Book Talks in Special Education Methods Courses: Using Literature to Influence, Inspire, and Prepare Teacher Candidates

From Section:
Programs & Practicum
May. 21, 2010

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, v. 33 no. 2,   p. 143-154. (May 2010). 
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

An investigation on the use of literature as part of the teacher preparation process probed the impact of book talks on teacher candidates' attitudes toward people with disabilities.

The purpose of this investigation was twofold.
First, it sought to determine if the book talk assignment enhanced teacher candidates' knowledge of the impact of disability on individuals and families.
Secondly, it sought to determine what influence the book talk had on candidates in terms of their attitudes and beliefs as future teachers.

The study took place in two different undergraduate special education methods courses across one academic year in a private college in western New York.


Forty undergraduate teacher candidates participated in the study. The teacher candidates were in the second or third year of the 4-year special education certification program. All participants were female and Caucasian.

Teacher candidates chose to read one of several books assigned at the beginning of each semester. They were required to submit a summary of the book, their reflection including how it related to their field experience, and several questions for the book talk discussion. At the end of the semester, teacher candidates met in small groups to discuss the book. Each group consisted of five to six teacher candidates. Books reflected various effects of disability, including the impact on individuals or their families.

Data were collected from written reflections and survey responses.


Qualitative analysis revealed that the assignment influenced an increase in positive attitudes toward individuals with disabilities reflecting insight, empathy, and respect.
Furthermore, the assignment provided teacher candidates an opportunity to collaborate and communicate with their peers, which is a necessity for special educators.

Suggestions for future use of book talks in teacher education are also discussed.

Updated: Dec. 04, 2018
Attitude change | Group discussions | Instruction effectiveness | Methods courses | Preservice teachers | Special education | Student teacher attitudes