Attitudes of junior high school teachers towards the integration of educable mentally retarded students into the regular classroom curriculum
The study was designed to determine regular classroom teachers' attitudes toward the integration of educable mentally retarded students into the regular classroom curriculum.The sample for the study consisted of 110 regular classroom teachers at the junior high school level in the Richmond Community School System, Richmond, Indiana and the Fayette County School System, Connersville, Indiana. One hundred and forty-five opinionnaires were presented to the junior high school teachers by the building principals and 110 were returned, which yielded a total return of 75.86 percent.The returned opinionnaire statements were data analyzed individually by the Ball State Computer Center. The individual item alaysis did not yield discriminating results. Thirteen of the original eighteen statements were found to be measuring one general attitude which the investigator determined to be acceptance of educable mentally retarded studentsin general terms. These thirteen items yielded a reliability coefficient of .8967.Five of the opinionnaire statements were rejected because they were weaker than the total scale and most likely were measuring something unique and different from the major scale. These five statements were not used in the second analysis.A combined view of the thirteen statement responses demonstrated that 11.3 percent of all teacher responses were in strong agreement with the statements, which indicates that only 11.3 percent of all responses show positive acceptive attitudes toward educable mentally retarded students. On the other hand, 24.6 percent of the statement responses were in strong disagreement, which expressed a generally negative attitude toward accepting educable mentally retarded students into the regular classroom. There was a nearly even number of statements in which teachers were in mild agreement (31.6 percent) and mild disagreement (32.5 percent).A t test analysis was done to determine if there was attitudinal differences between a group of regular classroom teachers who had working experience with educable mentally retarded students and a group of regular classroom teachers who did not have experience working with educable mentally retarded students. There was evidence from the study which indicated that regular classroom teachers who had working experience with educable mentally retarded students were more accepting of the retarded student’s integration into the classroom.The null hypothesis stating that there would be no significant difference between the attitudes of teachers who had previously worked with educable mentally retarded students and teachers who had not worked with educable mentally retarded students could not be accepted.