Teacher Education and Special Education The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children

Published by SAGE Publications
Print ISSN: 0888-4064
Sets forth the thesis that the competencies developed in special education teacher training programs should be evaluated in terms of the performance of the students served by the trainees. An overview of the evaluation of the field-based program at George Peabody College for Teachers (Nashville, Tennessee) is given. (SBH)
This article was bestowed the 2002 Annual Publication Award, Volume 25. Council for Exceptional Children’s Teacher Education Division. In this article, we elucidate the complexities involved in serving economically disadvantaged culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities in inclusive settings. Moreover, we illustrate how cultural-historical activity theory can be used to study inclusion more substantively and to identify modes of discourse that might lead to more efficacious outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse learners and their teachers. Throughout this discussion, we focus on ethics, power, privilege and how these concepts must be considered broadly and continually in order to promulgate more equitable and effective inclusive education practices. In addition, we provide implications for future practice, teacher education, and research,
Available from: Teacher Education and Special Education, The Council for Exceptional Children, 1920 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 22091. Described is the role of teacher centers--programs designed to improve classroom instruction--in delivering services required by P.L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. (CL)
Fifty state departments of education and the District of Columbia were surveyed in an effort to ascertain the impact of Public Law 94-142 on certifying and recertifying regular classroom teachers. Of the 48 states responding, 33 states and the District of Columbia (71 percent) reported that regular classroom teachers are not required to complete courses in special education to meet initial certification requirements. Additionally, 44 states (92 percent) do not require special education coursework for recertification of regular classroom teachers. Of the ten states requiring either courses or experiences with special education populations for certification, only two indicated that these requirements resulted from Public Law 94-142. (Authors)
The Georgia P-16 Initiative provided an opportunity for Georgia Southern University to revisit the College of Education's conceptual framework. This initiative, coupled with the statewide move from a quarter to semester course delivery format, allowed development and implementation of programmatic changes focused on (a) raising standards in the preparation of teachers, (b) modeling instruction in the area of effective teaching strategies for all grades and in all education settings, and (c) placing qualified and competent teachers in P-12 classrooms. In response to this opportunity, the Special Education Program redesigned its undergraduate curriculum to more closely reflect the core competencies identified by The Council for Exceptional Children, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and the National Collegiate Accreditation of Teacher Education. To measure the effectiveness of programmatic changes and follow the development of its students, the program developed and implemented portfolio assessment procedures. These procedures were designed to require periodic checking of the students' growth throughout the two years of upper division special education course work. Implementation of the portfolio process, though in its infancy, appears to have positive implications for the growth of students.
The purpose of this study was to compare and corttrast from 1970 to 1990 the typical course of study for students preparing to be teachers of pupils with mental retardation. Twenty institutions of higher education were selected for examination. An analysis of program and course descraptions from the catalogs of these institutions indicated, among other findings, the following changes from 1970 to 1990: (a) little change in the high percentage of programs offering a separate course on the characteristics of mental retardation; (b) an increase in the percentage of programs offering cross-categorical courses, options to study multiple areas of disability, and coursework on severe disabilities; and (c) a decrease in the percentage of programs that require joint preparation in special and general education. A brief review of past issues in special education teacher preparation and trends for the future are presented.
School personnel are faced with added demands as a result of the many problems facing sociey, including teen sexuality, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, and homelessness. The literature on these topics is reviewed as it relates to students with special needs, and the results of a survey to determine if special education teacher preparation programs offer or require coursework about these four social problems are reported. Although there was wide variability in the coverage that special education teacher preparation programs were providing on these social issues, questions are raised about the thoroughness of the preparation. The implications for special education teacher preparation programs are discussed.
This article describes mentor/mentee relationships arranged through the Alliance 2000 Project. Faculty members of minority institutions of higher education worked with mentors (successful proposal writers, grant holders, and content experts) from other academic institutions during proposal development for submission to the Office of Special Education Program's personnel preparation competitions. Individuals involved in four mentorships were interviewed regarding their views and perceptions of the mentorship process.
This country is evidencing a shortage of special educators from diverse backgrounds. The current, scant supply of certified teachers in special education, coupled with the lack of teachers from diverse backgrounds in this country, along with the growing numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse children, has created a national awareness about special education teacher training issues. This article provides a brief summary of the need for diversity in the teaching force and Congress's efforts to address this issue. The Alliance 2000 Project* was a federal project created to provide technical assistance to the nation's minority colleges and universities to increase their access to personnel preparation funds available through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. Outcomes of the Project are provided.
