Privilege, compromise, or social justice: Teachers' conceptualizations of inclusive education

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This qualitative study explored the beliefs of teachers in the USA about the education of students with disabilities, focusing on their conceptualizations of inclusive education. Data were obtained through in-depth interviews with 30 teachers. The findings highlight multiple interpretations of inclusive education and suggest that teachers' support for inclusive education may be linked with the ways in which they conceptualize this practice. Most teachers' beliefs about the education of students with disabilities were embedded in dominant educational discourses that centered on the otherness of some students, and an unquestioned acceptance of implicit assumptions in special education. Findings support the need for a paradigm shift in teacher education, moving away from deficit models towards an understanding of inclusive education as linked with issues of social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013



  • inclusive education
  • social justice
  • special education
  • teacher education
  • teachers' beliefs

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