Special Education Faculty Perceptions of Participating in a Culturally Responsive Professional Development Program

Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, v. 33 no. 4, (November 2010) p. 263-278.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The goals of this study were to determine special education faculty members' perceptions of the culturally responsive professional development program and how it impacted them and their practice.

The following questions guided the study:
1. What were faculty members' perceptions of the professional development program?
2. How did the professional development activities affect or impact faculty members? 

12 White faculty members from a large Western university's special education program participated in the study.

The authors conducted interviews with faculty members regarding their perceptions and the impact of the program.


Faculty expressed likes and dislikes of the program and provided suggestions for future professional development.

Faculty perceptions of the professional development activities indicated that in general, they liked (a) incorporating collaborative activities with opportunities to share and discuss perspectives and experiences with the topic,
(b) using a variety of activities outside of the department facilities, and
(c) participating in activities that had clear objectives and were well organized so that time was being well spent.

Faculty reported increased understanding of culturally responsive practices and the impact of culture and language in education. They indicated they had made changes in their curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and supports provided. The professional development activities in general helped faculty to self-reflect. Faculty also expressed personal conflicts as a result of these activities.
Other results that emerged included that time was a barrier, that leaving campus facilitated learning, and that collaboration enhanced learning.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2011