Early Childhood Preservice Training and Perceived Teacher Efficacy Beliefs Concerning the Inclusion of Young Children with Disabilities
Type of DegreeDissertation
Rehabilitation and Special Education
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The purpose of the study was to identify relationships among type of early childhood teacher training programs and levels of perceived efficacy beliefs concerning the inclusion of young children with disabilities. Preservice teachers enrolled in general early childhood, early childhood special education, and unified teacher training programs completed the Teacher Efficacy for the Inclusion of Young Children with Disabilities. This scale contains four subscales pertaining to (a) knowledge of procedures related to special education, (b) knowledge of young children with disabilities, (c) teaching confidence with young children having a disability and who are included into the general education classroom, and (d) perceptions of their abilities to implement both effective teaching strategies and modification to the general education curriculum to meet the needs of young children with disabilities. Results indicated preservice teachers enrolled in general early childhood teacher training programs reported significantly lower levels of perceived efficacy beliefs concerning the inclusion of young children with disabilities on all four subscales of the dependent measure compared to their early childhood special education and unified counterparts. Preservice teachers enrolled in early childhood special education teacher training programs reported a higher degree of perceived teaching efficacy concerning special education procedures compared to those enrolled in a unified program. There were no significant differences among early childhood special education and unified teacher training programs on the three remaining subscales. The findings of this study suggest preservice teachers participating in separate early childhood education teacher training programs lacked confidence in their beliefs regarding their skills and performances concerning including children with disabilities in their future general education classroom. The meanings of these efficacy doubts may be explained by minimal exposures to special education content and direct experiences with children having disabilities. Additionally, the results indicate a need for more instruction concerning special education evaluation and drafting individualized education and service plans in unified teacher training programs.