The purpose of this commentary is to respond to the article written by Voltz and Collins (2010) that considered the preparation of special education administrators for inclusion in diverse, standards-based contexts by highlighting the Administrator of Special Education Standards that were adopted in 2009 by the Council for Exceptional Children. The authors of the present article agree that the 2003 Administrator of Special Education Standards used in Voltz and Collins’s article were not responsive to the contemporary demands of educating students with exceptionalities and serving families from diverse backgrounds. The authors also agree with Voltz and Collins that administrators of special education need to be prepared to lead in settings that serve children with disabilities from diverse backgrounds. In their response, the authors highlight the features of the 2009 standards that they believe address the concerns with the 2003 standards that Voltz and Collins raised in their article.
Because special educators are being called upon to work with increasing numbers of children from families that do not have both biological parents in the same household, it is important to determine if they have had the professional training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to effectively interact with these children and their families. This study examined the preparation of special educators to work with the family of the 21st century, a family that is increasingly more likely to be a single-parent or stepfamily. Data relating to special educators' opinions of their undergraduate preparation, participation in inservice training, and judgment of the importance of preservice training to work with single-parent and stepfamilies were collected. Results are presented and discussed. Areas for further investigation are suggested.
This article introduces a special issue of this journal, featuring six articles on the preparation of higher education special education faculty. Faculty shortages are documented, as is the need for the recruitment and training of faculty representing minority groups. The need for faculty to be both scholars and researchers is also discussed. (PB)
The current demand for personnel to provide early intervention services under PL 99-457 far exceeds the supply. Furthermore, most colleges and universities are not prepared to develop the necessary curriculum to begin the training of infant specialists. In an attempt to ameloriate this situation, the University of Connecticut has offered a unique preservice graduate training opportunity for infant specialists. The program structure, content, and outcomes from the past 2 years are presented as a model for other institutions of higher education.
The authors provide results of a study analyzing special educator's beliefs regarding special and general educators' skills in implementing legal mandates described in Public Law 105-17, the individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA '97). The authors compare how preservice and practicing special educators approach legal mandates, and what special educators perceive to be the influence of their preservice preparation andlor continuing professional development opportunities on satisfying legal requirements. The groups shared similar, negative perceptions regarding their general education counterparts' skills to adapt general education curricula and to accommodate student needs for statewide assessments. The groups differed in their responses to a number of items regarding student suspensions and the appropriateness of general education preparation programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities. There appears to be a continued division between general and special educators. Preservice and inservice programs should be designed to integrate general and special educators in order to unify the service delivery systems.
A statewide survey was conducted among school personnel in Wisconsin to assess the degree to which school personnel were aware of their legal responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. A total of 1,637 school personnel in 112 schools participated in the study. Data generated from the survey indicate that 49% of the survey sample have suspected a case of child abuse, while 55% have suspected a case of child neglect. However, only 31% of the suspected abuse cases and 30% of the suspected neglect cases were ever reported. Personal biases and myths were rationales offered for not reporting in 68% of the comments. Statements indicating a lack of knowledge or awareness were present in 63% of the responses. Although 54% of the respondents indicated their school districts had a reporting policy and set of procedures, 76% indicated that they did not have a copy of the policy or were unsure if they had ever received a copy.
Results of a survey of 84 teachers of the emotionally handicapped on their opinions about and use of academic self-control techniques are reported. No significant relationships between the respondents' professional background, school setting, or use and opinions about academic self-control were found. Self-selection of reinforcement is the most widely used self-control technique and self-evaluation is considered the most important of the academic self-control techniques. Overall, teachers reported very limited use of academic self-control techniques.
Two hundred and twelve undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an introductory course in special education for nonmajors were used to examine the effect of a computer-based hypertext program on academic achievement and problem-solving. Students were assigned to one of three research groups including an experimental group (hypertext-based instructional program), a comparison group (linear drill-practice computer assisted instruction), and a control group. While posttest scores were significantly higher than pretest scores, analysis of covariance procedures found no significant differences on academic achievement or problem-solving ability for participants in the three groups. In contrast, significant differences were found in participants' perceptions toward the hypertext and drill-practice comparison programs. Students were more comfortable and preferred the structure and linear style of the drill-practice method to the more flexible nonlinear style of the hypertext prototype. Implications for practice are discussed.
