having no special needs courses. Years teaching current level, total years teaching, and years teaching students with special needs were similar, though a wide range of experience was shown within each area. Table 2 Demographic Characteristics of Participating Teachers Characteristics f % 7 57 10.9 89.1 37 23 4 57.8 35.9 6.3 5 7.8 Gender Male Female Age Range (years) <36 36-45 >45 Educational Level Bachelor’s M SD Range Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 Bachelor’s +30hrs Master's Master's +30 Current Level Teaching Elementary Middle High School Special Needs Courses 2 or less 3 or more None 11 37 11 17.2 57.8 17.2 18 32 14 28.1 50.0 21.9 27 23 14 42.2 35.9 21.9 Years teaching at current level (N=58) Total years teaching (N=64) Special needs teaching experience (N=48) 23 5.24 5.87 2.60 3.12 2.63 1.74 12 11 5 Question 1 analysis employed a one-way ANOVA, while a Pearson coefficient of correlation was used for Question 2. Question 3 used percentages associated with teacher beliefs about the benefits of seven different training methods. First, as an overall group, the mean for teachers (N = 64) on the attitude scale was 92.42 with a standard deviation of 16.32. The scores ranged from a low of 58 to a high of 113. The lowest possible score was 34, with the highest possible score being 136. Thus, the actual scores were well within the possible bounds. In Table 3, in the case of age, it can be seen that the age group that had the highest attitude was the less than 36 years age group', with a mean of 94.78. The lowest group was the 36-45 age group, with a mean of 91.08. This difference was significant at the .05 level. Analyses on the remaining two combinations of age groups found no other differences. Table 3 Descriptive Statistics and ANOVAs for Differences in Attitude Toward Inclusive Education or Gender, Age, Educational Level, Teaching Level, and Number of Special Needs Courses. Variable n M SD F p Gender Male Female 7 57 91.14 92.58 15.07 16.59 1.52 .125 <36 36 -45 >45 37 2 4 94.78 91.08 91.25 14.87 18.59 18.48 3.31* .001 84.80 101.45 92.00 12.52 18.06 6.47 2.10 .021 Age Educational level Bachelor's degree 5 Bachelor's +30 11 Master's degree 37 Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 24 Master's +30 11 87.81 13.09 Teaching level Elementary Middle High School 18 32 14 93.27 91.66 93.07 19.02 15.52 15.52 2.68 .004 Special needs courses Two or less Three or more No response 27 23 14 94.26 89.87 93.07 18.26 14.68 15.52 2.85 .002 *p < .05 Table 4 shows the analyses employed on the three correlations conducted in relation to Research Question 2. The questions concerned the relationship between attitude and several measures associated with number of years teaching. The N for these analyses was 58, rather than 64, due to missing data. To reach statistical significance, the correlation had to reach .21 or greater, and as such, it may be seen that none of the three correlations (r) reached that level, suggesting a positive but little relationship with attitude. Table 4 Descriptive Statistics and Correlations between Years Teaching at Current Level, Total Years Teaching, Years Experience Teaching Special Needs Students and Attitude toward Inclusive Education (N=58) Variable M SD r Attitude 92.42 16.32 Years at Current Level 5.24 3.12 .120 Total Years Teaching 5.87 2.63 .038 Special Needs Experience 2.60 1.74 .199 The last part of the survey associated with Research Question 3 asked the participants about their beliefs about different methods of receiving information or training on inclusive education. Participants responded on a seven-point scale from 1 (most beneficial) to 7 (least beneficial). The seven points were reduced to three categories for more parsimonious reporting. Responses of 1, 2, and 3 were labeled as "Most beneficial," the middle response of 4 was labeled as "Neutral," while responses 5, 6, and 7 were labeled "Least beneficial". Fifty-nine of the teachers responded to the question. Table 4 shows their rankings of the delivery methods associated with the three categories. Respondents rated out-of district level training as the most beneficial, with consultation with school psychologists ranking second, and district level training being third. Clearly, being provided with school building level training was ranked to be the least beneficial Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 25 way to provide training with articles being provided ranking next. The remaining methods were distributed evenly. Table 5 Ranking