A Collaborative Process for Incorporating Universal Design for Learning and Evidence-Based Practice into Inclusive Teacher Education Programs
Spencer Salend and Catharine Whittaker
In light of the need to prepare reflective and effective teachers who can differentiate their instruction to support the learning of all students in inclusive classrooms, this article describes the collaborative process faculty have used to incorporate universal design for learning (UDL) and evidence-based practice (EBP) into an inclusive teacher education program’s curriculum and practicum experiences. Initially, faculty mapped the curriculum by agreeing upon a common definition of UDL and EBP, reviewing the research to create EBP documentation charts, which were used to constructing self-assessment tools known as innovation configurations (IC). Faculty used the IC to identify and address the strengths and gaps within the program’s courses and clinical experiences and align courses with online interactive instructional resources related to UDL and EBP. To bridge the gap between research and practice and guide educators in making evidence-informed decisions, faculty developed a 10-step practice-based evidence assessment and instructional model to collect and analyze classroom-based data about the efficacy, acceptability, and fidelity of one’s instructional practices and use of UDL and EBP. Faculty revised and field-tested a lesson plan template that prompted educators to personalize their instruction and make it more explicit by addressing such factors as student diversity and collaboration, and employing UDL, EBP, instructional and assistive technology and formative and summative assessment. Faculty also redesigned the program’s lesson observation form used to better evaluate preservice teachers working in inclusive classrooms and provide them with feedback related to their effective use of EBP, UDL, instructional and assistive technology, and assessment and classroom management strategies. The lesson observation form also was revised to make it more reflective of the program’s curriculum reform efforts related to the use of UDL and EBP, and to align it with the national teacher education accreditation standards, national and statewide teacher evaluation, curriculum and teacher education certification standards.
Sarimah binti Shaik-Abdullah, S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam, and Mohan Chinappan
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
The quality of education in any country rests on school communities as a whole. However, the real implementers of innovations and changes in curriculum are teachers. Teachers, as practitioners, are the ones most often held accountable for successes and failures in educating schoolchildren. The way to facilitate teachers in handling challenges and keeping up with curriculum renewals is through constant support in the form of continuous professional development (CPD) by means of action research. Action research as CPD has been viewed as a critical platform for advocating change, which is the outcome of teachers’ ability and autonomy to lead in making informed decisions about their own practices. Given its usefulness, action research is found well established, vastly practiced, and widely published in the Western countries. This has raised the question of the spread of action research as CPD in the Southeast Asian region. Preliminary analysis reveals that in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Timor Leste, there is limited literature on action research, while in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, action research has been well documented. At the same time, there’s an emerging trend in Southeast Asian countries to adopt different models of action research. In Malaysia, for instance, action research has been primarily classroom based, whereas in Indonesia, a critical and community-based approach to action research seems to be prevalent. This suggests that the kinds of action research conducted in the different Southeast Asian countries may reflect variations in cultural, economic, and geographic landscapes. Given the importance of action research to teacher practitioners and school leaders, and in providing an identity to the action research approaches conducted in Southeast Asia, the historical trail of action research presents a window to the nature of CPD concerns of each country, as well as the successes and challenges of conducting action research as CPD for sustained impact.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
There are several interrelated themes in arts-informed pedagogies in teacher preparation: the arts as tools to improve students' academic achievement; the arts for teachers' own professional identity and satisfaction (e.g., for teacher reflection, teacher retention, job satisfaction, and relationship building), and the arts for social change, justice, & education advocacy work. Creativity and agency have also received attention in arts-informed teacher education practice, encouraging “teacher as artist” metaphors as counterpoints for more prevalent orientations to teachers as those who treat and fix problems (like doctors or scientists). Comparing the act of lesson planning and instruction to that of the artist encourages teachers to see their tasks as creative, generative, surprising, and aesthetic. Finally, teacher education often focuses on ways in which the teacher can serve in the role of mentor-artist, coaching and guiding students’ creative expressions instead of and rarely as a complement to the teachers’ own creative endeavors. Across these themes, projects utilize aesthetic languages of the arts disciplines—visual art, theatre, music, dance, creative writing, and media arts—as meaning making tools toward particular academic, relational, and creative goals in teacher education. Arts-informed teacher education practices are reviewed to date, and key questions and concerns are considered regarding where, how, and why the arts are used, by whom, and to what end. Important to this review are extensions to the ways in which the arts have been used in other training fields such as nursing, police training, and social work. The extent to which the arts in professional development hold value is deeply connected to national arts value and will be compared to differences in other teacher education systems worldwide.