Pre-Service Teachers’ Knowledge and Their Beliefs Towards Inclusive Education: Implications for Teacher Education Programme
Today’s classrooms in Nigerian schools are witnessing heterogeneous student populations. With this current classroom nature, teachers feel generally ill-prepared and are unwilling to accommodate disadvantaged students. According to research findings, unfortunately, disadvantaged students were usually excluded during classroom instruction. Consequently, this resulted in reduced learning opportunities, stigmatization and social exclusion. Thus, this paper investigated pre-service teachers’ level of knowledge about inclusive education and explored their beliefs towards inclusive education. To achieve these objectives, a descriptive study design was adopted. The sample for the study consisted of 166 pre-service science teachers who were drawn from the population of special education undergraduate students from a tertiary institution using the stratified random sampling technique. The study utilized two validated questionnaires, Teachers’ Knowledge about Inclusive Education Test (TKIET), and True-False Twenty-one-Item Test and Teachers’ Belief towards Inclusive Education (TBIS) which is structured on a 5-point Likert scale to elicit the information from the respondents. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results of the study indicated that (1) pre-service teachers had a moderate knowledge about inclusive education and (2) pre-service teachers held positive beliefs about the effectiveness of inclusive education. Major conclusions which arise from this study are that pre-service special education teachers in Nigeria had moderate knowledge about inclusive education. In spite of their moderate knowledge about inclusive education they exhibited positive beliefs about the effectiveness of inclusive education.
Keywords: disadvantage students, struggling learners, adaptive instruction, curriculum modification, inclusive education
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