Jacqueline Specht, Susanne Miesera, Donna McGhie-Richmond, Fizza Haider


Preservice teacher education programs are vital in teachers’ development of instructional practices for inclusive classrooms. In previous research, preservice teachers in Canada had higher scores on measures of experience with people with disabilities when compared to those in Germany. The current study investigated the proposition that differences existed because of experiences of inclusion in the respective countries. Participants were 18 Canadian preservice teachers from faculties of education in Ontario, Canada and 29 German preservice teachers from a Bavarian university. A Group Concept Mapping (GCM) technique was employed. Both groups identified Practicum Experiences, Education Program, Past Jobs, and Personal Life Experiences as contributing to the development of their inclusive practice. Only the Canadian sample identified Mentoring Relationships and Professional Development. Differences and similarities in teacher education programs are highlighted as possible contributors to the differences in Canadian and German preservice teachers’ perceptions of experiences useful for shaping their instructional practice.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


preservice teachers, inclusive education, inclusive instruction, international comparison

Full Text:



Ainscow, M. (2020). Inclusion and equity in education: Making sense of global challenges. PROSPECTS, 49(3-4), 123–134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09506-w

Bayerische Staatskanzlei (2017). Bayerisches Gesetz über das Erziehungs- und Unterrichtswesen: BayEUG. Bayerische Staatskanzlei.

Brown, J. D., Skrodzki, D., Gerritts, J., Ivanova, V., & Mehta, N. (2015). Physical needs of Aboriginal foster parents. Child & Family Social Work, 20(3), 364–374. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12085

Florian, L. (2019). On the necessary co-existence of special and inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(7-8), 691–704. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1622801

Florian, L., & Black-Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring inclusive pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), 813–828. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2010.501096

Government of Ontario. (2021). Ministry of education: Delivering early years, child care and publicly funded education from kindergarten to Grade 12. https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-education

Graham, L. (2020). Inclusive education in the 21st century. In L. Graham (Ed.), Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, policy and practice (pp. 3–26). Routledge.

Guichard, A., Tardieu, É., Dagenais, C., Nour, K., Lafontaine, G., & Ridde, V. (2017). Use of concurrent mixed methods combining concept mapping and focus groups to adapt a health equity tool in Canada. Evaluation and Program Planning, 61, 169–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.01.003

Harvey, M. W., Yssel, N., Bauserman, A. D., & Merbler, J. B. (2008). Preservice teacher preparation for inclusion. Remedial and Special Education, 31(1), 24–33. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741932508324397

Hutchinson, N. L., & Specht, J. A. (2020). Inclusion of learners with exceptionalities in Canadian schools: A practical handbook for teachers (6th ed.). Pearson Education Canada.

Jordan, A. (2018). The supporting effective teaching project: 1. Factors influencing student success in inclusive elementary classrooms. Exceptionality Education International, 28(3), 10–27.

Kane, M., & Rosas, S. (2018). Conversations about group concept mapping: Applications, examples, and enhancements. SAGE.

Kane, M., & Trochim, W. M. (Eds.). (2007). Concept mapping for planning and evaluation. SAGE Publications.

Katz, S., & Dack, L. A. (2013). International interruption: Breaking down learning barriers to transform professional practice. Corwin.

Kimmelmann, N., Miesera, S., Moser, D., & Pool Maag, S. (2022). Inclusion for all in VET? A comparative overview of policies and state of research about migration, integration and inclusion in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In L. Moreno Herrera, M. Teräs, P. Gougoulakis, & J. Kontio (Eds.), Migration and Inclusion in Work Life – The Role of VET: Emerging Issues in research on vocational Eduction & training Vol. 7 (pp. 117–165). premiss.

Krämer, S., Möller, J., & Zimmermann, F. (2021). Inclusive education of students with general learning difficulties: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 91(3), 432–478. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654321998072

Malinen, O.‑P., Savolainen, H., Engelbrecht, P., Xu, J., Nel, M., Nel, N., & Tlale, D. (2013). Exploring teacher self-efficacy for inclusive practices in three diverse countries. Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 34–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.02.004

Miesera, S., & Gebhardt, M. (2018). Inclusive vocational schools in Canada and Germany. A comparison of vocational pre-service teachers′ attitudes, self-efficacy, and experiences towards inclusive education. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 8(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2017.1421599

Miesera, S., Sokal, L., & Kimmelmann, N. (2021). A cross-national study of the effects of education on pre-service teachers’ attitudes, intentions, concerns, and self-efficacy regarding inclusive education. Exceptionality Education International, 31(1), 77-96. https://doi.org/10.5206/eei.v31i1.13454

Nowicki, E. A., Brown, J., & Stepien, M. (2014). Children’s structured conceptualizations of their beliefs on the causes of learning difficulties. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 8(1), 69–82. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689813490834

Porter, G. L., & Towell, D. (2017). Advancing inclusive education: Keys to transformational change in public education systems. https://inclusiveeducation.ca/2017/04/21/advancing-inclusive-education/

Sharma, U. (2018). Preparing to teach in inclusive classrooms. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.113

Sharma, U., & Sokal, L. (2015). The impact of a teacher education course on pre-service teachers' beliefs about inclusion: An international comparison. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 15(4), 276–284. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12043

Slee, R. (2010). Political economy, inclusive education, and teacher education. In C. Forlin (Ed.), Teacher education for inclusion: Changing paradigms and innovative approaches (pp. 13–22). Routledge.

Sokal, L., Woloshyn, D., & Funk-Unrau, S. (2013). How important is practicum to pre-service teacher development for inclusive teaching? Effects on efficacy in classroom management. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 59(2), 285–298.

Tannehill, D., & MacPhail, A. (2014). What examining teaching metaphors tells us about pre-service teachers' developing beliefs about teaching and learning. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19(2), 149–163. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2012.732056

UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000098427

UNESCO. (2017). A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in Education. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000248254

United Nations. (2016). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: General comment No. 4 (2016).

Walton, E., & Rusznyak, L. (2013). Affordances and limitations of a special school practicum as a means to prepare pre-service teachers for inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(9), 957–974. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2013.872203

Weber, K. E., & Greiner, F. (2019). Development of pre‐service teachers' self‐efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards inclusive education through first teaching experiences. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 19, 73–84. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12479

Whitley, J., & Hollweck, T. (2020). Inclusion and equity in education: Current policy reform in Nova Scotia, Canada. Prospects, 49(3), 297–312. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09503-z

Winseman, J. S., Higgins, E. A., Balkoski, V. I., & Rosas, S. R. (2015). What affects well-being during medical education? A student and faculty concept map. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education, 21(1), 19–29. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03355305

Young, G., Specht, J. A., Hunter, F., Terreberry, S., McGhie-Richmond, D., & Hutchinson, N. L. (2018). The first day he kicked shoes at me, the last day he brought me a picture of himself: Investigating the practicum experiences of preservice teachers. Exceptionality Education International, 28(3), 83–101.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejse.v8i4.4436

Copyright © 2015 - 2022. European Journal of Special Education Research (ISSN 2501 - 2428) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).