Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 134-140
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Models of collaboration between teacher training institutions and Professional Development Schools have become commonplace in general teacher education. These partnerships are less well documented when it comes to special education teacher training, and are particularly scarce with regard to models of collaboration with special education schools. This article presents an exploratory study of a 10-year-old partnership between a special education department at a Teacher Training College in Israel and a special school for children with developmental disabilities. The partnership is analysed utilising criteria that characterise successful Professional Development Schools.
This exploratory study focused on a minimum number of participants: the professional director of Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS), who was instrumental in establishing the partnership; the pedagogical instructor of Beit Berl College (BBC) who is most directly involved and two student teachers who were easily accessible to the researchers.
In this particular case study, the authors see the central role that the students play in integrating pupils into the wider community. In addition to planning a social/and or academic inclusive experience for a specific child, they gain the experience of interacting with the youngsters in the regular classes, as well as with the teachers in both settings.
The authors also found that the teacher training aspect is the central focus for both partners and that there is a high level of satisfaction with the results in this area. This model puts a high priority on the needs of the children and it has had a clear impact on the quality of the educational work at the school. Similarly, the model has expanded the opportunities for professional development of teachers at BIS, both in terms of the development of mentoring skills and in terms of building a unique model for induction of new teachers into the profession. Recommendations for future directions and research are presented.