• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Impact of teacher efficacy on teacher attitudes toward classroom inclusion

Dissertation
Author: Julie Schaefer
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward the inclusive classroom. Previous research has demonstrated that teacher efficacy directly impacts student performance. This study sought to examine the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward classroom inclusion. The paper critically examined the impact of teacher efficacy on teacher attitudes toward inclusion. This study was based on a convenience sample that represented only a select number of teachers in a discrete geographic area, thus limiting the generalizability of the findings. Multiple regression was used to test the hypothesis that scores on the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale predict scores on the Inclusion Climate Scale. The hypothesis that teacher efficacy can predict teacher attitudes toward inclusion was confirmed. The strongest predictor of teacher efficacy was principal leadership style. The overall school inclusion climate was also found to be related to the principal's leadership style, affecting individual teacher efficacy in instructional strategies and classroom management. Recommendations for further research and practice were given. Professional development for both teachers and administrators in inclusive educational setting may aid in the improvement of efficacy for teachers and administrators and provide for an improved school inclusion climate, with the ultimate goal of improved student outcomes for students with learning disabilities.

Table of Contents Acknowledgments iv

List of Tables viii

Table of Figures ix

CHAPTER 1.: INTRODUCTION 1

Introduction to the Problem 1

Background of the Study 3

Problem Statement 7

Purpose of the Study 8

Hypothesis/Research Questions 9

Research Design 10

Significance of the Study 10

Definition of Terms 12

Limitations 14

Assumptions 15

Summary 16

CHAPTER 2.: LITERATURE REVIEW 17

A Brief History of Special Education in America 17

Inclusion in Public Schools 21

Theoretical Underpinnings of Effective Teaching 29

Teacher Efficacy 31

Dimensions of Teacher Efficacy 36

vi

Summary 46

CHAPTER 3.: METHODOLOGY 49

Research Questions and Research Variables 49

Research Design 50

Instrumentation 51

Selection of Participants 56

Procedures 56

Data Analysis 58

Summary 59

CHAPTER 4.: RESULTS 60

Data Analysis 60

Details of Data Analysis 62

Reliability Analysis for the Inclusion Climate Survey 65

Research Question 1 68

Research Question 2 73

Summary of Results 80

CHAPTER 5.: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 83

Summary of Findings 84

Limitations of the Study 85

Conclusions and Implications 87

Recommendations for Further Research 92

vii

Recommendations for Practice 93

Summary 95

REFERENCES 97

APPENDIX A: INCLUSION CLIMATE SCALE (ICS) 107

APPENDIX B: TEACHERS’ SENSE OF EFFICACEY SCALE (SHORT FORM) 111

APPENDIX C: TEACHER DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE 112

viii

List of Tables Table 1. TES Short Form Descriptive Statistics for the Dependent Variables Across the Independent Variable 52

Table 2. Participant Demographics 61

Table 3. Participants’ Teaching Experience 62

Table 4. Results from the Reliability Analysis for Scales on the TSES 63

Table 5. Results from the Reliability Analysis for Subscales on the ICS 65

Table 6. Acronym Descriptions for Subscales of Teacher Sense of Efficacy and Inclusion Climate Survey 69

Table 7. Intercorrelation between Subscales of the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale and Inclusion Climate Survey for Teachers 70

Table 8. Descriptive Regression Table that Includes Beta (B), Standard Error (Std Error), Standardized Beta (Beta), t, Significant Level, and Confidence Interval 79

ix

Table of Figures Figure 1. Standardized Residual Frequency Histogram of the Satisfaction Composite Criterion Variable with Normal Curve Superimposed 75