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Schools, teachers, and students are increasingly able to access and apply assistive technology to enhance inclusion within mainstream classrooms. The assistive technology may take the form of simple, easy-to-use, low-tech devices, or they may encompass more sophisticated, highly complicated devices that require training and greater levels of support to manage. To ensure that a classroom is truly inclusive, the teacher and other professionals involved in supporting children with disabilities and using assistive technology require appropriate knowledge and skills to bring potential to reality. The knowledge concerning what is available in the field of assistive technology is merely the starting point. Inclusive educators also require expertise in selecting devices and services, including the student in decision making, implementing the assistive technology within an inclusive setting, and assessing the effectiveness of the assistive technology to meet the needs of the student and the classroom.
There are many successful examples of assistive technology being successfully embedded into the practices of inclusive settings, but there is still some way to go to ensure this is a seamless approach and one that is universally informed by practice. While legislation can go some way toward mandating the use of assistive technology, teachers and schools are really at the forefront of implementation. There are many benefits and difficulties associated with adopting assistive technology to support students with disabilities, particularly in developing countries. While the challenges may be great, the potential for assistive technology to impact significantly on the educational, social, and recreational outcomes for students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms is immense.
Belmira Oliveira Bueno
Since the 1980s, in different countries, researchers and educators have put into action a number of studies of teachers’ biographies, teachers’ narratives and stories, as well as other ways of employing life history methods, in order to renew the field of education. A vast literature has been produced in the last decades on this perspective, giving testimony to a surprising growth of the educational area under the impulse of such approaches. There was a clear need for a methodological renewal of this field but also a need of a revision of the functions of school and to the way of conceiving education. The idea of lifelong learning frames this scenario and the expectations outlined in the turn of this century, altering profoundly the functions of school and the ends of education. The biographical approaches are taken as an attempt of meeting such demands. However, the work with life histories and biographies has shown different directions, following from a conjugation of factors and from more specific demands for education present in the respective contexts where such experiences have taken place. Such approaches are part of a broader movement of individualization and subjectivism that characterizes contemporary society. The two perspectives focused on in this article—that of English-speaking countries, with a predominant focus on the life and career of teachers; and those developed in Francophone environments, with the focus on the continued education of adults—have shown great growth particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, giving testimony to the appeal that biographical approaches exerted upon researchers and educators. It presents the features of these two trends preceded by an incursion into the field of sociology aiming at highlighting some relevant methodological and epistemological issues. By this way we intend to emphasize the potentiality of biographical approaches to the knowledge of education, drawing attention to the challenges for individuals’ lives in the contemporary society and for the emergence of new ways of conceiving the subjectivities by the new human and social theories.
Fred A.J. Korthagen and Ellen E. Nuijten
The core reflection approach aims to deepen teacher reflection and development. The approach takes teachers’ core qualities and ideals as the starting point for reflection, and links the professional and the personal in teacher development. Core reflection can also be applied to other professional groups, and to students in primary and secondary education. It is based on a model of levels of reflection, briefly named the onion model, which includes the following levels: environment, behavior, competencies, beliefs, identity, mission, and “the core,” which refers to personal strengths. The onion model helps to differentiate between behavior-oriented reflection and a deeper kind of reflection, in which attention is given to three goals: (1) building on strengths and ideals (called “the inner potential”) of the person, (2) helping the person deal with inner obstacles limiting the actualization of the inner potential, and (3) preparing the person for using their potential and dealing with obstacles autonomously. In order to reach these goals, people can be coached using specific principles, which are partly based on positive psychology:
1. Focusing on personal strengths;
2. Giving balanced attention to cognition, emotion, and motivation (thinking, feeling, and wanting); and
3. Giving attention to inner obstacles.
These principles are brought together in a phase model for core reflection, with five phases: (1) describing a concrete situation; (2) reflection on the ideal, and on a core quality or qualities; (3) reflection on an obstacle; (4) using the inner potential; and (5) trying a new approach.
