Jun 3, 2018
Exceptionality Education International
In recent years, educational assistants (EAs) have taken on an integral role in special education. They often work with the most challenging and vulnerable student population (i.e., students with exceptionalities). To prepare EAs, some of Ontario’s publicly funded colleges have developed pre-service training programs. In Ontario, the number of students receiving special education services from kindergarten to Grade 12 is increasing, and policy trends are advocating for inclusion. Literature has suggested that educators’ attitudes toward educational inclusion may impact the extent to which inclusive strategies are implemented. Despite the importance that EAs bring to the special education team, very few studies have investigated their attitudes toward inclusion. This qualitative study investigated four pre-service EAs’ attitudes toward educational inclusion through the use of semi-structured interviews. Participants held mostly positive attitudes toward inclusion, but expressed concerns about implementation. Recommendations are made for policy, practice, and research based on three themes that emerged from the data.