Figure 2. Normal Q-Q Plot of Zscore (Self- Efficacy) 76

Figure 3. Teacher Self Efficacy Scatter Plot 80

1

CHAPTER 1.: INTRODUCTION

Introduction to the Problem Mainstreaming and inclusion are common educational practices designed to provide children with special needs a complete and inclusive educational experience. Under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA) of 1975, students with disabilities and other special needs are to be mainstreamed into what the Act describes as “the least restrictive educational environment.” In many cases, this means integrating these children into the regular the classroom (Division for Early Childhood [DEC], 1996). The spirit of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act was to provide children with special needs both equal opportunities in terms of universal access to public schools as well as a full social experience. The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in 1996 endorsed the concept of inclusion and published a position statement. The position statement stipulated that inclusion supports the rights of all children regardless of their disabilities. It is defined that the children will be allowed to participate in a natural setting such as childcare, nursery schools, Head Start programs, kindergartens, peer play groups, and school classrooms (DEC, 1996). Following IDEA, a number of additional legislative acts have been passed which address the educational needs of children with disabilities, such as Public Law 94-142, the EHCA of 1975. The EHCA (PL 94-142) Part B was mandated to support efforts to assure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities in public,

2

private, or other care institutions are educated with children who are non-disabled. PL 94- 142 also requires that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occur only when the nature or severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved (EHCA, 1975). The coordination of services in support of children with disabilities has widely become known as inclusion, and inclusion is the term PL 101-476. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990), mandates that students with special educational needs or disabilities placed in the least restrictive educational environment (LRE). For this dissertation, the term inclusion will be used instead of mainstreaming. Inclusion is the term educator’s use in reference to the requirements of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. The practice of inclusion is a coordination of appropriate support services brought to the children in the learning environment, rather than moving the children to the services. In practice, this brings general and special education teachers together in a single classroom to provide for the educational needs of children with disabilities. Teacher’s work together to meet the educational needs of special education students that are considered academically able to function in the general classroom (Carter, 2006). In addition to efficiency of resources, a major benefit associated with inclusion is that students with disabilities are given regular opportunities to interact with and learn alongside students without special needs. Inclusion thus provides children with disabilities the opportunity to learn appropriate social skills through interaction with all of

3

their peers and not just with their special education classmates (Gerber, 1996). This same benefit is extended to the general education students who are provided opportunities to develop an appreciation for their peers who have special needs. In order to meet the requirements of federal law, educators must include students with special educational needs in the general classroom with general education teachers who often have had limited training in special education (Brown, Welsh, Hill, & Cipko, 2008). The training and preparation of the general education teachers participating in inclusion classrooms is often overlooked. As a result, many teachers report feelings of being ill prepared to meet the needs of children in the inclusive setting and consequently the teachers also report feelings of low efficacy in teaching in the inclusive setting (Gerber, 1996). The theory behind inclusion is strong, and students have been shown to benefit from an inclusionary model of education (White, Swift, & Harmon, 1992). However, the success of any initiative is limited when those carrying out the effort are underprepared or poorly supported to achiever the initiative. Inclusion efforts are currently limited as a result of insufficient training and support for general education teacher who work in inclusion settings. Background of the Study Confidence in one’s capability to complete a task or meet a challenge is widely known as self-efficacy. Bandura (1986) explained, “Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designed types of performances” (p. 391). Self-efficacy perceptions will

4

affect future motivation and learning. Self-efficacy plays a crucial role in many areas of daily living and in the workplace. For teachers, self-efficacy plays an important role in the educator’s confidence to meet the educational, social, and emotional needs of his or her students (Eiserman, Shisler, & Healey, 1995). Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), advanced by Bandura (1977, 1986, 1997), is used to describe and explain the construct of self-efficacy. Bandura posited that an individual’s expectations about action, results of the action, and motivation are directly linked to the individual’s personal life experience. This is based on the premise that individuals are proactively involved in their own development. Individuals can make things happen by their actions and self-beliefs by having control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The way an individual thinks, feels, and believes affects the individual’s behavior (Bandura). Bandura (1986) suggested that self-efficacy is the main predictor of behavior, more so than expectations, knowledge, or skills. Self-efficacy is also task specific. An individual may feel a high level of efficacy in one particular area and not have a very high level of self-esteem in another. For instance, an individual could have a strong sense of efficacy in math but be unsure or doubtful of his or her capabilities in reading (Woolfolk-Hoy, 2004). Thus, self-efficacy places a crucial role in how individuals approach new challenges. The task of specific self-efficacy demands, how specific training is given, and support for each new learning endeavor. Self-efficacy plays a strong role in initial motivation to learn and master new skills, and has ramifications for how an individual

