Using Video-Aided Self-Reflection to Prepare Novice Special Education Teachers: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Students

Using Video-Aided Self-Reflection to Prepare Novice Special Education Teachers: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Students

Jason P. Davis (University of San Francisco, USA), Kevin Oh (University of San Francisco, USA) and Natalie Nussli (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2963-7.ch015
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The growing diversity of America's public schools has created pressure for universities and teacher preparation programs to develop strategies to aid novice teachers in meeting a variety of student needs. In addition to cultural and linguistic differences, special education teachers must also be prepared to meet the variety of academic, social, and emotional needs of students identified with disabilities. To accomplish this, studies investigating the potential of video based reflection to impact novice and preservice teachers' ability to implement pedagogical theory into practice have increased. This chapter examines the use of video as a tool to engage novice special education teachers' reflection on the implementation of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP), differentiated instruction (DI), and universal design for learning (UDL).
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Today’s educational climate requires teachers to not only hold content knowledge and instructional skill, but to be sensitive to the diverse backgrounds and needs of all students (Brown-Jeffy & Cooper, 2011; Oh, Nussli, & Davis, 2016). As the population of U.S. public schools grows more diverse, the demands on teachers and teacher educators also increase. Teacher preparation programs are now charged with developing pre-service teachers’ knowledge in culturally relevant pedagogy (Howard, 2003; Ladson-Billing, 1995) and differentiating instruction (Tomlinson, 1995) to meet the unique needs of students. Working with students identified with special needs, special education teachers are further challenged to understand not only cultural diversity but also social, emotional, and academic diversity as well.

A recent report, The Condition of Education 2012, by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) suggests that the percentage of public school students identifying as either a racial or ethnic minority has increased from 33% in 1990 to 46% in 2010 with the percentage of those identifying as white or Caucasian dropping from 67% to 54%. This shift in the U.S. demographics increases demands placed on teachers and schools. “Teachers need to be non-judgmental and inclusive of the cultural backgrounds of their students in order to be effective facilitators of learning in the classroom” (Brown-Jeffy & Cooper, 2011, p. 66). This issue is further compounded for the special education teacher who must also be fluent in strategies for meeting diverse academic, social, and emotional needs as well as the challenges brought by the increased cultural diversity.

In addition to the variety of content knowledge and culturally relevant pedagogy required of all teachers, those working with students identified with special needs must also possess the ability to create and alter curricula, design individualized instruction, understand assistive technologies, and comply with all state and federal regulations (Youngs, Jones, & Low, 2011). This addition calls for an increase in special education teacher preparation programs to keep up with the growing diversities in public schooling. To meet the many challenges facing both general and special education teachers, many universities have begun incorporating programs, research, and strategies in the areas of multicultural education and working with diverse learners. One such strategy has been the reinvigoration of self-reflection using video as a tool to capture classroom practices (Nagro & Cornelius, 2013; Tripp & Rich, 2012).

Reflection has long been recognized as an important tool for teacher development (Dewey, 1933; Schön, 1983; Zeichner & Liston, 1987, 1996). Studies have found that teachers who do not engage in reflection rarely change their practice or evaluate their own effectiveness (Pena & Leon, 2011). Understanding this, many universities have made reflective practices an important tenet of teacher education (Pena & Leon, 2011). Defined as “deliberate thinking about action with a view to its improvement” (Hatton & Smith, 1995, p. 52), reflection takes many forms in the university classroom. Journal writing, conferencing, online discussion, and peer feedback are just a few methods researchers and educators have used to promote critical reflective practice (Calandra, Gurvitch, & Lund, 2008). With advances in technology, research in the use of video to caption one’s own teaching as a tool to influence self-reflection has re-emerged in the field (Nagro & Cornelius, 2013; Tripp & Rich, 2012).

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