Table of contents(17 chapters)
A conceptual framework for analyzing issues and dilemmas in the preparation of special education teachers
In teacher education programs, the conceptual framework identifies what is important for candidates. Using the three themes of a conceptual framework – knowledge of learners and learning, knowledge of content and pedagogy, and knowledge of research and policy – the authors analyzed teacher preparation program components in general and special education. They conclude that the critical question for teacher educators is: How do teacher educators consistently and successfully implement proven practices to prepare effective teachers? The authors posit recommendations for needed reforms in university-based teacher education and advocate for parity for teacher education with other socially valued enterprises.
Defining and preparing high-quality teachers in special education: What do we know from the research?
Research over the last decade or so has made it clear that quality teachers matter to student achievement. What is less clear is the ways in which they matter and how we can prepare such high-quality teachers. Nowhere is this lack of clarity more evident than in special education, where we have few studies on teacher quality and even fewer studies on the type of preparation opportunities that would lead to high quality. Thus, it is difficult to make evidence-based decisions about how quality special education teachers should be defined and prepared. As a field, we have to turn to research in general education to provide a sense of some of the dimensions of teacher quality and effective teacher education. In this chapter, we provide a summary of the research on characteristics of highly qualified teachers and what we know from the research on teacher education and professional development that might foster these qualities, both in general and in special education. Part of our discussion centers on the concerns surrounding this body of research and the challenges of applying the findings to the field of special education. Although these challenges pose considerable problems, we are optimistic that potential solutions exist and can be reached through an alignment of initial teacher education and induction.
Given the decline in traditional modes of authority, teachers are increasingly reliant upon their professional authority for ensuring orderly and disciplined classrooms. Rather than being vested in teachers generally, by virtue of their specific role, in loco parentis, professional authority is largely acquired through the demonstration of the individual teacher's expertise. Such expertise incorporates subject and pedagogical knowledge, together with skill in relation to classroom interpersonal dynamics. A key difficulty in relation to interpersonal management is that much of the knowledge involved is tacit and thus not easily made explicit. The chapter examines this issue and identifies some key teacher interpersonal behaviors that can be identified and practised by the novice.
The impact of no child left behind on special education teacher supply and the preparation of the workforce
For decades, special education has been plagued by shortages of fully qualified teachers. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was designed to address the problem of teacher shortage by easing entry and promoting alternative routes (ARs). However, the law was not specific to special education, and the logic on which it is based fits the special education context poorly. Nonetheless, ARs have proliferated in special education. In this chapter, we consider the impact of NCLB generally and AR preparation specifically on special education teacher (SET) shortages. We describe the population of SETs, review research on special education ARs, and consider the problem of diversifying the workforce. We also review research on teacher attrition and policies designed to reduce it.
Constructing knowledge about inclusive classrooms through DVD-based learning: Bridging theory and practice
One of the challenges in educating teachers about inclusion, be it pre-service or in-service, is influencing the student's preconceptions and perspectives so that their newly acquired knowledge will guide their actions in the classroom. A DVD entitled Teachers for All, consisting of 40–50 video sequences recorded in Uganda and Kenya, each followed by discussion questions, has been produced to help meet this challenge. Lecturers at the Department of Special Needs Education at The University of Oslo, in collaboration with our partners in Uganda and Kenya, have been involved in the development of the content of the video recordings. The material has been tested at teacher education institutions in Uganda, Kenya and Norway. The topic of the material is the inclusive classroom, focusing on learners with special needs and on the teaching of reading. Video recordings of a total of 59 students’ reflections and discussions and also information from their reflective notes, were transcribed and analysed. The project results show that the DVD material is promising; it is user-friendly providing students with new outlooks about teaching and learning. Results of the study indicate that video sequences have the potential to be used in training students to observe significant details for implementing inclusive education.
