Elementary School Teacher Preparation and Attitudes toward Co-Teaching in an Inclusion Classroom in an Urban Division in Virginia
This study measured the relative strength of the relationships among the variables that research has suggested improve teacher attitudes toward co-teaching inclusion. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine which variable produced the strongest relationship effect on teacher attitudes toward co-teaching in an inclusion classroom. All general education and special education teachers (n=1009) in elementary schools in an urban division in Virginia were surveyed.
Teacher attitudes toward a practice have had an impact on student achievement (Friend and Pope, 2005; Ghaith and Yaghi, 1997). A teacher's beliefs regarding an instructional practice or innovation were directly linked to educational improvements (Ghaith and Yaghi, 1997; Loney et al., 1976). School leaders and teacher preparation programs have provided learning experiences for prospective and current teachers (DeSutter, 2015; DuFour, 2004). These experiences were provided in an effort to ensure preparation for the challenge of teaching or co-teaching struggling students (DeSutter, 2015; DuFour, 2004).
In this study, positive correlations were found between all of the research variables and teacher attitudes toward co-teaching inclusion. The highest correlations were between the leadership and professional development and the dependent variable teacher attitudes toward co-teaching in an inclusion classroom. The weakest research variable correlation was in student teaching. This mixed methods study established recommendations for leadership in the preparation and development of teachers for success in co-taught inclusion classrooms. Additionally, the study carried implications that teacher preparation programs should include more clinical teaching experiences embedded in their preparation programs.