This study investigating the metaphorical perceptions of preservice teachers towards inclusive students was conducted in the Fall semester of 2021-2022 academic year. The purpose of the study was to reveal preservice teachers’ perceptions of inclusive students through metaphors. In the study, phenomenology, one of the qualitative research methods, and purposeful sampling were used. The participants were composed of 184 preservice teachers. Preservice teachers studying preschool education and social studies education at Kırşehir Ahi Evran University Faculty of Education were included in the sample. Moreover, the data were analyzed and interpreted using inductive content analysis technique. As a result of the study, the participants produced a total of 184 metaphors. Considering the similar meanings attached to the metaphors of inclusive students by participants, the metaphors were categorized and six themes emerged, which were “individual requiring to attain education appropriate to his/her needs”, “individual requiring attention”, “different and complementary individual”, “special individual”, “instructive individual”, and “undiscovered individual”. When the themes were examined, it was found that the metaphor with the highest frequency was “flower” in the themes of “individual requiring to attain education appropriate to his/her needs” and “individual requiring attention” while the metaphor with the highest frequency was “rainbow” in the theme of “different and complementary individual”. Moreover, the metaphors with the highest frequencies were “butterfly” and “poppy”, “book”, and “treasure” in the themes of “special individual”, “instructive individual”, and “undiscovered individual”, respectively. It was found that the highest number of metaphors produced by preservice teachers was in the theme of “individual requiring attention” and the metaphor was “flower”. “rainbow”, “baby”, “sapling”, and “book” were the metaphors with the highest frequencies following the “flower”. Some metaphors such as “flower”, “diamond”, and “rainbow” were involved under more than one themes based on the meanings attached to them. It was concluded that preservice teachers perceived inclusive students mainly as individuals requiring attention and their metaphorical perceptions towards inclusive students were positive.
Inclusion, inclusive student, metaphor.