All educators must be prepared to meet the substantial instructional challenges that await them in 21st Century classrooms. Significant among these challenges will be the ability to improve the academic and behavioral performance of a more diverse and often impoverished student population within the context of an ever-expanding curriculum and an educational milieu that may provide fewer instructional resources and less educational support. To meet such challenges, all educators must work collaboratively to develop, implement, and evaluate effective teaching practices that can be applied feasibly and sustained over extensive time periods. Here, we have made a modest attempt to help one classroom teacher address some aspects of her impending instructional challenge. Using an alternating treatments design, we compared the effects of Response Cards, Numbered Heads Together, and Whole Group Question and Answer on 6th graders daily quiz scores and pretest-posttest performance in chemistry, and examined how each instructional intervention affected teacher questioning and student responding patterns in class. Implications are discussed for teachers, teacher educators, and educational consultants.
This article describes and discusses Project CASELINK, an OSEP-funded three-year project that uses a problem-based learning (PBL) perspective to frame design and development of eight interactive multimedia modules on the Internet to augment new and existing introductory courses in special education anywhere in the nation. The project responds to critical questions about the distinction between craft knowledge that develops from practical experience and academic knowledge acquired through formal study. CASELINK attempts to bridge the gap between these ways of knowing so that all relevant professional knowledge can be identified and applied to improving outcomes for students with disabilities. We describe how and why interactive, multimedia, and distance learning technologies are used by CASELINK in support of the larger purposes of problem-based learning.
A national sample of 473 secondary academic teachers responded to a questionnaire designed to examine perceptions toward mainstream students with special needs. Results showed that while a majority of educators felt successful in teaching special populations, over one-third received no prior instruction or preparation in this area. In an exploratory principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation, three dimensions of teacher perceptions were identified from the 22 original statements in the questionnaire, including perceptions of general educators' roles in mainstreaming, perceived barriers to mainstream placement, and the degree of responsibility felt by general educators for teaching special populations. A multivariate analysis of variance (MAIVOVA) revealed that education; participation in undergraduate and graduate coursework, and inservice training; and academic discipline taught had varying degrees of impact on perceptions toward exceptional student populations.
The Utah Mentor Teacher Academy has existed since 1986, but no data were available to indicate whether or not mentors actually disseminated their skills and knowledge. This study of dissemination by mentors was conducted in three phases. Phase I used statewide mentor, principal, and special education director questionnaires; Phase II used general faculty questionnaires in selected schools; and Phase III involved focus group interviews with selected mentor clients. The data revealed that the majority of mentors disseminated their skills and knowledge through inservice and consultation. Behavior management was the topic most often addressed, followed by other topics pertaining to the needs of students at risk. Characteristics of effective mentors were derived from focus group teacher comments.
Preparing educators to teach in inclusive classrooms is a critical first step in ensuring that all students in P-12 programs receive exemplary educational services. The need to restructure personnel preparation in response to the increasing diversity and inclusiveness of public school classrooms has evolved from discussion and debate more than a decade ago to an array of initiatives in teacher education programs across the country today. In the Department of Teaching and Learning at Northern Illinois University, Project ACCEPT (Achieving Creative & Collaborative Educational Preservice Teams) was developed in response to implementation of standards-based certification requirements for special and general education teachers in Illinois as well as recognition within the college and department that new teachers would benefit from program enhancements focusing on education of all learners. The primary goals of Project ACCEPT were to prepare educators for inclusive schools and to encourage collaboration across different disciplines. This article presents a study that examines the impact of Project ACCEPT on the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and in-service performances of participating special and general educators.
Seven strategies were identified during the last decade as effective in promoting students'reading comprehension during the middle to late elementary school years. It should be possible to use these seven strategies to design instructional packages accomplishing a variety of reading goals. The main argument made here is that teachers' views about the acceptability of the various reading strategies should be a prominent consideration in deciding which ones to emphasize in instructional packages. This article presents a summary of initial work aimed at generating information about teachers' acceptability of particular forms of strategy instruction. A principal conclusion of this preliminary work is that traditional psychometric methods of rating intervention acceptability should be complemented by more qualitative approaches.
The question of why teachers tend not to use behavior modification in classrooms has aroused serious concern for behavioral consultants. This paper explores three reasons for low use. First, there are differences in the underlying assumptions concerning causality such that behavioral explanations may be seen to be in conflict with teachers' understanding of human conduct. Second, attributions in behavior modifications place responsibility for solutions to the problem on the teacher, though teachers are not generally held responsible or accountable for solutions to children's learning or behavior problems. Finally, problems in modifying the working knowledge of teachers are considered. The implications of these issues are discussed in terms of how consultants might increase the impact of behavioral interventions.