Core reflection is being used around the world, both in teacher education programs and in schools. Several research studies into the processes and outcomes of core reflection have shown that it leads to in-depth professional development and improved behavior, in both the short and the long term. However, more research is needed, for example research in which long-term outcomes of the core reflection approach are compared to those of other approaches.
For teachers to effectively engage in given pedagogical practices, they need to have beliefs that support these approaches to teaching. These are not philosophical beliefs per se; rather, they are the individual understandings that teachers hold about the nature of knowledge and knowing, which underpin and guide their actions and which are referred to as personal epistemologies. A wide range of paradigms for understanding and studying personal epistemologies is evident in the research literature in this field, but these different perspective and approaches—while varied in outlook and conclusion—point to how important it is that initial teacher education courses allow for the development of sophisticated personal epistemologies through explicit teaching that enables students to think ontologically and epistemologically, and that teacher educators initiate and sustain reflective and discursive practices throughout their courses to promote the best possible outcomes for the children that student teachers will go on to teach in their subsequent careers.
Ethnography’s project has been about cultural representation. This implies a gaze and set of questions, even assumptions, about who is being represented, by whom, and what for. In this sense, ethnography always happens across borders, even while the ethnographer is expected to permeate these through embedded practice. What is meant, then by “ethnography across borders”? Is not the enterprise of conducting ethnographies always marked by border crossing? How does border crossing differ when producing meta-ethnographies? Here, the work changes from crossing a border to conduct primary data collection, to crossing a border to engage in a comparative process. Such a shift heightens the importance of interrogating cultural representation, the positionality of the ethnographers, the multiple contexts in which they are and are not situated, and how perspectives on cultural representation are marked by border relations. Borders are necessarily evoked—geo-political, social, cultural, and personal ones. Ethnography across borders emerges, in this instance, as a methodology and stance to deconstruct the ways in which ethnographers and ethnographies are radically situated in their own histories, and how radical contextualization of those histories is required to uncover the limits of cultural representation, and hence ethnography, as a tool to understand the lives of people, their histories, and their communities.
Anne Elrod Whitney and Yamil Sarraga-Lopez
The National Writing Project (NWP) is a network of professional development sites focusing on the improvement of writing across schools and communities. Its origins as the Bay Area Writing Project led to a professional development model of teachers teaching teachers, a concept that hinges upon recognition of teachers’ knowledge and their capacity to become leaders within their professional community.
In the ensuing years, with early financial support from the US government in the form of an initial grant and an eventual direct federal line item, the NWP expanded from one location to over 200 local sites across the USA’s 50 states and territories as well as international sites. These US and international sites, created in partnership with local universities or colleges, offer localized support to teachers of writing. The project’s model involves an intensive summer institute in which teachers spend their time writing, reading, and sharing their knowledge about writing practices and teaching.
While its focus is on the teaching of writing across all levels and disciplines, the project has become a model example of a professional learning and development network. As such, the NWP has created a legacy in teacher learning and development that many within the field of teacher professional development wish to emulate. An examination of this history, highlighting the project’s beginnings within the Bay Area Writing Project and its eventual expansion, speaks to the vision that has driven its success.
