09 SES 04 C, Attitudes, Beliefs and Competencies of Future Teachers and Practicing Teachers
With the ratification of the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Germany in 2009, German schools are obliged to implement inclusive education. Formerly, the majority of students with disabilities was educated in so called “special needs schools” (Förderschule) which were organized according to types of disabilities, e.g. for hearing impaired or for socially or emotionally impaired students. All in all, the implementation of inclusive education in German schools is advancing rather slowly, with strong differences between the types of schools that exist in the stratified German school system. Led by primary schools, the implementation is also fairly advancing in secondary schools with lower and middle educational tracks (Haupt- and Realschule), as well as in comprehensive schools. Schools with academic tracks (Gymnasium) are far off in this development, as there are hardly any, promoting inclusive education in their classrooms. Considering that therefore, especially teachers in regular secondary schools have only little or no experience teaching students with and without disabilities in the same classroom, the new development towards inclusive education assigns them new tasks and challenges. According to several theoretical approaches, teachers’ attitudes are an integral prerequisite for their teaching. With reference to inclusion, attitudes are even seen as a professional competency (Baumert & Kunter, 2006). Studies point out that differences in the attitudes towards inclusive education are correlated with teaching degree, e.g. teachers with a degree for primary schools have a less favorable attitude towards inclusive education than teachers with a degree for special needs schools. Attitudes are therefore degree specific and it can be assumed that they are not developed on the job but rather beforehand, i.e. in the course of studies at university (Kuhl et al., 2013). Although several studies point to the importance of the course of studies for the formation of attitudes towards inclusive education, there are only few studies focusing on the group of teaching students. Kuhl and Walter (2008) report that regular contact with students with mental disabilities is positively related to the attitude towards inclusive education. Which other factors might further influence especially teaching students’ attitudes towards students with disabilities and their inclusion in the regular school system has so far rarely been subject to research.
Against the background of current German research, the main research question followed in this paper is which factors are related to teaching students’ attitudes towards inclusive education. We will, firstly, analyze if – in addition to regular contact itself - the quality of contact to persons with disabilities is related to the attitude towards inclusive education. Secondly, we will look into the relationship of the attitude towards inclusive education with teaching students’ self-efficacy beliefs. Thirdly, special focus will also be laid on schools with academic tracks (Gymnasium) and how the attitude towards this type of school might influence teaching students’ attitude towards inclusive education.
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