5

persists when adversity arises (O’ Shea, 2006). A strong sense of self-efficacy stems from the number of past experiences and successes an individual has. Those with a strong sense of efficacy will persist in the face of difficulty; even if the individual is unsuccessful, the individual will keep trying (Bandura, 1993). Those with lower self- efficacy are more likely to surrender in the face of adversity. As a general psychological construct, self-efficacy and social cognitive theory are useful tools in any educational or training setting. When working to educate teachers, however, self-efficacy takes on increased importance and value. Teacher efficacy is a two-dimensional belief about reaching students that consists of general teaching efficacy, which is a belief about the general power of teaching to reach students, and personal teaching efficacy, which is a belief, that one is personally capable of reaching students (Solomon, 2007). Teacher efficacy proposes that the level of an educator’s self-efficacy affects the amount of effort and persistence a teacher will exert various teaching situations or challenges in the classroom (Edgar, 2007). Teacher efficacy can be used to predict the willingness of the teacher to work with students who are having difficulties that might be educational, social, or behavioral (Solomon). It can also be used as a predictor for how well they will perform in an inclusion setting. When examined in a general education setting, the professional commitment of teachers with a high level of teacher efficacy has been linked to their instructional experimentation, their willingness to try different materials and approaches, their desire to improve their way of teaching, and their implementation of progressive or innovative teaching methods (Weiner, 2003). The level of organization, planning, fairness, clarity,

6

and enthusiasm in teaching is also related to personal teaching efficacy (Ashton & Webb, 1986; Deemer, 2004). Teachers with a high sense of efficacy may be less likely to criticize a student for an incorrect response and more likely to help a student who is failing (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Bishop, 1992). High efficacy teachers are also more likely to use small group instruction by dividing the class into small group instead of instructing the entire class (Fuchs et al.). Teacher efficacy is task specific, which means that a teacher may have high efficacy in some aspects of teaching and low efficacy in other aspects of teaching (Woolfolk-Hoy, 2004). For instance, the general education teacher may have a high teacher efficacy in their capabilities in working within a general classroom but not have the same sense of teacher efficacy in teaching a child with disabilities. The teacher may not be incapable of teaching a child with disabilities; rather the teacher may feel that he or she does not have the skills needed for teaching the child with special needs (Woolfolk-Hoy). This teacher’s lack of confidence in his or her teaching skills may result in the teacher being less engagement with special needs students and reduce the teacher’s willingness to engage in instructional experimentation (Woolfolk-Hoy). Teachers need to be aware of their teaching efficacy beliefs in the classroom and how these beliefs may influence their teaching ability. According to Bandura (1997), “Teachers’ beliefs in their efficacy affect their general orientation toward the educational process as well as their specific instructional activities” (p. 241). When a teacher has a low sense of efficacy, the students will react to the teacher's attitude; if the teacher does not have confidence in his or her ability to effectively teach the students, the students will

7

react by not trying. The success of students in the inclusive classroom therefore depends largely on the teachers’ attitude and their confidence in promoting positive educational outcomes for the entire class (Woolfolk-Hoy, 2004). Problem Statement Students with disabilities need adequate attention from the teacher in a classroom setting. Teachers must provide ample time for giving out instructions to students with disabilities, which requires more than the time they provide for typical students. Unlike typical students, students with disabilities need more time in order to process instructions. However, many teachers do not adapt their classroom instruction for children with special needs (Baker & Zigmond, 1990). Negative attitudes and a low sense of efficacy of some teachers contribute to this situation (Eiserman et al., 1995). According to the United States Department of Education the number of students with disabilities included into the regular classroom has steadily continued to grow, (2008). The concept of teacher efficacy proposes that the teacher’s level of teaching efficacy affects the amount of effort and persistence a teacher will put into various classroom situations. Despite the amount of research that has been done on teacher efficacy and attitudes toward classroom inclusion, many teachers still struggle with the inclusive classroom. Many teachers do not think of themselves as being capable of teaching effectively in the inclusive classroom (Eiserman et al., 1995). The problem is that teachers with inadequate training and support for inclusion frequently suffer from low teacher efficacy. Low teacher efficacy is associated with a reduced likelihood that teachers will employ teaching strategies that meet the needs of

