Preparing Special Educators for Collaboration in the Classroom: Pre-Service Teachers Beliefs and PerspectivesReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Special Education, v29 n1 p76-86 2014

Inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms and programs continues to be a focus in the international field of special education. In the USA where the history of inclusion is over three decades old, current special educator's professional standards clearly expect that certified special educators will enter the field with adept collaboration and co-teaching skills in order to optimize services for students with disabilities in inclusive settings. Coursework in collaboration for pre-service special educators is a common mechanism for providing this training within the United States (McKenzie, 2009). This qualitative case study (n = 12) conducted over a semester of coursework on collaboration in a distance education format utilized grounded theory, through document analysis and interviewing (n = 5), to build a better understanding of pre-service special educators' perceptions and beliefs about collaborating with general educator partners in school settings. Five themes emerged from over 300 participant quotations: (1) definitions of collaboration, (2) outcomes of collaboration, (3) collaborative behaviors between teachers, (4) challenges to collaboration, and (5) preparedness to collaborate. These pre-service special educators most often commented on the challenges they experienced in school settings. Implications for teacher education programs worldwide and future research are discussed.

Descriptors: Special Education Teachers, Teacher Collaboration, Teacher Education Programs, Classroom Techniques, Preservice Teachers, Student Teacher Attitudes, Beliefs, Qualitative Research, Case Studies, Distance Education, Electronic Learning, Interviews, Content Analysis, Definitions, Collegiality, Barriers, Readiness, Team Teaching, Regular and Special Education Relationship

International Journal of Special Education. 2889 Highbury Street, Vancouver, BC V6R 3T7, Canada. Web site:

Author: Hamilton-Jones, Bethany M.; Vail, Cynthia O.


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