Teacher attitudes towards the integration of hearing impaired students: a comparison of two schools

Year: 1994

Author: Paterson, John F.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Current educational practice has seen the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream educational settings. Many regular classroom teachers have no training or experience with these students. It is, therefore, critical to discover what attitudes are held by regular class teachers, as the success or failure of mainstreaming may depend largely on the attitudes which regular teachers hold towards disabled students.

An attitude scale was used to investigate regular class teachers' opinions towards the integration of hearing impaired students in two New South Wales State high schools. The sample included 56 teachers at one school and 43 teachers at the other school. Five dimensions of teacher attitude were investigated based on an attitudinal survey designed by Larrivee and Cook (1979). The survey has been used in other research and validated for the Australian setting (Hudson & Clunies-Ross, 1984).

The study found that teacher attitudes were generally in favour of integration, with teachers strongly supporting the belief that the regular class is superior academically, socially and emotionally to the separate special class. Teachers felt that many things they did with regular students were appropriate for hearing impaired students. Teachers were of the opinion that the integration of hearing impaired students would foster the acceptance of differences on the part of the regular school population. Teachers did not feel the need for significant restructuring of procedures in the classroom, but teachers did feel that they did not possess sufficient expertise to teach hearing impaired students.