International Education Research

International Education Research

ISSN: 2291-5273 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-5281 (Online)

Volume 2 (2014), No. 1, Pages 33-43

DOI: 10.12735/ier.v2i1p33

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Improving Pre-Service Teachers' Attitudes towards Individuals with Mental Illness through an Introduction to Special Education Course

John W. Maag1  Mickey Losinski2  Antonis Katsiyannis3 

1College of Education and Human Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
2College of Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
3College of Health, Education, and Human Development

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Mental illness in children and adults continues to be a controversial and misunderstood topic. Previous research has examined different populations' attitudes toward mental illness, and efforts to change community attitudes toward individuals with mental illness have included contact with the mentally ill and education programs. However, little research has examined teachers’ attitudes toward the mentally ill, nor programs for positively impacting those beliefs. The purpose of the present study was to first assess preservice teachers’ beliefs toward individuals with mental illness and to determine if the completion of an undergraduate Introduction to Special Education course could positively impact their attitudes toward individuals with mental illness. Participants included students attending three different institutions of higher education who were divided into three groups: general education majors, special education majors, and education minors. Results indicated that significant differences were obtained for all institutions and groups among their pre-test and post-test scores on the Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill scale (CAMI). Implications for practice and future research are presented.

Keywords: mental illness, CAMI, special education, preservice teachers

To Cite this Article: Maag, J. W., Losinski, M., & Katsiyannis, A. (2014). Improving pre-service teachers' attitudes towards individuals with mental illness through an introduction to special education course. International Education Research, 2(1), 33-43.

Copyright © John W. Maag et al.

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This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Improving Pre-Service Teachers' Attitudes towards Individuals with Mental Illness through an Introduction to Special Education Course