of Preferred Delivery Method for Receiving Training about Inclusive Education (N = 59). Delivery Method % Out of district training Most beneficial 24 Least beneficial 31 Neutral 33 Coursework at college/university Most beneficial 11 Least beneficial 39 Neutral 40 District level in-service training Most beneficial 19 Least beneficial 18 Neutral 23 Consultation with special education teacher Most beneficial 15 Least beneficial 15 Neutral 59 School building level training Most beneficial 5 Least beneficial 61 Neutral 24 Consultation with school psychologist Most beneficial 20 Least beneficial 24 Neutral 46 Articles (provided) Most beneficial 14 Least beneficial 46 Neutral 39 *Note. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding f 16 21 22 7 26 26 26 24 9 10 10 39 3 40 16 13 16 30 9 33 17 Table 6 Frequencies of Total Individual Responses in Each Subdomain on the Teacher Survey Responses Subdomain Student Variables Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q18 Q20 Q21 Q22 Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree 25.2% 3.7% 10.6% 5.2% 1.3% 2.6% 23.4% 32.5% 24.7% 35.3% 17.6% 4.5% 41.6% 27.3% 24.7% 42.9% 49.4% 49.4% 15.2% 36.4% 53.0% 37.7% 40.3% 9.4% 31.2% 16.9% 19.5% Strongly Agree 24.3% 42.3% 8.8% 15.6% 29.9% 23.4% 2.6% 4.4% 5.2% Buford & Casey Q31 Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 26 36.2% 24.5% 19.3% 20.0% Peer Support Q3 Q17 Q23 Strongly Disagree 3.9% 5.2% 1.3% Disagree 11.7% 9.1% 7.8% Agree 64.9% 64.9% 66.2% Strongly Agree 19.5% 19.5% 23.4% Admin Support Q10 Q15 Q29 Strongly Disagree 2.5% 18.2% 3.5% Disagree 4.7% 40.3% 11.6% Agree 37.7% 24.7% 52.2% Strongly Agree 5.2% 16.9% 32.7% Collaboration Q4 Q19 Q24 Q32 Q33 Strongly Disagree 2.6% 0% 3.9% 69.5% 63.5% Disagree 22.1% 33.8% 15.5% 13.6% 13.6% Agree 61.0% 8.1% 66.4% 9.1% 12.4% Training Ql Q2 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q16 Q25 Q26 Q27 Q28 Q30 Q34 Strongly Disagree 11.7% 15.6% 53.2% 16.9% 11.7% 42.9% 5.2% 22.1% 36.8% 24.2% 12.2% 49.7% 14.8% Disagree 35.1% 22.1% 40.3% 39.0% 28.6% 35.1% 26.0% 18.2% 18.4% 27.2% 13.7% 27.6% 13.7% Agree 15.6% 49.4% 5.2% 33.8% 42.9% 18.2% 55.8% 53.2% 42.1% 24.2% 58.6% 13.4% 64.2% Strongly Agree 14.4% 16.9% 3.0% 7.8% 10.2% Strongly Agree 15.6% 13.0% 1.3% 10.4% 15.6% .6% 13.0% 6.5% 2.6% 21.2% 15.5% 9.3% 7.3% Discussion The results of this study suggest that no significant difference existed between male and female teachers in relation to their attitudes regarding their preparedness to teach in inclusive education. A difference was found in regards to attitude and teacher age. Teachers below the age of 36 held a significantly more positive attitude (p<.0005) towards being prepared for inclusive education than teachers in any other age bracket specified for this study (i.e., 36-45 and above 45). According to Scruggs and Mastropieri (1996), general education teachers' attitudes and beliefs about instructing students with disabilities are learned and appear to be influenced by the amount of knowledge they have with regard to a particular individual or group. Similarly, Cook (2001) revealed that teacher attitudes about inclusion in their classrooms stemmed from their lack of confidence and perceived lack of proper training in that area. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 27 Given the relationship between attitude and exposure or training, the significantly higher attitude measured in teachers below the age of 36 may be attributed to their having more exposure to teaching exceptional learners than their older counterparts. Given this, it would likely be very beneficial for university level teacher training programs to ensure that coursework in teaching children with special needs be provided to their trainees, particularly because inclusion will likely become more prevalent in the classrooms over the next ten years as a result of the increasingly more stringent federal and state mandates promoting inclusive education. When examining the educational levels of teachers, no difference was detected in teachers who held a Bachelor's degree, Bachelor's +30 hours, Master's degree, or Master's+30 hours. Similarly, no difference was found with teachers who taught at the elementary, middle, or secondary levels. Interestingly, previous research suggested that a difference in attitude towards inclusive education existed among elementary, middle, and high school level teachers (Hammond & Ingalls, 2003; Hastings & Oakford, 2003). The number of years teaching at their current teaching level did not appear to