Date of Award

4-1983

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Fred Nowland

Second Advisor

Dr. James Sanders

Third Advisor

Dr. Harold Boles

Abstract

A descriptive study was conducted to investigate the relationship between regular classroom teachers' attitudes toward accepting handicapped pupils into their classrooms and the following factors: (a) the teacher's age, sex, academic preparation, and professional experience, (b) grade level taught, and (c) the teacher's perception of potential help available. The investigator also surveyed the opinions of these teachers about: (a) the types of handicapping conditions considered most and least acceptable and (b) the effectiveness of various incentives as inducements to enhanced acceptance of handicapped pupils into their classrooms. Data were gathered using the Attitude Regarding Mainstreaming Survey (ARMS), which was developed for this purpose. The ARMS was distributed to 450 regular classroom teachers in Macomb County, Michigan.

Based on findings from analyses of data obtained from 336 teachers who completed the questionnaire, it was determined that significant relationships exist between a teacher's attitude toward mainstreaming and each of the following: (a) the age of the teacher, (b) the total number of years of teaching experience, (c) the number of years of mainstreaming experience, (d) the number of years of experience teaching only non-handicapped pupils, and (e) the teacher's perception of help available. According to the results of the opinion surveys, hearing impaired and speech impaired pupils were considered most acceptable, while those classified as deaf, blind, and emotionally impaired were rated least acceptable. The incentive judged most effective as an inducement to enhanced acceptance of mainstreaming was reduced class size.

While respondents expressed fairly positive attitudes about the mainstreaming philosophy and handicapped pupils, their responses to questions about their own competency and responsibilities in implementing mainstreaming programs were quite negative. Many of the respondents expressed: (a) the need for stronger support from and coordination with special education personnel, (b) concern over the "efficacy" of mainstreaming, suggesting that perhaps the education of the handicapped is best left to trained special educators, and (c) a belief that special education personnel are not always willing to accept their share of mainstreaming responsibilities. These findings hold serious implications for administrators and special education personnel, since it is they to whom these regular classroom teachers must turn for the support they seek in dealing with the handicapped.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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