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Teacher training in using effective strategies for preschool children with disabilities in inclusive classrooms
Teacher preparation
Inclusion strategies
Evidence based practices
Issue Date: 
Yang, C., & Enniati Rusli. (2012). Teacher training in using effective strategies for preschool children with disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 9(1), 53-64.
Research has shown that inclusion benefits children with disabilities and typical developing peers. Children with
disabilities enrolled in inclusive settings were found to achieve better developmental outcomes than children with
similar abilities enrolled in traditional special education settings (Hundert, Mahoney, Mundy, & Vernon, 1998),
higher scores in language development, social, and academic skills (Downing & Peckham-Harding, 2007; Rafferty,
Piscitelli, Boettcher, 2003), improved behavioral outcomes (Lee & Odom, 1996), development of friendships and
social networks (Fryxell & Kennedy, 1995; Hall & McGregor, 2000), and happiness behaviors (Ryndak, Morrison,
& Sommerstein, 1999). Studies also suggested that inclusion benefits typically developing children (Bentley, 2007;
Cross, Traub, Hutter-Pishgahi, and Shelton, 2004; Guralnick, 1990; Mclean & Hanline, 1990; Peck, Staub,
Gallucci, & Schwartz, 2004). The most commonly mentioned advantages include character development of typically
developing children into more accepting, tolerant, and sympathetic individuals. While assisting their peers with
disabilities, they also pick up additional skills such as sign language or assistive technology (Downing & Peckham-
Harding, 2007). Moreover, Bentley (2007) observed through interviews with typical peers, that they find a teacher
and role model in their friend with disabilities. As our field continues to make significant progresses in legislation
(e.g., Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004, 2007) as well as evidence-based practices to
serve diverse learners, inclusion for children with disabilities remains a challenge in the classroom practices. Many
classroom teachers felt inadequate in teaching children with disabilities (Leyser & Kirk, 2004). However, once
teachers experienced successful inclusion with children with disabilities, they became stronger advocate themselves
in supporting the merit and practices of inclusion (Cross et al., 2004). The key to making inclusion successful is the
availability of effective inclusion strategies and teacher training. More successful inclusion stories and experiences
will then attract more teachers to include children with moderate to severe disabilities in their classrooms. There is
a need to bridge the gap between research and practice by investigating the extent to which practitioners view
strategies supported by research as useful and relevant in their classroom practice. In this survey study, 26 early
childhood/early childhood special education practitioners shared their views on a list of peer-mediated strategies in
serving children with disabilities in the general education classrooms. By investigating educators’ views on these
naturalistic peer-mediated strategies derived from several research projects (Schepis, Reid, Ownbey, & Clary,
2003; Thompson et al., 1993; Yang, 2000), this study was designed to obtain practitioners’ input on the practicality
and observed usage of strategies in the classroom practices. Research-based strategies supported by educators’
feedback will also be shared in this paper.
1544-0389 (print)
2157-894X (online)
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