AN EXPLORATION OF AN EXPERIENCED INSERVICE MUSIC EDUCATOR’S ATTITUDE TOWARD TEACHING SPECIAL LEARNERS - Jessica F. Weimer Public

The legislation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 mandates that special learners have the right to receive an education in the regular classroom. Although many music educators have a positive attitude toward teaching special learners, negative attitudes still exist. “The teacher is the greatest determinant of student learning” (McHatton &McCray, 2007, p.27) and the attitude of the teacher toward inclusion can affect the attitudes of their students (Colwell & Thompson, 2000). Therefore, it is important to examine the attitudes of music educators toward inclusion. The purpose of this study is to describe the attitude of an experienced inservice music educator who teaches special learners in an inclusive setting and to describe what factors contribute to their attitude. A middle school band director with 27 years of teaching experience participated in the study. This single case study included in-person interviews, informal observation of the participant’s teaching, on-site field notes, and gathered materials. It was concluded that the educator had an overall positive attitude toward teaching special learners with contributing factors including (a) their early teaching experiences, and (b) their experiences of parenting a child with autism and ADHD. Future research may include a multiple case study of music educators who teach the same subject-area and grade level.