Access to high-quality, meaningful professional development (PD) for in-service teachers around inclusive practices is an important element that has the potential to influence change in classroom practice and student outcomes. This is particularly important for children with identified disabilities. Previous research has identified that a teacher’s self-efficacy impacts the adoption of PD and subsequent implementation of new educational strategies. In addition, teacher beliefs about their own teaching ability (i.e., self-efficacy) has been shown to be related to motivation and the willingness to seek out PD experiences. The current study investigates the relationship of PD and teaching self-efficacy for inclusive practices. A random sample of 250 Kansas early childhood educators were selected to participate in the study. Participants received an electronic survey containing questions related to PD and teaching self-efficacy to complete. Of the original 250 participants, 62 people completed the survey with a final sample of 27. Frequency counts of PD participation were identified, and subsequent correlation and regression analyses were conducted. Results indicated that there were no relationships between teaching self-efficacy for preschool-related practices, or individual subscales, and the extent to which PD activities allowed them to apply skills within their classroom. When teaching self-efficacy was examined for infant-toddler practices, a significant relationship was noted. Given the insufficient availability of advanced PD for teachers currently working in the field, it is necessary to determine what gaps exist and how they relate to teaching self-efficacy. Only then, can the determination be made for how to address need for further education and training for professionals working in the field.
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"Teaching Beliefs and Their Relationship to Professional Development in Special Education Teachers,"