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Comparing Pre-Service Teachers’ Attitudes toward Inclusive Education in Thailand and Japan

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Abstract: Background: Several studies have shown that classroom teachers can stronglyinfluence the implementation and potential success of inclusive education (IE).Therefore, assessing teachers pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward IE with anobjective scale is a key issue for many academic publications. This studycompared differences in pre-service teachers’ attitudes toward IE betweenThailand and Japan and discussed these differences mainly from the perspectiveof differences in their educational systems for children with disabilities. Method: This study’s survey utilized a modified version of the Attitude TowardInclusion Instrument. The study participants were 109 and 221 pre-serviceteachers who were enrolled in teacher preparation programs in Thailand andJapan, respectively. Result: The basic concepts and ideologies of IEwere similarly and widely accepted in both countries. However, Thai pre-serviceteachers were more likely to strongly perceive that education in specialschools would have a negative impact for students with disabilities and that IEwould have a positive impact. On the other hand, Japanese pre- serviceteachers had a more negative perception of the feasibility of IE compared toThai teachers. Discussion: We attributed this result to the differencein the popularity and credibility of special education in the two countries. Japanese pre-service teachers held a more positiveattitude toward special education compared to their Thai counterparts.However, this attitude may have caused Japanese pre-service teachers to becomemore concerned about IE, which could be a barrier to expanding IE in Japan.

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