8

students with special needs (Baker & Zigmond, 1990). Low teacher efficacy can also adversely affect the teacher’s attitudes and behavior in the classroom toward the students being included into the general classroom (Baker & Zigmond). Without adequate support for inclusion through teacher training and professional development, teacher efficacy will suffer, thus limiting the potential that inclusion offers students with disabilities. The number of students with disabilities that will be included into the regular classroom continues to grow. Ninety-six percent of students with disabilities attend a local school and nearly half of those students participate in a general education classroom (Smith, 2004). At this point, a major concern within inclusion is the degree to which teachers who teach in the regular classroom have been trained to meet the educational and social needs of students with disabilities. Although most teachers agree that it is in the student’s best interest to be included in the regular classroom, many regular education teachers feel they are not prepared, have not been properly trained, or do not have the resources available to be effective in an inclusion setting (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward special needs students being included in the regular classrooms. Understanding the variables that influence teacher efficacy and the influence efficacy has on teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion will help educators and school leaders to identify factors that optimize success in the teacher-student inclusion dynamic. It is necessary to answer this question to determine if the teacher’s attitude affects their belief in their teaching ability in the inclusive classroom.

9

Hypothesis/Research Questions Teachers who lack teacher efficacy may not feel they are effectively teaching in the inclusive classroom, which has the potential to impact their attitudes in the classroom and toward their students. To determine the relationship between teacher efficacy and attitudes toward classroom inclusion, the following hypothesis and research questions have been developed: RQ 1 : What is the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward inclusion? Hypothesis 1: There is a statistically significant relationship between teacher efficacy, as measured by scores on the TSES, and teacher attitudes toward inclusion, as measured by scores on the ICS. Null Hypothesis 1: There is no statistically significant relationship between teacher efficacy, as measured by scores on the TSES, and teacher attitudes toward inclusion, as measured by scores on the ICS. RQ 2 : How well does teacher efficacy predict teacher attitudes toward inclusion? Hypothesis 2: Teacher efficacy score, as measured by the TSES, are statistically significant predictors of teacher attitudes toward inclusion, as measured by scores on the ICS. Null Hypothesis: Teacher efficacy scores, as measured by the TSES, are not statistically significant predictors of teacher attitudes toward inclusion, as measured by scores on the ICS.

10

The Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the Inclusion Climate Scale (ICS) (Harris & Marfo, 2000) were used to collect data to test the null hypotheses for this study. Research Design This study employed a non-experimental quantitative research design using two established survey instruments. Elementary school teachers in the North Fond du Lac School District, Lomira School District, and in the Oakfield School District were asked to complete two written surveys: (a) Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and (b) Inclusion Climate Scale (ICS) (Harris & Marfo, 2000). Data from the questionnaires were used to address the null hypotheses for the research questions. Copies of the Teacher Efficacy Scale and Inclusion Climate Scale are located in Appendix A and B. Human subject protection was addressed through review of the dissertation committee, the Capella Institutional Review Board. In addition, permission to distribute the surveys was obtained from appropriate officials at each school district. Respondents were also notified of their participant rights and signed consent forms were obtained. The independent variable in the study was general education or special education teachers. The dependent variables were teacher efficacy as measured by the TES and teacher attitude toward inclusion as measured by the ICS. Significance of the Study This study makes a contribution both to the field of educational psychology and to teacher education. Literature related to teacher efficacy indicates that prior research has