Celia Haig-Brown and Te Kawehau Hoskins
Indigenous teacher education has proven to be a powerful influence in the resurgence of indigenous cultures and languages globally. Within Canada, the proliferation of such programs was a direct result of the landmark policy document Indian Control of Indian Education. This document, written by indigenous leaders in response to the Canadian government, was the culmination of a decades-long, relentless commitment to creating the best possible schooling system for indigenous students. In light of the persisting colonial model, which assumed assimilation, and the disappearance of indigenous people and cultures, this articulation served as a wake-up call to government officials and educators alike. Since the 1970s, such programs have transformed the faces of universities and schools. They have prepared innumerable indigenous teachers, have led to significant curriculum reform across the education system, and have provided the basis for similar models in other disciplines. Guiding principles of the programs, arising out of indigenous philosophies, are relationships, respect, responsibility, and relevance.
A number of specific examples encapsulate the varied models. Although most programs emphasize indigenous knowledge, history, and current issues for indigenous peoples and communities, they also address other recognized curriculum areas—known as “teachables” in common parlance—in order to offer thorough and rigorous preparation for student teachers. With some exceptions, graduates achieve university degrees and are qualified to teach in any provincially approved school. Some choose to teach in rural communities, some remain in urban contexts, and a notable number go on to earn additional undergraduate degrees in other disciplines or choose to pursue graduate work in education. Similar moves by Māori scholars, within the very different context of Aotearoa (New Zealand), have had a profound effect on their schools and universities as well.
Since the incursion of Indian Control of Indian Education into the education landscape, several government commissions have re-emphasized its major focuses. Both the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 and, more recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its follow-up to the Indian Residential Schools Agreement address the importance of teacher education in transforming relationships between Canada and indigenous peoples. Increasingly, indigenous philosophies are being re-created and taken up in contemporary context as people strive to imagine a future of equity and sustainability for all. In keeping with these understandings and in response to the federal initiatives, universities for the most part ensure that their teacher education programs incorporate a focus on indigeneity, with many including a required course for degree completion. While indigenous teacher education continues to be associated with programs specifically for indigenous people, it has now also become an integral part of most teacher education programs within Canada.
Chris Forlin and Kuen-Fung Sin
Following the UNESCO initial statement in 1994 that inclusive schools were the most effective way to counter discriminatory approaches and attitudes toward students with a disability, international legislation and policy has evolved to challenge exclusionary practices and focus attention on equal opportunities for all learners. Inclusion in education is now accepted as a basic right and the foundation for a fairer and equal society. In opposition to earlier dual systems of regular and special education, inclusive education presents a changed paradigm in the way that learners with diverse needs are educated. Specifically, generalist teachers are now required to be able to cater to the needs of the most diverse student populations both academically and socially within regular classrooms.
In most regions, there has been a rather slow and lagging change in teacher preparation to support these new developments. It is frequently documented that new graduates and in-service teachers are not well prepared for managing inclusive classrooms and understanding differences among students. Many teachers will say that they require more professional learning opportunities about inclusive education than they currently receive. When teachers are appropriately trained, have positive attitudes toward including students with diverse abilities, and have access to appropriate resources and support, there are many good practices that become evident. Conversely, inadequate teacher education and a lack of suitable resources often inhibit teachers from developing the appropriate beliefs or attitudes necessary for becoming inclusive practitioners.
As the demand for better training of teachers about the inclusion of students with diverse abilities increases, the question that arises is what constitutes best-practice professional learning for upskilling teachers about inclusive education? While a variety of existing practices ranging from in-school support to system-wide approaches are employed globally, identifying which to use must be grounded in the context and specific needs of individual teachers and schools. This article provides a review of the range of models of whole-school methods, including focusing on teacher competencies, developing school and university links, engaging in collaborative scholarship, and establishing professional learning communities. System support is also examined, as this is critical to effective training. The Hong Kong model is cited as a good example of a collaborative government system/university partnership toward upskilling teachers about inclusive education. This model provides a realistic approach to addressing this issue when a longitudinal plan has been implemented to upskill regular class teachers in inclusive education, using initially an off-site training program followed by a school-based whole-school approach that may be of interest to many other systems. Consideration is also given to the training needs of education assistants who work in inclusive classrooms and their roles in supporting students. The importance of lifelong professional learning should underpin decisions regarding what model or approach to adopt, as student and teacher needs will undoubtedly change over time.
