Alternative Route Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs Guidelines

Fall 2008

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, v. 31 no. 4, (Fall 2008), p. 257-267.

With the proliferation of alternative route (AR) special education teacher preparation programs, many teacher educators are likely to be involved in AR program design and implementation. Unfortunately, few resources have focused on best practices for program developers to prepare the nontraditional participants who typically populate their programs.

In this article, the authors present a series of guidelines intended to assist teacher educators in the development of AR programs.

The guidelines include
1) Promoting initial classroom survival;
2) Integrating instructor-developed and student-developed topics;
3) Require collaboration and teaming;
4) Emphasizing skills needed to improve practice;
5) Tailoring assignments to professional standards;
6) Integrating explicit, individualized instruction in technology and
7) Promoting a professional orientation toward teaching.

These guidelines, presented within the context of best practices in teacher education, relate directly to what is known about the characteristics of successful AR programs as well as the participants who access these programs.


Several themes cut across the guidelines presented in this article.

These themes include
(a) providing for immediate classroom application,
(b) facilitating collaboration both within and beyond the confines of the AR program and its participants,
(c) facilitating classroom-based inquiry, and
(d) adhering to professional standards and guidelines.

Updated: May. 11, 2009