11

presented inconsistent definitions of teacher efficacy, thus posing challenges for drawing strong conclusions from research conducted in this area. Teacher efficacy has been defined as a two-dimensional construct (Bandura, 1977, 1982; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Gibson & Dembo, 1984); other researchers have defined the theory of efficacy to be a more global concept (Hoover-Dempsey, Bassler, & Brissie, 1987; Trentham, Silvern, & Brogdon, 1985). Ashton and Webb described efficacy as a state or response to a particular situation. Doyle (1986) viewed a teacher’s sense of efficacy as the ability to manage and motivate students by maintaining successful classroom management skills. Other researchers base conceptions of efficacy in political science (Barfield & Burlingame, 1974; Trentham et al.), while other conceptions are based in psychology (Ashton & Webb; Gibson & Dembo). This research is important to the field of education because it can provide information about the importance of addressing teacher efficacy beliefs and attitudes toward inclusion. The attitude the teacher has can affect the teacher’s continued motivation in the classroom and the goals and expectations the teacher has in teaching in the inclusive classroom. Teacher efficacy can also influence the teacher’s attitude about continued learning with services offered by in school in either pre-service, in-service, or other continued learning. The study will also contribute to the existing literature related to inclusion by investigating the relationship between efficacy perceptions of elementary education teachers and teacher attitudes toward inclusion.

12

Definition of Terms Classroom inclusion: The practice of educating all or most children in the same classroom, including children with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. Inclusion classes often require a special assistant to the classroom teacher. The 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) made inclusion a controversial topic by requiring a free and appropriate education with related services for each child in the least restrictive environment possible, and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each qualifying child. In 1991, the bill was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the revision broadened the definition of disabilities and added related services (McBrien & Brandt, 1997). General education teacher: The teacher who is responsible for instruction of elementary or secondary students and serve as teacher solely responsible for delivering academic content and assigning grade(s) (About.com, 1999). Mainstreaming: Typically refers to the placement of a child with special developmental, physical, emotional, or educational deficiencies or challenges into a regular classroom setting for part or all of the school day. The long-term goal of helping the child make a gradual adjustment into as many aspects of normal life as possible, in order for the child to become a functioning member of society to whatever extent he or she is able (About.com, 1999). Mild disabilities: According to the study, examples of mild disabilities were identified as:

13

a disability requiring a minimum of alternative teaching strategies, speech/language problems, Asperger’s disorder, an individual who needs more one on one assistance, hearing problems, and speech therapy (Teacher definitions from study, 2006). Severe disabilities: According to the study examples of severe disabilities were identified as: an individual who needs adaptive equipment, severe brain injuries, low functioning autism, an individual who requires an aide all day long, cerebral palsy, and a below 80 IQ (Teacher definitions from study, 2006). Self-confidence: Self-confidence refers to belief in one's personal worth and likelihood of succeeding. Self-confidence is a combination of self-esteem and general self- efficacy (About.com, 1999). Self-concept: Is the nature and organization of beliefs about one's self. Self-concept is theorized to be multi-dimensional. For example, people have separate beliefs about physical, emotional, social, etc. aspects of themselves (About.com, 1999). Self-efficacy: Is belief in one's capability to succeed at specific tasks. General self- efficacy is belief in one's general capability to handle tasks. Specific self-efficacy refers to beliefs about one's capability to perform specific tasks (e.g., driving, public speaking, studying, etc.) (Bandura, 1993). Self-esteem: Refers to general feelings of self-worth or self-value (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991).

14

Special education teacher: Teacher responsible for teaching students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, those students who participate in a functional, life-skills curriculum (About.com, 1999). Teacher efficacy: "The extent to which the teacher believes he or she has the capacity to affect student performance” (Berman, McLaughlin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977, p. 137), or as “teachers’ belief or conviction that they can influence how well students learn, even those who may be difficult or unmotivated” (Guskey & Passaro, 1994, p. 4). Limitations As with any study, there are natural constraints on the process. The limitations associated and acknowledged within this study will be defined. This study presents data from only 13 elementary teachers from small rural towns in Wisconsin school districts. This will leave a large number of districts (large and small) not included in the research. The sample for this research is a sample of convenience, not randomized and may not be applicable to the larger population. What is true for this select population may or may not generalize to other school districts. A limitation of the quantitative methods research is that there are other Teacher Efficacy Scales that could be used in the research, but only the Teacher Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) will be used. This limits the focus of this study to the definition of teacher efficacy employed by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk- Hoy. Similarly, only the Inclusion Climate Scale by Harris and Marfo (2000) will be used.

