Attitudes of 84 Vocational teachers toward mainstreaming handicapped students in vocational training programs

Lorraine H. Walton, Atlanta University

Abstract

For decades, the general attitude of society toward the handi capped has been one of neglect, rejection and denial. The handicapped have been denied the right to (1) education, (2) job training, and (3) employment for many years. However, such negative attitudes on the part of society are now beginning to change. With the passing of time, new legislation, acts of congress and presidential policy statements, society has come to realize that the handicapped population is here to stay and that the handicapped represent a new force to be reckoned with.

The major purpose of the study was to investigate the attitudes of 8k vocational teachers toward mainstreaming handicapped students in vocational training programs. More specifically, the study purports:

1. To determine the general attitudes of a group of voca tional teachers toward mainstreaming.

2. To determine the specific attitudes of a group of voca tional teachers toward handicapped students participating in vocational training programs.

3. To determine if there is a significant difference between attitudes and educational levels of teachers.

4. To determine if there is a significant difference between attitudes and instructional areas of teachers.

The respondents involved in this study were 84 vocational teachers selected by the writer from a staff of approximately 120 teachers. The 1 2 8k respondents were selected because they had all completed the HB—671 class (a general course in the education, identification and classifi cation of handicapped students required for certification in Georgia), conducted by the writer. The approximate years of teaching experience of the respondents range from a low of 3 years to a high of 27 years. The educational levels of the respondents range from the vocational permit level with no college training to the Education Specialist with 6 years of college training.

The descriptive survey method of research was used to conduct this study. The data were gathered through the use of a locally prepared research instrument entitled: Vocational Teacher's Attitude Scale. The instrument consisted of 20 statements which required a positive (strongly agree or agree) or negative (strongly disagree or disagree) response. The statistical procedures and techniques of frequency dis tribution, percentiles, Chi-square and grid analysis were utilized for data interpretation and analysis.

Selected Findings

1. The general attitude of these vocational teachers toward mainstreaming was positive.

a. There was a significant difference between general attitudes and educational levels of these teachers. The difference in the case of the vocational permit teachers proved significant.

b. There was a significant difference between general attitudes and instructional areas. The difference in the case of the Business Education, Child Develop ment, Health Occupations, Skill Trades, Home Economics and Personal Service teachers proved significant.

2. The specific attitude of these vocational teachers toward handicapped students participating in vocational training programs was negative.

a. There was a significant difference between specific attitudes and attitudes of these teachers. The difference in the case of the vocational permit, Bachelor degree and Education Specialist proved significant.

b. There was a significant difference between attitudes and educational levels. The difference in the case of the Business Education, Construction/Technical, Health Occupations, Home Economics and Personal Service proved significant.