Fostering Integration in Rural Classrooms: The Mainstream Practicum Project.Report as inadecuate

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The rapid growth of special education programs has exceeded the capability of teacher training programs in West Virginia to fill new positions in schools serving children with learning or behavior disorders. The focus of the Mainstream Practicum Project is to train regular educators who are currently working as untrained, uncredentialed personnel in mainstreaming programs in rural West Virginia schools so that they may be dually certified in regular and special education. This is to be accomplished by adapting existing special education training programs at West Virginia University to include a mainstream practicum model. Additional competencies needed to accomplish rural mainstream education have been identified and incorporated into coursework, the prepracticum seminar, and the practicum experience. These additional competencies include understanding the context of the rural school and its environment; recognizing the unique features of serving pupils with disabilities in rural settings; identifying best practices in rural education and rural special education; identifying effective rural service delivery models for pupils with disabilities; developing collaboration and consultation skills for working with rural educators, personnel, volunteers, and families; using available rural school and community resources to enhance instruction; and developing personal survival skills for coping with the unique challenges of working in mainstream settings in rural areas. This paper outlines program goals and objectives; teacher competencies covered by the program; program development and design; student recruitment and admission criteria; delivery of coursework and practicum experiences; and an evaluation plan that includes formative, summative, and ongoing evaluation. Contains 21 references. (TD)

Descriptors: Higher Education, Inclusive Schools, Inservice Teacher Education, Mainstreaming, Practicums, Program Descriptions, Program Design, Regular and Special Education Relationship, Rural Education, Special Education Teachers, Teacher Certification, Teacher Competencies, Teacher Education Programs, Teacher Shortage

Author: Ludlow, Barbara L.; And Others


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