The characteristics of students identified as learning disabled are explored in relation to their social adjustment and acceptance. In particular, the specific characteristics of learning disabled students that prevent them from achieving successful peer interaction and acceptance are highlighted in a review of the literature. Two different approaches to remediation are discussed: direct remediation of the social skills and behaviors of the learning disabled students and changing the attitudes of their nondisabled classmates. Curriculum strategies and recommendations for further study are presented.
This commentary discusses three previous articles that address the concept of "communities of practice" as a particular theoretical approach to the professional development of teachers. The need to establish a learning community across levels of expertise rather than within them is emphasized. (CR)
The increasing number of persons from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the population and the need to modify diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for these groups served as the basis for seeking funds to train speech-language pathologists with skills that meet the speech and language needs of these groups. Project Access was designed to recruit, retain, and train students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In addition to the approved undergraduate and graduate speech- language pathology curricula that address diagnostic and treatment strategies for all groups, seminars that explore speech and language disorders of diverse populations were added as requirements. Financial and other support activities are provided as part of this project for all trainees. Financial support is provided in the form of tuition remission, monthly stipends, and book allowances. Other support activities are provided through mentoring and specialized academic support. This paper will describe the recruitment, retention, and training techniques being used to increase the number of speech-language pathologists with special training to meet the speech, language, and hearing needs of persons from diverse groups.
The College of Education and Allied Professions at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC), in collaboration with three public school systems, developed a model summer student teaching experience called (REACH) Regular Educators Accommodating Children with Handicaps. REACH focused on the effective instructional accommodation of mainstreamed students with mild disabilities. Three school systems provided sites and Model Clinical Teachers to serve as cooperating teachers for the project during the university summer school session. Nineteen regular education undergraduates were enrolled in the program, and both regular and special education university faculty were involved in supervision and evaluation. During the initial portion of summer school, student teachers participated in an information dissemination course that provided an overview of special education and the underlying conceptual and philosophical base for mainstreaming exceptional students. REACH participants also spent time observing in Model Clinical Teachers' regular classrooms. The remainder of the summer session (4-6 weeks) was spent in classrooms doing typical student teaching activities. Each class included at least one student with special needs, and the student teachers were responsible for all teaching during the last 2 weeks of the experience. Program evaluation results revealed that the positive attitudes of teachers-in-training were maintained after student teaching.
The article describes activities of the curriculum and instruction team, one of six teams under the Dean's Grant Project at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education, designed to provide undergraduate students in elementary education with exposure to the concept of mainstreaming. (SB)
The purpose of this article is to examine and analyze current instructional practices in relation to the phases of learning so that K-12 teachers can use those practices effectively to accommodate students’ diverse needs in learning. In the analysis, the authors focus on the proper uses of instructional methods to maximize students’ learning outcomes. This analysis is also applied to differentiated instruction, co-teaching, and the universal design for learning (UDL) as a way to meet the needs of diverse learners. Thus, the analysis is intended to be a guide for the use of instructional practices in teacher education with the ultimate goal of providing effective and efficient teaching in K-12 classrooms. The advantages of using this guide include the utilization of a full range of effective practices in the classroom, minimizing unnecessary pedagogical conflicts, and the facilitation of co-teaching and differentiated instruction to maximize every student’s learning opportunities. Suggestions for educational researchers and teacher educators are also discussed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the accommodation practices and preferences of general, special, and resource educators for working with students with AD/HD. Participants included 129 teachers representing 10 schools. Findings indicated that full-time special educators tried and succeeded with more accommodations than general educators, who in turn were more successful and less resistant than part-time teachers (e.g., specials). Secondary more than elementary teachers felt successful with techniques related to student independence. We discuss the educational implications of our findings for professionals who provide inservice tiaining.
When teachers move to the next grade with their students, they are sometimes referred to as teachers who loop with the children. In this descriptive case study, the authors describe the experiences of two teachers who collaborate with others as they move with a class of students from third to fourth grade (i.e., looping). The classroom context, coteaching procedures, and outcomes combine to illustrate how children with disabilities are provided access to the general education curriculum in an urban multicultural school. Results show both academic gains and social benefits for the students involved in this classroom. The concepts of coteaching and looping may inform teacher educators who prepare general and special education teachers to comply with state and federal mandates on behalf of students with disabilities in the general education setting, students who are learning English as a second language, and students who may be at risk for failure. (Contains 5 tables.)
