University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Teachers’ attitudes towards students with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) and their inclusion in regular education classrooms have been internationally identified as a key factor in the implementation of inclusive education. In this study, 501 participants representing a cross-section of pre-service teachers from three public colleges of education in Ghana were surveyed about their views regarding disability, level of discomfort interacting with people with disabilities and attitudes towards inclusive education. The results indicate that the pre-service teachers understood disability as an interaction between biological and environmental factors and felt comfortable interacting with people with disabilities. However, their attitudes towards inclusive education were imperceptibly positive, with some being predisposed to cultural and religious beliefs about disability. The results are discussed in relation to the impact of background variables and the range of factors that can improve pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education.
Keywords: pre-service teachers’ attitudes; cultural and religious beliefs; conceptualization of disability; level of discomfort; inclusive education; Ghana