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Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices 7(2)

Volume 7, Number 2, September 2010

Table of Contents 

Audrey Cohan and Andrea Honigsfeld 

“What Do You See?” Using Video Analysis of Classroom Practice in a Preparation Program for Teachers of Students With Learning Disabilities

Laura H. Baecher and David J. Connor

This article described an innovative approach of integrating video analysis into personnel preparation to bridge the gap between theory and practice in a teacher certification program for teacher candidates specializing in learning disabilities (LD). First, the authors summarized the varied, yet interrelated, purposes of utilizing video in teacher education. Second, they described the use of video in the learning disabilities program within Hunter College’s School of Education, detailing specific assignments that promote a deeper understanding of teaching and learning. Third, they offered suggestions for teacher educators who would like to integrate video analysis into their existing programs. Finally, they evaluated the benefits and limitations for using video analysis in the professional development of in-service teachers of students with learning disabilities. 

Cutting Edge Educators: Preservice Teachers’ Use of Technology within the Universal Design for Learning Framework
Darra Pace and Elfreda V. Blue

This qualitative study examined preservice teachers’ use of technology within a universal design for learning framework in an after-school academic support program. The researchers analyzed 135 journal reflections of 28 preservice teachers in a special education graduate program. Four themes emerged: (1) instruction, (2) engagement, (3) drill and practice applications, and (4) technical issues. The researchers found that for preservice teachers, incorporating technology in instruction requires sufficient time and opportunities for application. The discussion highlights the need for future educators to move beyond conventional instruction to explore and recognize the benefits and possibilities of technology integration. 

Practicing What We Teach: Making the Co-Teaching Model Come Alive in the College Classroom
Maggie Blair, Bernadette Donovan, and Kevin Sheehan

In this article, college professors discussed how they have been using co-teaching in an inclusive teacher education program core course by infusing the Wiggins and McTighe model of Understanding by Design into a required special education course preparing teachers to address the diverse needs of learners. The course featured in this article models best practices of co-teaching research and provides teacher candidates the opportunity to experience exemplary co-teaching practices. In this model, a content specialist was the push-in instructor for a class usually taught solely by a special education professor. The description of on-going preparation, planning, and assessments provides readers with a pattern for replication. 

Preparing Teachers for Grading Students With Learning Disabilities
Lee Ann Jung and Thomas R. Guskey

Grading is a task faced by all teachers every day of their careers, yet it is one for which they are largely unprepared. Reporting the progress of students with disabilities is a requirement of The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act for IEPs. Compliance with this requirement is something with which states struggle the most (Etscheidt, 2006). In this article, the authors describe the 5-step Inclusive Grading Model (Jung & Guskey, 2007) for grading students with disabilities who are included in general education classes. They then provide recommendations for teaching the process in teacher preparation programs. 

Response to Intervention: The Teachers’ Role in Distinguishing Between Mathematics Difficulty and Mathematics Disability
Dolores T. Burton and John Kappenberg

Low achievement in mathematics has been documented by international comparisons of students’ mathematics performance such as is identified in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and is a matter of national concern (Gonzales et al., 2008). Students may not meet international benchmarks because teachers do not have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to meet students’ mathematical needs. Teacher educators are challenged to create environments where preservice and inservice teachers can become proficient in strategies to help children with diverse needs learn in the mathematics classroom. This article examined a concrete and practical approach to developing these skills: diagnosing and distinguishing between mathematical difficulty and the clinical disability of dyscalculia. It provides guidelines for professional development of diagnostic skills and intervention models, particularly through implementing a three-tier Response to Intervention program to assist in the accurate diagnosis and effective remediation of mathematical learning disabilities. 

In-Service Special Education Teachers as Researchers
Marilyn Goodwin, Emily J. Summers, and Nathan Bond

This three-year longitudinal study followed the initial special education teachers selected to participate in a collaborative advanced master’s degree program. The district/university collaborative program considered meeting special education teachers’ unique research leadership and community needs only when these participants became part of a district-wide cohort of teacher leaders. The research narrative explored the unique challenges and triumphs in their journey and their subsequent recognition as teacher leaders and researchers. 

Facilitating Inclusion as a Pathway for Professional Development
Jennifer Burgess

The Australian Government has implemented the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP) for the inclusion of all children into mainstream childcare services. This program integrates a range of professional development resources and at the centre of the Facilitation Model of Professional Development is the role of the Inclusion Support Facilitator. The key tool that is utilized to develop and implement the capacity building of educators is the Service Support Plan. This paper reports on an evaluation of the implementation of the IPSP in one of the largest inclusion support agencies and identifies how this integrated program, underpinned by effective processes, has resulted in a high level of professional development of childcare educators who are including children with a disability in their mainstream environments.

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