influence teacher attitude. The attitude remained generally positive no matter how long the teachers have been working at their current teaching level. Neither the total number of years teaching nor the number of years teachers spent teaching children with special needs appeared to have an influence on the measure of attitude. Indeed, teachers expressed a generally neutral attitude despite the numbers of years they spent teaching students with special needs in their class. Table 4 shows their rankings of the delivery method was associated with the three categories. Teacher respondents revealed that out-of-district training was believed to be most beneficial, while consulting with a school psychologist ranked second ahead of district level in-service training. Providing school building level training was clearly believed to be the least beneficial method of providing training. The remaining methods were fairly evenly split. Given research suggesting that exposure and training in teaching children with special needs influences teacher attitude toward inclusive education, it is worthwhile to examine how teachers believe that they best be trained. Additionally, the lack of appropriate training is a key factor in preventing positive teacher attitudes towards inclusion. Thus, it can be suggested that teachers would be more receptive and make more gains when exposed to training programs they perceive as most beneficial. The participants in this study were unable to recommend other training methods or topics they would like to see included in their training to prepare them to teach students with special needs. Within the Peer Support Subdomain, teachers were in general agreement that they have the support of their peers when dealing with special needs students in the regular classroom setting. As suggested by the literature, Leatherman and Neimeyer (2005), peer support is a key factor in influencing a teacher’s attitude towards teaching students with special needs. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 28 In regards to the Administrative Support Subdomain, most teachers surveyed believed that they could approach their administrators with concerns when teaching students with special needs. However, most of them believed that their administrators did not provide adequate support, materials, or time to attend conferences addressing the issues they faced in the classroom when dealing with special needs students. Within the Collaboration Subdomain, teachers reported they were in general agreement that collaboration between the regular education and special education teachers has a positive outcome. They were also in agreement that both special education and regular education teachers should be accountable for teaching special needs students. In regards to the Training Subdomain, teachers believed that their training equipped them adequately for students with disabilities, such as speech and language impairments and learning disabilities. Most teachers, however, did not believe their educational background prepared them to teach students with cognitive delays and delays in daily living skills. In fact they believed they needed more training to teach students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for learning problems. It is important that changes need to occur in teacher preparation programs for the concept of inclusion to be fully understood and accepted. Carroll, Forlin and Jobling (2003) noted that general and special education programs continue to operate under a dual system at many universities. Teacher training programs tend to follow a model that prepares regular education teachers to expect to teach regular education students and special education teachers to teach special education students. Regular education teachers then, may feel ill equipped and overwhelmed by the prospect of teaching children with special needs. Teaching programs need to prepare teachers to work with all children. Since teachers set the tone of classrooms, the success of inclusion programs may very well depend upon the attitudes of teachers as they interact with students who have disabilities. References Allbritten, D., Mainzer, R., & Ziegler, D. (2004). Will students with disabilities be scapegoats for school failure? Exceptional Children, 36(3), 74-75. Antonak, R., & Larrivee, B. (1995). Psychometric analysis and revision of the opinions relative to mainstreaming scale. Exceptional Children, 62(2), 139-142. Avramidis, E., Bayliss, P., & Burden, R. (2000). A survey into mainstream teachers' attitudes towards the inclusion of children with special education needs in the ordinary school in one local education authority. Educational Psychology, 20(2), 191-225. Bargerhuff, M. E., & Wheatley, M. (2004). Teaching with CLASS: Creating laboratory access for science students. Teacher Education and Special Education, 27(3), 308-321. Beattie, J. R, Anderson, R. J., & Antonak, R. F. (1997). Modifying the attitudes of prospective educators toward students with disabilities and their integration into the regular classrooms. The Journal of Psychology, 131(3), 245-260. