What do we Know and Where Can We Grow?: Teachers Preparation for the Inclusive Classroom

What do we Know and Where Can We Grow?: Teachers Preparation for the Inclusive Classroom

Patricia Dickenson (National University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1753-5.ch001


General educators have been charged with the responsibility of teaching students with exceptionalities, yet many report they do not have the skills to effectively instruct diverse learners, including those with disabilities (Blanton, et al., 2011). Currently, more than half of all students with disabilities spend about 80% of their day in the general education classroom (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). This shift to educate all in the general education classroom increases the demand on teachers to be accountable for all learners academic achievement. The goal of this chapter is to provide instructors of teacher education programs with a review of current research in the field and recommendations for teacher preparation programs to effectively support and positively shape pre-service teachers attitudes and beliefs about students with exceptionalities.
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The 1996 release of What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) set the stage for more than two decades of teacher education reform. This influential report revealed teacher preparation is in need of improvement and set forth an aggressive agenda which included higher standards for teacher education and accreditation. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) brought forth teacher education standards which included higher admission standards, rationales for content of education coursework and a stronger emphasis on subject matter preparation for school accreditation. In 2010 the NCATE report titled Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers called for teacher education to be rooted in clinical practice and interconnected to course work and content. Most recently, the Council for the Accreditation of the Educator Preparation (CAEP) replaced NCATE and is the national accreditation agency for teacher education. The recently approved accreditation standards (CAEP, 2013a) places an emphasis on clinical practice which includes the candidates’ ability to demonstrate their effectiveness to positively impact all students’ learning and development. Moreover candidates must possess the skills and commitment to promote access for all P-12 students for college and career ready standards. CAEP defines P-12 learners as

Children or youth attending P-12 schools including, but not limited to, students with disabilities or exceptionalities, students who are gifted, and students who represent diversity based on ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, language, religion, sexual identification and/or geographic origin. (CAEP, 2013b)

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