This article examines the interpersonal relationships, community participation, and employment of five individuals with severe educational challenges who had exited from public school programs mandated by PL 94-142. Observations of participants in their residences as well as their day activity centers and interviews with key informants formed the basis of the data collected. The results indicated that their lives were oversimplified by rigidly controlled routines and schedules that fostered passivity and dependency. Several unresolved issues emerged: (a) the parameters of appropriate treatment and quality of life, (b) the contrast between serving the letter versus the spirit of the law, and (c) the role of best practices in guiding the content of services for individuals with severe handicaps. Implications for special and regular teacher educators are discussed.
Despite a history of research in general education on novice teachers, researchers have only recently begun to investigate the experiences of beginning special educators. Many of these studies describe problems encountered, noting the high attrition rate among beginning special education teachers and emphasizing the importance of keeping qualified special educators in the field. The findings of this survey of first-year special education teachers (N = 596) extend the literature by revealing the influence of classroom and school context factors on new teachers' accomplishments and problems. (Contains 1 figure and 6 tables.)
Alarming inadequacies of the quantity and quality of rural special education personnel have become an increasing concern of the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs and the U.S. Congress. Although many difficulties of serving rural handicapped children may remain for years, appropriate preservice training for rural special educators can begin to address serious recruitment and retention problems while training potentially better quatified personnel. Promising initiatives described in this article are data-based, use existing resources of higher education institutions, and involve collaboration among a national consortium of special educatlon training programs. Fotential benefits for rural handicapped populations are noteworthy.
The article reviews the revised teacher education accreditation standards in the areas of special and multicultural education, as formulated by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). (DLS)
This study identified beliefs about pupils, learning, and schooling held by special education preservice teachers that are likely to influence their support for the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education settings as well as their instructional effectiveness in inclusive settings. By examining written assignments and course and advising discussions, the researcher screened the written and oral narratives of 182 junior and senior majors and minors at various stages of their undergraduate special education teacher preparation. Analysis of narratives revealed that special education preservice teachers held a variety of anti-inclusion beliefs. It is suggested that if inclusion is to be successful, teacher education programs should seek antidotes to these anti-inclusion beliefs.
Students with disabilities are entering teacher education programs in expanding numbers; yet, they are experiencing varying degrees of success. Factors impacting students' with disabilities participation and achievement in teacher education programs are presented and federal legislation affecting their involvement in teacher preparation programs is reviewed. Additionally, conditions affecting students' with disabilities admission, performance of essential teaching functions, accommodation provision, and accessibility in teacher education programs are examined. Issues involving basic skills competency testing, essential teaching function interpretation and performance, faculty attitude, and student self-advocacy skills are discussed. Recommendations for future research also are presented.
School-aged children spend most of their daytime hours in school. Therefore, the school is in a strategic and powerful position to influence the development of their self-concept, self-image, self-worth and self-esteem. Academic success attributes most to positive school effects. But for too many African-American learners, school is a setting of limited achievement. Pre-existing structures within the educational system impede academic achievement and contribute to low self-concept. In the early part of the twentieth century, educational and social structures and practices in the United States were established according to the belief systems of powerful decision-makers. Many now entrenched practices fail to promote the full potential of African-American students. As a result, many African-American students are misplaced, mislabeled and channeled into special education and other lower academic tracks. Responsible, ethical behavior requires change. This article explores the psychosocial and educational dynamics of the process. Methodologies and strategies needed to change these practices and/or to limit their ill effects will be suggested.
Case surveys of 99 federally funded regular education inservice special education training projects revealed, among other findings, that local and state agencies were strongest in collaboration, that projects used the full range of quality practices in their planning, and that projects become more field-based as collaboration increased. (CL)
The nature of strategy instruction combined with prevailing teaching models necessitated that the University of Kansas Institute for Research in Learning Disabilities create a new inservice teacher education format, based on such "best practices" as having ongoing training, requiring active and continued participation by key participants, and adopting a change perspective. (JDD)
The need for a common vocabulary and conceptual orientation is discussed as it relates to the notion of language learning disability. Components of language, dimensions of language performance, and the processing of language all contribute to the concept of language learning disability. The social construction of collaborative meaning is discussed as it relates to the need for a common vocabulary applied in an interpersonal context and to the larger context of the school or classroom. Implications for teacher training are discussed.
