Teacher candidates’ perspectives on inclusive education: A case study of mentored inclusive research
Sarah M. Hart 1 *
More Detail
1 University of Hartford, College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions, United States
* Corresponding Author


Pre-service teachers desire an innovative and inclusive future for education yet feel underprepared to realistically transform their future classrooms. In this study, teacher candidates were mentored in inclusive research that captured the perspectives of young adults with significant disabilities during their post-school transitions. Following these experiences, those preparing to become teachers in the US reflected on their research participation. Described in this paper are their influences, ideas, and possible implementation strategies, in particular, during the highly unstable times of the pandemic and associated lockdowns. Two key themes of resilience and complexity were considered pivotal to converting research experiences into future inclusive classroom practices. Additional teacher education strategies support future educators with an open and exploratory approach that conveys deep respect for the educational field.



  • Ainsworth, S., & Oldfield, J. (2019). Quantifying teacher resilience: Context matters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 82(1), 117-128. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.03.012
  • Brunetti, G. J. (2006). Resilience under fire: Perspectives on the work of experienced, inner city high school teachers in the United States. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(7), 812-825. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2006.04.027
  • Burke, C., & Byrne, B. (2020). Social research and disability: Developing inclusive research spaces for disabled researchers (Eds.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429426124
  • Byrd, D. R., & Alexander, M. (2020). Investigating special education teachers’ knowledge and skills: Preparing general teacher preparation for professional development. Journal of Pedagogical Research, 4(2), 72-82. https://doi.org/10.33902/JPR.2020059790
  • Cook, B. G., Lloyd, J. W., Mellor, D., Nosek, B. A., & Therrien, W. J. (2018). Promoting open science to increase the trustworthiness of evidence in special education. Exceptional Children, 85(1), 104-118. https://doi.org/10.1177/0014402918793138
  • Every Student Succeeds Act. (2015). S.1177 - Every Student Succeeds Act. Congress.gov. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177
  • Florian, L. & Rouse, M. (2009). The inclusive practice project in Scotland: Teacher education for inclusive education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(4), 594-601. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2009.02.003
  • Garratt, D., Johnson, K., Millear, A., Picken, S., Slattery, J., & Walmsley, J. (2022). Celebrating thirty years of inclusive research. Social Sciences, 11(9), 385. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11090385
  • Gitlin, A., Barlow, L., Burbank, M. D., Kauchak, D., & Stevens, T. (1999). Pre-service teachers’ thinking on research: Implications for inquiry-oriented teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15(7), 753-769.
  • Haeger, H., Banks, J. E., Smith, C., & Armstrong-Land, M. (2020). What we know and what we need to know about undergraduate research. Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, 3(4), 62-69. https://doi.org/10.18833/spur/3/4/4
  • Hart, S. M., Hill, M. F., & Gaffney, J. S. (2021). Timetabling a transition with dignity: Perspectives of young adults with significant support needs. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 46(3), 227-238. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2021.1885973
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2004). About IDEA. IDEA. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
  • Jez, R. J. (2022). "All of the things": Shifting from traditional to transformational teacher preparation. Teacher Education Quarterly, 49(2), 111-116.
  • Karabon, A., & Johnson, K. G. (2020). Conceptualizing Culture. Teacher Education Quarterly, 47(3), 32-54.
  • Kilinc, S. (2022). Mothers of children without disabilities’ conceptions of inclusive education: Unveiling an exclusionary education system privileging normality and ableism. Disability & Society, 37(10), 1678-1702. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2021.1888281
  • Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., Doenyas, C. (2021). Can school teachers’ willingness to teach ASD-inclusion classes be increased via special education training? Uncovering mediating mechanisms. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 113, 103941. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.103941
  • Mansfield, C. F., Beltman, S., Broadley, T., & Weatherby-Fell, N. (2016). Building resilience in teacher education: An evidenced informed framework. Teaching and Teacher Education, 54, 77-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2015.11.016
  • Mason, E. N., & Connor, K. E. (2022). The persistence of deficit language: An investigation of general education preservice teachers' shifting talk about disability. Teacher Education Quarterly, 49(4), 6-27.
  • Mihajlovic, C. (2020). Special educators‟ perceptions of their role in inclusive education: A case study in Finland. Journal of Pedagogical Research, 4(2), 83–97. http://dx.doi.org/10.33902/JPR.2020060179
  • Nilholm, C. (2021). Research about inclusive education in 2020: How can we improve our theories in order to change practice?. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 36(3), 358-370. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2020.1754547
  • Nind, M. (2014). Inclusive research and inclusive education: Why connecting them makes sense for teachers' and learners' democratic development of education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 44, 525-540. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2014.936825
  • Nind, M. (2017). The practical wisdom of inclusive research. Qualitative Research, 17(3), 278–288. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794117708123
  • Shakespeare, T. (2018). Disability: The basics. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315624839
  • Shulman, L. S. (2004). The wisdom of practice: essays on teaching, learning, and learning to teach. Jossey-Bass.
  • Slee, R. (2019) Belonging in an age of exclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(9), 909-922. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1602366
  • Subban, P., Woodcock, S., Sharma, U., & May, F. (2022). Student experiences of inclusive education in secondary schools: A systematic review of the literature. Teaching and Teacher Education, 119, 103853. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2022.103853
  • United Nations. (2006). Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (Treaty Series, 2515, 3). Author.
  • Van Katwijk, L., Jansen, E., & Van Veen, K. (2023). Pre-service teacher research: A way to future-proof teachers? European Journal of Teacher Education, 46(3), 435-455. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2021.1928070


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.