This study aims to investigate the differences of attributional responses to students with and without learning disabilities (LD) between pre- and in-service teachers in mainland China. A total of 204 teachers (101 pre-service and 103 in-service teachers) were surveyed using vignettes and Likert scale questions to ascertain their responses to students with and without LD. Drawing from Weiner’s attributional theory, teachers’ feedback, frustration, sympathy and expectation were measured. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was executed to compare pre-service and in-service teacher responses regarding students with and without LD. The findings showed that pre-service teachers experienced significantly lower frustration than in-service teachers to students with and without LD. Moreover, the teachers gave more positive feedback but felt less sympathy to students with LD who exerted high effort. These findings implied that pre-service tended to foster a more positive attribution style. Implications and recommendations for research and practice are also presented.
- learning disability
- teacher education