Source: Teacher Education and Special Education v. 33 no. 2 (May 2010) p. 114-130.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article examines how teacher candidates enacted their extensive inclusive classroom preparation within simulated interactions. The authors, therefore, designed an intervention where these future teachers would articulate their belief systems to other school professionals, a task that closely emulates what they will be asked to do in the real world if they intend to advocate for the inclusion of all students in their classrooms.
19 inclusive elementary students enrolled to the course “Methods & Curriculum for Working with Students with Significant Disabilities” took part in a simulated interaction with Ms. Meyers.
In addition, four secondary education students enrolled in a separate course, Parent/Caregiver Communications, also elected to take part in this simulation with a standardized paraprofessional (SP).
Data from these simulated interactions indicate teachers expressed a range of perspectives on classroom practice with a paraprofessional, including the support of conditional, exclusive practices that result in students being removed from classrooms.
Implications center on how teacher preparation institutions can better support the transfer of inclusive preparation into inclusive practice.
First, the authors suggest that future efforts should focus not only on training inclusive elementary and secondary teachers to serve as inclusive instructors, but also on developing inclusion advocates who effectively maintain a sense of self during the acquisition of professional training.
Second, the authors argue that teachers cannot remove special needs students from the classroom to satisfy the comfort needs of the general education students or the special needs students. The authors offer that instead of removing special needs students from the classroom, inclusive teachers are able to use that disequilibration to teach for broader understanding and recognition of disability as an aspect of classroom diversity.
Third, the authors claim that teacher preparation programs should focus on helping pre-service teachers recognize the dual, equal value in professional training and real-world classroom experience and the importance of assuming instructional responsibility for all students in the classroom.