The Roles of Information and Experience in Improving Teachers' Knowledge and Attitudes About Mainstreaming
AbstractResearch on mainstreaming suggests that teachers are often ill prepared, both in terms of knowledge and attitude, to teach handicapped children. The present research investigated whether information about and experience with the handicapped would improve prospective regular education teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about mainstreaming. In addition, data were gathered and reported on the relationship between teachers' attitudes and knowledge and certain characteristics, including term standing, areas of specialization, and grade-point averages. The results indicated that the teachers did not increase their general knowledge about mainstreaming as a result of only information about or only experience with the handicapped. However, attitudes toward mainstreaming significantly improved as a result of a combination of information about and experience with the handicapped and as a result of only information about the handicapped. The results also indicated that prospective teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about mainstreaming were not significantly influenced by their term standings, areas of specialization, or grade-point averages.