15

Not all teachers will respond to the survey and the teachers that do respond may not answer honestly. The teachers may not want to answer honestly in the event of possibly being viewed as incompetent or not qualified to teach in an inclusive classroom. The researcher’s strategy for data collection is a final limitation to this study. The survey will be presented three different times on different days, and thus the climate and environment on each day may be slightly different. Although the researcher will explain the procedures, purpose, privacy, and confidentiality consistently each time, teachers may interpret the directions and survey questions differently. It is important to acknowledge these limitations because their presence limits the ability to draw definite conclusions from the data collected. As a small-scale study, these limits are acceptable and expected, but must still be acknowledged. Assumptions Just as every study is constrained by key limitations, this study operates under a series of assumptions that undergird the process. The assumptions include: the belief that inclusion is more successful when there is collaborative consultation between general and special education teachers. Another assumption is that there is a connection between general and special education teacher self-efficacy and attitudes affect their teaching. Time and experience contribute to teacher efficacy. Length of time as a teacher affects the teachers-efficacy and attitude in the collaborative classroom. Teacher attitudes towards the inclusive classroom may differ based on the social, physical, academic, or behavioral accommodations that students may need based upon the students disabilities.

16

The way in which inclusion is implemented influences the attitudes and relationships of teachers and students. Summary The design of this study seeks to identify and define the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and teacher attitudes toward the inclusive classroom. Chapter 1 explores the study's theoretical foundation and how the constructs of social cognitive theory and teacher efficacy fit together. A brief overview of the research questions and research design is also provided, along with terminology and a discussion of the limitations and assumptions. The subsequent chapters further define the study. Chapter 2, by way of a full review of the literature, provides a discussion of the relationships between teacher efficacy and teacher attitude. Chapter 3 details the methodology used to conduct the study. A full description of the research instruments and the approach to data collection is provided. Chapter 4 presents the results of the data analysis. Each research question is answered in relation to the collected results and initial conclusions are discussed. The final chapter, Chapter 5 presents analysis and discussion of the studies’ implications, and makes recommendations for future research and practice in the inclusive classroom.

17

CHAPTER 2.: LITERATURE REVIEW There is a long-standing precedent in the United States that all citizens have an opportunity for education. This includes students with disabilities and special needs. Schools are continually working to identify guiding and best practices for all students, and special attention has been paid to students with disabilities. Schools are trying to find ways to better assist students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) (2004) assists in providing guidelines for state and public agencies working with early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The literature review that follows provides a brief history of special education in America, followed by a discussion of the modern philosophy of inclusion. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and its related constructs are also discussed, followed by a review of the available literature on teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward inclusion. A Brief History of Special Education in America Prior to 1818, the majority of available education for students with disabilities was either nonexistent, taught in the home, or in an institution. The majority of the care for individuals with disabilities was basically custodial, with little respect for the individual or the true potential of the individual to both learn and to make contributions to society (Wolery & Wilbers, 1994). The thought of students with disabilities being able to live and function independently as part of the community had not been considered, and

Full document contains 123 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward the inclusive classroom. Previous research has demonstrated that teacher efficacy directly impacts student performance. This study sought to examine the relationship between teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes toward classroom inclusion. The paper critically examined the impact of teacher efficacy on teacher attitudes toward inclusion. This study was based on a convenience sample that represented only a select number of teachers in a discrete geographic area, thus limiting the generalizability of the findings. Multiple regression was used to test the hypothesis that scores on the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale predict scores on the Inclusion Climate Scale. The hypothesis that teacher efficacy can predict teacher attitudes toward inclusion was confirmed. The strongest predictor of teacher efficacy was principal leadership style. The overall school inclusion climate was also found to be related to the principal's leadership style, affecting individual teacher efficacy in instructional strategies and classroom management. Recommendations for further research and practice were given. Professional development for both teachers and administrators in inclusive educational setting may aid in the improvement of efficacy for teachers and administrators and provide for an improved school inclusion climate, with the ultimate goal of improved student outcomes for students with learning disabilities.