This chapter reviews findings from the literature on the use of cohort programs in personnel preparation programs. Twenty-four investigations examining cohorts in higher education were identified: fourteen studies examined elementary, middle, or secondary education programs; seven studies described special education programs; and three described educational leadership cohort programs. Findings support the use of cohorts across special education, general education, and educational leadership personnel preparation programs. Reported positive benefits included social-emotional support, improved collaboration, communication, academic support, and reduced attrition. However, several studies also revealed unintended negative consequences. Such unintended consequences included negative interpersonal conflicts, development of cliques, and conflicts between students and faculty. Findings are discussed for future research and practice.
Disparities in teacher quality among early career special educators in high- and low-poverty districts
We used teacher data from the Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education (SPeNSE) to compare the credentials, preservice preparation, self-efficacy, and induction of early career special educators in high- and low-poverty schools using a framework adapted from Carlson, Lee, and Schroll (2004). We found significant differences in the credentials and preparation of teachers working in high poverty versus more affluent districts, with those in high-poverty schools having fewer credentials and less preparation. In contrast, the two teacher groups reported similar induction opportunities and gave themselves comparable ratings on both self-efficacy and in skillfulness in various work tasks. Our findings dramatize the critical need to recruit and prepare qualified teachers for high-poverty schools.
Sense of community in online courses and students with disabilities: Development of a questionnaire for university students
The sense of community in online courses may contribute to the success and the satisfaction of all the students and the integration of the students with disabilities. Therefore, a valid scale to assess sense of community must be used. For this purpose, a questionnaire for the evaluation of all the dimensions of the MacMillan and Chavis (1986) sense of community model, the main theoretical reference in the field, is being developed for use with students of university online courses. The usefulness of such a questionnaire for the planning of interventions to promote the feeling of being a member of a group in online courses is discussed.
The purpose of the present study was to predict reading comprehension, reading interest, and reading efficacy from teaching styles. Participants were 109 students with learning disabilities from seven elementary schools in Germany. By use of observational protocols and multilevel random coefficient modeling to account for the multilevel structure of the data, results indicated that: (a) reading comprehension was positively predicted from students’ attitudes and a structured classroom discourse, and negatively by a flexible teaching style, (b) reading interest was positively predicted by a structured and positive climate, and negatively by a discourse that was too guided, and (c) reading efficacy was predicted positively from students’ attitudes and teachers’ fostering, and negatively from teachers’ flexibility, guidance, and structure. Implications of the findings are discussed in the context of creating adaptive classroom climates for learners who have difficulties in learning.
The expertise in the fields of science and special education are being blended in today's classrooms as a result of all students being expected to meet state standards. Having high standards can be positive, yet for many science and special educators finding ways to blend the expertise of these two fields has not been clearly defined. This chapter provides an overview of the status of both fields, as well as providing specific ideas related to the changes that need to occur for a more blended approach to instruction. The chapter concludes with an example of a co-taught lesson using the 5E Learning Cycle as well as future directions for these two fields to work together to meet the needs of all students.
This chapter reviews research on math disabilities (MD) from two different points of view: Italian and American. Our goal is to gain consensus on identifying the cognitive deficits that underlie problems associated with MD as well as to provide an overview of some of the instructional approaches to remediate these deficits. The review outlines similarities and differences in the research perspectives between the two countries. Although the results show some consensus on the identification of MD and the cognitive mechanisms associated with this deficit (e.g., working memory), some differences remain between the two research perspectives (e.g., incidence of MD).
Training teachers, parents, and peers to implement effective teaching strategies for content area learning
Teaching materials were developed for increasing learning in important history content, and teachers, parents, and peers were trained in strategies for implementing these materials in inclusive classrooms, using a variety of procedures. After a 9-week period of guided and supervised instruction, results from posttests indicated that higher student achievement resulted from the implementation of experimental materials by trained teachers, parents, and peers. A significant condition by group interaction revealed that, although both student groups benefited, the peer-tutoring procedure differentially facilitated learning by students with mild disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Implications for teaching, and for teacher and parent training are provided.