Managing students with mild to moderate disabilities: secondary general education teachers' attitudes toward inclusive practices

Inclusive education is an educational setting where students of all learning levels receive instruction in a general education classroom (Alquraini & Gut, 2012). The review of research indicates that general education (G.E) teachers are now more likely to be the principal providers of educational instruction for students with disabilities (SWD). Studies suggest that many G.E teachers are overwhelmed by making this effort, lacking confidence in their ability to adapt their curriculum for SWD. Concerns are more profound at the secondary level, where the complexity of content and pace of instruction pose challenges for both SWD and the G.E. teacher (Gerhke et al., 2014). The aim of this explorative, phenomenological and qualitative study is to examine how participants viewed and understood the challenges they faced, and the strategies employed to mitigate those challenges. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 7 secondary G.E teachers who currently teach in inclusive settings. The most significant finding indicated that participants had a high level of both self-efficacy and teaching efficacy when it to teaching or managing SWD. Participants reported that they became more confident teaching in inclusive settings over an extended period of time, and that the strategy employed was a trial and error method. The following successful inclusion strategies were also discovered: 1) making an effort to understand all obstacles a student may be facing; and 2) collaboration with the child’s core IEP team. Lastly, it was suggested by the participants that inclusion-based training be improved at both the preservice and in-service levels to help ensure successful inclusion practices are being implemented in public schools.