PurposeThis study aims to selects a teacher training program located in China’s rural area and focus on its preservice teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education in China and their expectations of teacher training programs.Design/methodology/approachThe selected teacher training program is in School of Education of a comprehensive university, located in a small town in Northeast China. Five preservice teachers in the Department of Teacher Education were interviewed. The interviewees were randomly selected among those who have already gained at least 60 credits of coursework prior to the interview. Each interview lasted for approximately 0.5 h. Interview notes were summarized and coded using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-step approach. In addition to interview data, other data sources were used, such as classroom observation and review of curriculum and program requirement.FindingsAlthough the selected teacher preparation program started offering some selective special education courses to preservice teachers, there are limited number of offerings and a lack of field placement in inclusive settings, and stereotypical opinions towards disabilities still exist as a roadblock for choosing special education teacher profession.Research limitations/implicationsThe current study only focuses on one rural teacher training institution and report preservice teachers’ opinions toward teacher education curriculum, factors that lead to their decision in the teacher education major and their vision towards inclusion in China. Recommendations are provided to increase public awareness of disability, and create more field based experience in inclusive settings for preservice teachers. However, the result may not be generalized to reflect preservice teachers of teacher training institutions located in developed areas where there are rich opportunities for field experience in inclusive setting or special education programs, and who offer more extensive special education courses.Practical implicationsIt is recommended that teacher preparation program modify curriculum and offer more special education courses, as well as develop connections with local special education schools and inclusive programs, thus creating more field based opportunities for preservice teachers to work with children with disabilities.Originality/valueThere are limited studies on rural preservice teachers’ attitudes towards being a special education teacher and how the teacher training programs prepare them to become a special education teacher. The current study fills the gap and conduct an interview study of preservice teachers’ from a rural teacher training programs perceptions of China’s special education, how they choose the program of study that prepare them to become a special education teacher, and their rating of the teacher preparation program.
Journal for Multicultural Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 12, 2018