PREDICTORS OF ATTITUDES TOWARDS INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AMONG STUDENTS OF THE FACULTY OF EDUCATION
Jelena S. Starčević
Simultaneously with the development of inclusive education worldwide, studies aiming to reveal and refine understanding of teachers’ attitudes towards work with children with additional support needs are being conducted. Previous research of teacher-related variables, such as their education and practice, resulted in obtaining only a small number of consistently significant determinants of attitudes towards inclusive education. Unlike most of the previous research, this study is concerned with a different category of plausible determinants – psychological dispositions which may form attitudes towards work with children with additional support needs. The variables from emotional and cognitive realm were selected: emotional self-efficacy, belief in a just world, and cognitive rigidity. The importance of these predictors was examined in a sample of 166 students of the Faculty of Education. During the first phase, students responded to an emotional intelligence scale, belief in a just world scale, and to a non-verbal test of cognitive rigidity. In the second phase they responded to a scale of attitudes towards inclusive education of children with disabilities. The results revealed relatively complex and significant relationships between named predictors and attitudes. The emotional self-efficacy had a positive and non-moderated influence on students’ attitudes (β = 24, p=.004). The relation between belief in a just world and attitudes was moderated by the cognitive rigidity. When cognitive rigidity of the respondents was low, belief in a just world had no influence, but in a case of high cognitive rigidity, this belief became the strongest predictor of attitudes (β = 35, p = .001). The relatively high proportion of attitudes’ variance was explained by examined models of predictors (16.9 ≤ R2 ≤ 17.4). Pedagogical implications of the obtained findings are discussed.
Keywords: inclusive education, emotional self-efficacy, belief in a just world, cognitive rigidity, students of faculty of education.
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