Although field-based experiences are generally considered one of the most important aspects of teacher education programs, there has been little systematic research regarding the ways in which these experiences affect practicum students. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the influences of individuals and events on practicum students' acquisition of selected teaching skills during a field-based experience. Eight students and their cooperating teachers participated as subjects. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Quantitative data were generated from the competence ratings of practicum students completed by the students themselves and their cooperating teachers. These ratings, which focused on teaching skills related to the ability to plan and deliver effective instruction, manage classroom social behavior problems, and assess academic and social behavior problems, indicated that both practicum students and their cooperating teachers perceived that the students had increased their skill in each area by the end of the field-based experience. In addition, qualitative data were generated from a series of semistructured interviews conducted with the students and their cooperating teachers. From these data, 8 roles or individuals and 12 categories of significant events were identified as having influenced practicum students during the field-based experience.
Iowa, like many states, must respond to the developing and expanding needs for teachers in early intervention. This article describes one state's jaurney to establish and implement a unified endorsement in early childhood and early childhood special education, birth through third grade. A detailed description provides an understanding of the process that Iowa went through to develop a unified endorsement. It describes the formation of the Unified Institute of Higher Education (IHE) Cansartium and the support the consortium provided to help faculty make major curriculum changes. The results of a statewide faculty needs survey are described to help understand what issues confront IHEs and faculty as they undertake such a major transformation of teacher preparation, The article also describes some challenges for the future.
To support the integration of technology in the K-12 special education classroom, teacher preparation programs must infuse technology across existing special education curricula. Teacher preparation programs have been blamed for not modeling effective technology use in teacher preparation curricula. This study examined the effectiveness of a mentorship training program that employed special education graduate students to assist faculty members with their technology infusion efforts. Results suggest that one-on-one multiple session training supported by special education graduate students (with limited technology expertise) can support integration efforts. Implications for supporting faculty technology infusion are discussed.
A major priority in teacher education is to prepare teachers to serve an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse urban student population. Learning to teach culturally diverse students, however, is challenging given their diverse and often special needs. In this paper, a program is described in which competencies important in serving culturally diverse learning handicapped students (CDLH) were infused throughout an existing teacher education program. First, we discuss the rationale for an infusion approach. Then we describe the infusion model developed for the program, and its implementation and effectiveness in preparing teachers for CDLH students in urban schools. Finally, we examine the implications of an infusion approach for teacher education programs.
Some states have generated teacher supply/demand information that will satisfy the mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. One purpose of this law is to alleviate the shortage of teachers in the field of special education. Because the supply/demand issues facing special education are closely related to those in general education, accomplishing this goal can impact on the quality of education for all children.
In this article we describe a field-based teacher education project that used action research preparing teacher candidates to use learning strategies during educational partnerships with classroom teachers. Action research is described as linking theory with practice in teacher education. This article is the product of a teacher candidate working with a faculty advisor in reviewing the professional literature on metacognitive, process-oriented writing strategies and then applying the theoretically-based intervention in an authentic setting. The project also was designed to provide the teacher candidate with the experience of establishing educational partnerships in the form of team-teaching with a mainstream teacher. We also provide a background and overview of the PLEASE strategy for written expression. Following the overview, the results of a clinical investigation designed to assess the efficacy of the PLEASE strategy for written expression in a mainstream setting are reported. Results of the clinical investigation suggest the PLEASE strategy can be effectively implemented in mainstream 9th grade classrooms to improve the paragraph composition of students with and without learning disabilities. The results of the project suggest that action research is a viable mechanism for preparing special educators to work collaboratively with general education teachers and students in mainstream settings.
With renewed attention to the value of reflection on the part of both practicing teachers and teachers in training, and increasing emphasis on the transition of the preservice teacher from student to practfcing professional, the student teaching experience assumes even greater significance than it has traditionally been accorded. The study of reflection on the part of both practicing and preservice teachers can perhaps be best approached through qualitative methods. In this investigation, five special education student teachers and their cooperating teachers maintained weekly journals reflecting upon successive themes. Their responses provide a portrait of a shared personal and professional growth experience.
Action research is a process in which classroom teachers engage in systematic inquiry to develop new alternatives for approaching problematic classroom situations. In this article, action research is explored in terms of its potential as an alternative paradigm for consultation. Specifically, action research is presented as a dimension of collaboration that has the potential to reduce teachers' resistance to changes in teaching practice as they work to accommodate diverse student populations in most classrooms today.
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Mary Teresa Brownell
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  • University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
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