Fostering Inclusive Dispositions: Integrating Disability Studies in Teacher Education




disability studies, dispositions, general education, inclusion, teacher education


In the era of inclusive education, every educator can expect to have students with disabilities in their classroom. Unfortunately, preservice teachers who are not specifically pursuing special education licensure are often only expected to take one course focused on teaching students with disabilities. Given the increased emphasis on less restrictive educational placements of students with disabilities, it is vital for teacher education to promote asset-based, inclusive approaches. In this article, we share the rationale for embedding critical perspectives from the field of disability studies into teacher education courses. We further detail five course design priorities that support teacher candidates’ development of inclusive dispositions: (1) centering models of disability; (2) integrating disability history; (3) addressing language and terminology; (4) prioritizing first-person narratives; and (5) illustrating disability-inclusive curriculum. Inspired by our own experiences with developing and teaching introductory courses, the article follows one teacher educator’s fictional journey of redesigning a “Special Education 101” class with these priorities in mind. This article spotlights small but powerful shifts teacher educators can make to prepare future inclusive educators who think, talk, and teach about disability through a critical lens.


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How to Cite

Lukins, J., Bhana Lopez, N., Sallese, M. R., & Andresen, J. (2023). Fostering Inclusive Dispositions: Integrating Disability Studies in Teacher Education. Journal of Special Education Preparation, 3(3), 4–15.



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