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 29 Brownell, M., & Pajares, F. (1999). Classroom teachers' sense of efficacy to instruct special education students. Teacher Education and Special Education, 22(3), 154164. Carroll, A., Forlin, C., & Jobling, A. (2003).The impact of teacher training in special education on the attitudes of Australian pre-service general educators towards people with disabilities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 30 (3), 65-79. Chung, S. (1998). The compatibility of reform initiatives in inclusion and science education: Perceptions of science teachers. Purdue University. West Lafayette, IN. Cook, G. (2001). A comparison of teachers' attitudes toward their included students with mild and severe disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 34(4), 203-214. Downing, J., & Peckham-Hardin, D. (2007). Inclusive education: What makes it a good education for students with moderate to severe disabilities? Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32(1), 16-30. Foreman, P., Arthur-Kelly, M., Pascoe, S., &King, B. (2004). Evaluating the educational experiences of students with profound and multiple disabilities in inclusive and segregated classroom settings: an Australian perspective. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 29(3), 183–93. Hammond, H., & Ingalls, L. (2003). Teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion: Survey results from elementary school teachers in three Southwestern rural school districts. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 22(2), 24-30. Hastings, P., & Oakford, S. (2003). Student teachers' attitudes towards the inclusion of children with special needs. Educational Psychology, 23(2), 234-250. Hughes, C., & Carter, E. (2006). Success for all students: Promoting inclusion in secondary schools through peer buddy programs. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. Keenan, S. (1997). Program elements that support teachers and students with learning and behavior problems. In P. Zionts (Ed.), Inclusion strategies for students with learning and behavior problems: Perspectives, experiences, and best practices (pp. 117-138). Austin, TX: Pro-ED. Leatherman, J. M., & Neimeyer, J. A. (2005). Teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion: Factors influencing classroom practices. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 26(1), 23-26. Leyser, Y., & Tappendorf, K. (2001). Are attitudes and practices regarding mainstreaming changing? A case of teachers in two rural school districts. Education, 121(4), 751-761. Logan, K., Diaz, E., Piperno, M., Rankin, D., MacFarland, D., & Borganian, K. (1995). How inclusion built a community of learners, Educational Leadership, 52(4), 4244. Matlock, L., Fiedler, K., & Walsh, D. (2001). Building the foundation for standards instruction for all students. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33(5), 68-72. McHatton, A., & McCray, D. (2007). Inclination towards inclusion: Perceptions of elementary and secondary education teacher candidates, Action in Teacher Education, 29(3), 25-32. Buford & Casey Volume 2, Issue 2, November, 2012 30 McLeskey, J., Waldron, N. L., So, T. H., Swanson, K., & Loveland, T. (2001). Perspectives of teachers toward inclusive school programs. Teacher Education and Special Education, 24(2), 108-115. P.L. 94-142. Education of All handicapped Children of 1975, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq P.L. 107-110. No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. Scruggs, T. E., & Mastropieri, M. A. (1996). Teachers’ perceptions of mainstreaming and inclusion, 1958-1995: A research synthesis. Exceptional Children, 63(1), 59-72. Stoiber, C., Goettinger, M., & Goetz, D. (1998). Exploring factors influencing parents’ and early childhood practitioners’ beliefs about inclusion. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(1), 107-124.