Understanding teacher inclusive education practices: the role of social cognition and personality

Claire Wilson, Lisa Woolfson, Kevin Durkin, Mark Elliott

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Classroom teaching practices determine the success or failure of inclusive education. Teachers are therefore at the forefront of inclusion; their beliefs towards the policy influence their obligation to apply it. Whilst research suggests teacher attitudes may serve as a barrier to successful inclusion, little work has examined the impact of teacher beliefs and personality on their use of inclusive strategies. Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and the Five Factor model of personality (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, and neuroticism), the study examined the effect of teacher personality and social cognitions on their implementation of inclusive strategies when working with learners with intellectual disabilities. Primary school teachers (n=150) completed questionnaires assessing TPB cognitions (attitudes, social norms, perceptions of control and behavioural intentions) towards using four important inclusive strategies. Participants also completed The Big Five Personality Index at Time 1. Self-report inclusive behaviours were recorded one month later. Regression analysis tested the predictive utility of the TPB components on inclusive behaviours. The influence of personality on these components was also examined. Teacher beliefs important in the prediction of inclusive teaching strategies are identified. Further, the findings identify personality traits which influence teachers’ views towards inclusion, the likelihood that they will follow social norms or believe they have the ability to use inclusive strategies. The importance of this to the education of children with intellectual disabilities will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventPsyPAG Annual Conference - Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jul 201425 Jul 2014


ConferencePsyPAG Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • inclusive education
  • teacher attitudes
  • theory of planned behaviour
  • five factor model


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