This qualitative study investigates the development of preservice teachers' attitudes toward people with disabilities during a semester-long unit. Ten students enrolled in a special education teaching elective were interviewed before and after they were engaged in a teaching program designed to expose them to direct, structured interactions with a teaching assistant who was physically disabled. The teaching assistant interacted with students in both small and large group tutorial discussions throughout the semester. Also, students kept a reflective journal on their experiences with people with disabilities throughout the teaching program. Data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews and journals, and analysis indicated that: (i) students developed a more positive attitude and became more comfortable in interacting with the teaching assistant during the semester, and (ii) learning experience improved their knowledge about disability issues
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