Practicing What We Preach: A Case Study of the Implementation of a Complex Conceptual Framework

Practicing What We Preach: A Case Study of the Implementation of a Complex Conceptual Framework

Stephen D. Kroeger (University of Cincinnati, USA), Susan A. Gregson (University of Cincinnati, USA), Michelle A. Duda (Implementation Scientists, LLC, USA), Anna DeJarnette (University of Cincinnati, USA), Jonathan M. Breiner (University of Cincinnati, USA), and Christopher L. Atchison (University of Cincinnati, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9429-1.ch011
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Creating inclusive classrooms is a challenge in general education. To prepare new teachers for diverse K-12 classrooms, faculty at one Midwestern university redesigned their education program to prepare preservice teachers for dual licensure in general and special education. The redesign required middle childhood faculty to learn more about complex conceptual frameworks that are prioritized in school districts across the country. One of these, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), became a non-negotiable component of the new program. An essential learning outcome became preparing pre-service teachers to utilize UDL. After the program was approved, content-area faculty questioned whether they were prepared to implement the framework. Having varied expertise in UDL, faculty wondered if they were teaching UDL effectively, and questioned whether they were modeling UDL concepts with fidelity in their own teaching. Thus, the Dual Licensure Implementation Team (DLIT) was born. This case study describes the process and product of the team's effort to implement UDL with fidelity.
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The introductory vignette resulted in the creation of a teacher-educator learning community dedicated to modeling a complex research-informed framework in courses for preservice teachers. The case study reported here focuses on such a community—the Dual Licensure Implementation Team (DLIT). The DLIT was created to ensure that a dual licensure program for preservice middle grades teachers at a Midwestern university would be implemented as intended. The new program prepared students for licensure in both middle and special education. One central framework for the program was Universal Design for Learning (UDL). During the initial year of the DLIT collaboration, the team examined their own practice using case study methodology to explore how UDL concepts could improve the structure, goals, and learning outcomes of the content methods courses they taught. Self-assessment with case study required participants to be deeply metacognitive as they described their practice. It allowed participants to reimagine their teaching processes and identities as content-level experts.

As context for the case, literature related to preparing content-focused general educators for the inclusion of students with special needs in their classrooms is addressed. One key barrier to this effort is documented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inclusion: Systematic presence of opportunities for all students to learn alongside their peers in general education classrooms.

Double-Loop Learning: Problem-solving that examines root causes.

Dual License: General education license and special education license earned in four years.

Single Loop Learning: Problem-solving that avoids looking at root causes.

Universal Design for Learning: A pedagogical approach that seeks to reduce barriers to learning through multiple and flexible means of representation, engagement, and action and expression.

Learning Community: Intentional group of individuals that seeks insight about practice in order to improve performance.

Implementation Science: Methods that promote the systematic uptake of evidence informed practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of services.

Critical Friend Protocol: Structured presentation and response to an issue of concern.

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