Northern Ireland Student Teachers’ Changing Attitudes Towards Inclusive Education During Initial Teacher Training

Jacqueline Lambe

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24 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


With the passing of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Act into law alongside the move away from academic selection for post-primary pupils by 2008 and a far reaching review of the curriculum, education in Northern Ireland is about to face its most radical change in fifty years. Issues relating to Inclusive Education are now pressing and in addressing such change, it is recognized that pre-service programmes must be reviewed to ensure that student teachers are equipped to teach effectively in classrooms that may be very different from their own learning experience. This study seeks to discover the factors influencing student teachers changing attitudes towards inclusion during a one year Post-Graduate Diploma in Education. The findings reveal that positive attitudes towards inclusion were tempered by concern about personal competency to teach in an inclusive classroom and by continued attachment to the current system of academic selection with which they were familiar. The effect of a successful teaching practice in the non-selective sector had the most positive influence on perceived competency and on general attitudes towards inclusion. This research concludes that those responsible for pre-service education in Northern Ireland should ensure that school based experience is also underpinned with an effective programme of academic study about inclusion-based practices
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
JournalInternational Journal of Special Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2007


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