Jane Abbiss and Eline Vanassche
Teacher education has been a matter of concern among policymakers for decades. For just as long, there have been attempts to understand and improve teacher education by studying it empirically. Disenchanted by the progress made by scholarly experts who produced knowledge in “scientific” research “on” teacher education with the aim that findings be implemented in practice settings, teacher educators themselves started researching teacher education. The resulting practice-focused research provides insight into the kinds of research that teacher educators themselves find useful to guide their work and practice in the preparation of teachers.
Broadly speaking, research conducted by teacher educators for teacher educators serves a twofold purpose: to inform the improvement of local practice but also to contribute to the development of a public knowledge base in teacher education. The warrants for knowledge for teacher educator research on teacher education practices derive from a range of qualitative research methodologies, and the authority of this research relates generally to questions of relevance and rigor in qualitative research. Research conducted by teacher educators for teacher educators presents challenges for teacher educators in achieving a balance between goals for local relevance and making a theoretical contribution to the field.
There are, though, also challenges for teacher educator researchers in understanding the field within which they work. What seems like a relatively simple mission—to provide an overview of qualitative research that focuses on teacher education practice and the preparation of student teachers—proves to be quite a difficult task. Challenges relate to matters of definition, concerning who “qualifies” as teacher educators in times of rapid change and variation in initial teacher education provision internationally, and what constitutes research on teacher education practices. Also, challenges derive from matters of scope in the publication of research by teacher educators. Publication of such research extends beyond that which appears in top tier international journals and which tends to provide an American-centric and Global North view of teacher education. These challenges in themselves raise questions about who gets to define the field of practice-focused research in initial teacher education and how this field is defined by the research practices it entails.
This article presents a critical analysis of inclusive teacher education. The article argues that while teacher education programs have changed dramatically over the last few decades, there are still areas where more progress could be made. It also argues for a need to re-conceptualize the way we prepare teachers so that they can confidently include all learners. It presents a framework, largely influenced by the work of Shulman, which could be applied for the preparation of pre-service teachers to teach in inclusive classrooms.
Troy A. Martin
The professionalization of education involves a modern, capitalist move toward securing a public market for schools and developing social status for educators. As a process that has produced knowledge, rationalized relationships, and controlled markets, professionalization of education has also defined an ethical discourse. Articulated in language, inscribed in state law, and embodied in conduct, professional ethics have been codified formally in “codes of ethics” and informally in professional identity and ways of thinking. The popular discourse of professional ethics in education narrows and constrains ethical possibility in practice.
Because of similar forms of codes of ethics across professions, interdisciplinary scholarship from education, social work, psychiatry, and medicine informs a critical examination of professional ethics. The codes, discourse, and standards of professional ethics are historically grounded in the framework of modern rationalism. As the field of education has developed to include a more diverse knowledge-base and new forms of empirical research, the rational order of prescriptive ethics has begun to slip. While regulatory codes of ethics continue to undergird public trust and provide legal insurance against malfeasance, educational scholars and practitioners engage a wider constellation of ethical perspectives and possibilities. Feminist care ethics, post-modern ethics, and phenomenological descriptive ethics present a few possibilities within emergent fields. As the ongoing effects of professionalization are critiqued and the possibilities of professional ethics are re-imagined, schools of education should look beyond the disciplinary enclosures of education to respond to an increasingly diffuse understanding of professional ethics.
Missy Morton and Annie Guerin
Sociocultural perspectives on curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment support teachers in developing and implementing inclusive pedagogies. Sociocultural assessment approaches disregard impairment as an identity in itself, privileging the strengths and knowledge evident in observed interactions. A sociocultural approach to assessment recognizes the dynamic interaction between teaching, learning, and assessment, spread across people, places, and time. Where traditional forms of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment focus on a decontextualized individual, a sociocultural perspective pays close attention to contexts. Teachers’ practices, expectations, and understandings of learning and diversity form a key part of the contexts.
