•  
  •  
 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and beliefs of preservice teachers concerning inclusive education for students with severe disabilities. Individual interviews were conducted with 35 preservice teachers to determine their attitudes and beliefs concerning inclusion of students with severe disabilities and to examine the factors that influenced these attitudes and beliefs. Following qualitative data analysis procedures, findings indicated that the preservice teachers were relatively evenly divided on their opinions about where students with severe disabilities should receive educational services. The most significant finding of this study was that the preservice teachers attributed the underlying basis of their beliefs about inclusive education to prior experiences in their schools, families, and communities. These findings suggested that teacher educators should consider the far-reaching impact of the training they provide. The future of inclusion may depend upon preparing thoughtful practitioners whose positive attitudes and beliefs are modeled in their classrooms and in their communities. These teachers will have the power to influence the attitudes and beliefs of the members of the "villages" in which they teach.