The beliefs and attitudes of teachers are an important element in the development of inclusive education and its associated practices. Teacher education is seen as crucial in helping to develop positive attitudes and beliefs that are thought to promote inclusion, although attempts to reform teacher education in order to address issues of inclusion are complex. The paper reports the findings from a set of surveys that studied student teachers’ attitudes to, and beliefs about, inclusion and exclusion at the beginning and end of a newly reformed one-year professional graduate diploma (PGDE) course at the University of Aberdeen, which places inclusion at the heart of the programme. The findings from the surveys indicate that both primary and secondary student teachers’ attitudes and beliefs towards the principles of inclusive education remain positive throughout the course and are largely undiminished by school experience. This contradicts some findings that are reported elsewhere, where attitudes and beliefs become more negative following experience in schools. Findings from this study also show that attitudes, beliefs and understandings of the principles of inclusion are enhanced by consideration of the ideas underpinning ‘Learning without Limits’ (Hart et al 2004).
- Student teachers
- Attitudes and beliefs
- Inclusive education and practice