Purpose: Inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms has become the focus of extensive research in education. It has both academic and social benefits for all students, such as providing opportunities for communication and social interaction. The evaluation of teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion appears to be a good method to determine the success of the programme. Although this has been widely researched in many countries, the available evidence is not consistent. This study was undertaken in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, to measure and compare teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusion of children with hearing impairment in schools.
Method: A questionnaire developed by Giles and Tanner (1995) measuring three domains - (1) effective strategies for meeting the needs of all students, (2) the support for educational change in their district, and (3) inclusive education - was modified in keeping with cultural and geographical variations and used as the test tool. A hundred teachers of various Government and non-Government schools in 2 districts of Andhra Pradesh, India, participated in the study.
Results: Higher scores on domain 1 indicate that teachers feel effective strategies to benefit students with disabilities should be implemented in schools. The results also indicate that most teachers are agreeable to the inclusion of students with disabilities in their classrooms. Significant difference in attitudes was observed, based on the teachers’ qualifications, teaching experience, gender, level of teaching and management.
Conclusion: The study concludes that there is a need for intervention to foster more positive attitudes among teachers, if the implementation of inclusive education is to succeed. It also has implications for the framing of laws and policies for children with hearing impairments.