Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Joe Bullis

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine classroom teachers' perceptions of inclusion in local education agencies (LEAs) in North Carolina. Regular education teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels were surveyed to determine characteristics that impact their perceptions of inclusion in regards to teacher gender, years of teaching experience, subjects taught (core or elective classes), past experience with inclusion, personal experience with disabilities, number of hours of coursework concerning disabilities, number of hours of professional development concerning disabilities, number of hours of training concerning inclusion, and region. This study detailed related research in the area of inclusion and the variables that are a part of teachers' perceptions. The research provided guidance for the researcher and the study.

The Attitudes Towards Teaching All Students (ATTAS-mm) Instrument was used for this study. Permission for the use of the instrument was obtained from Jess Gregory, one of the authors of the instrument. The ATTAS-mm was developed in 2011 by Jess L. Gregory and Lori A. Noto. The ATTAS-mm is arranged to load onto three different components of attitude: cognitive, behavioral, and affective.

One research question is identified: What are the key identifiable characteristics that impact teachers' perceptions towards inclusion? In analyzing the results of the survey, teachers' perceptions were disaggregated based on the characteristics provided. There was no significant difference in teachers' perceptions as related to current teaching assignment, gender, years of teaching experience, experience with inclusion, or the number of hours of training in inclusive practices. In regards to the subject taught, elective teachers were more accommodating for students in the inclusive setting. Teachers who had personal experience with individuals with disabilities had a more positive attitude than those who had no experience. The greater the number of hours of academic coursework teachers had concerning disabilities, the more they felt that separate classrooms should not be eliminated. As the number of hours of professional development concerning disabilities increased, so did the degree of positive attitudes. Regions were analyzed with the most positive attitude towards inclusion being represented in the sandhills/south central region, and the southeast region was the most negative.

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