In culturally responsive paradigms, learning is recognized as sociocultural—being informed through interactions with others. All students are recognized and valued as people who gain experiences and knowledge across many contexts. Multiple perspectives are valued as shared understandings and constructions of learning are developed in response to observations and interactions in a community of learners—where students and teachers learn with and from each other. Teachers who recognize themselves as capable of teaching everyone in the class are more likely to recognize everyone as a learner, to think critically about their positioning and understanding of disability, and to plan teaching, learning, and assessment in inclusive ways of working.
While countries across the Asia-Pacific region have in recent years been very forthright in acknowledging the international conventions and declarations that promote inclusive education, there still seems to be a huge gap between policy and school expectations in most educational systems. Many of the less developed countries have adopted the terminology in the Education for All framework and applied this within their own education policies. Thus, country policies promote an “inclusive approach to education” that enables children with disabilities to attend a regular school. Some policies go further and state that this attendance should include appropriate differentiation and support. Unfortunately, this is where the strength of the shift in education seems to end for many of the Asia-Pacific countries. There appears to be an ongoing lack of understanding that inclusion means that not all students will achieve by the “same old” ways and that outcomes will need to be different. In other words, governments promote inclusion through policy, but at the same time continue to expect schools to help students to achieve via the same curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment as the way to be equitable for all students.
As countries across the Asia-Pacific region vary enormously in their cultural diversity and in their ability to respond to inclusion, models of teacher education, likewise, will vary and must be focused on what is contextually viable and culturally acceptable within each individual country. Effective teacher education requires skilled teacher educators who have received full training themselves about inclusion and who are also aware of the needs of classroom teachers when asked to operate an inclusive classroom within the additional constraints of large class sizes and often limited resources. Various models have been applied throughout the Asia-Pacific region with inconsistent outcomes.
Maria Estela Brisk and Yalda M. Kaveh
Bi/multilingual students are becoming the norm in schools throughout the world due to the constant shifting of populations, yet most of the instruction still tends to be in the major or official language of the countries. Teachers find themselves in educational contexts that instruct in one language to multilingual populations with varying degrees of language proficiency. In this new world order, teachers need to be prepared to work with bi/multilingual students in ways that enhance students’ chances to succeed in school by acquiring a new language, learning the content of various disciplines, and developing bi/multilingual and bi/multicultural identities. Teachers prepared to work with these populations know their students and their families, understand bilingualism and second language learning, and understand the disciplines they teach and the language needed to express the content of the disciplines. These teachers are capable of creating quality curriculums, classroom environments, and instruction that support the learning process, regardless of students’ proficiency in the language of instruction. The recommended knowledge-based and instructional approaches for these kinds of contexts are an opportunity to reform schools to be aligned to the reality of 21st-century schooling.
Diane Mayer, Wayne Cotton, and Alyson Simpson
The past decade has seen increasing federal intervention in teacher education in Australia, and like many other countries, more attention on teacher education as a policy problem. The current policy context calls for graduates from initial teacher education programs to be classroom ready and for teacher education programs to provide evidence of their effectiveness and their impact on student learning. It is suggested that teacher educators currently lack sufficient evidence and response to criticisms of effectiveness and impact. However, examination of the relevant literature and analysis of the discourses informing current policy demonstrate that it is the issue of how effectiveness is understood and framed, and what constitutes evidence of effectiveness, that needs closer examination by both teacher educators and policymakers before evidence of impact can be usefully claimed—or not.
Although teacher education has been recognized as a key aspect of educational policy and practice, especially over the past few decades, the research undertaken to inform policy is in many respects inadequate. Drawing on reviews of such research as has been undertaken in Europe, the United States, Australasia as well as other parts of the world, we can identify the key questions for teacher education researchers. These include such topics as the relationship between theory and practice in professional learning, the significance of partnerships between schools and higher education institutions, the relationship between preservice teacher education and ongoing professional learning and the nature of the assessment of beginning teachers.
Three approaches to teacher education research may be defined, and all of them are important in the quest for better understanding of the field. These three approaches are research in teacher education—mainly carried out by teacher education practitioners; research on teacher education—mainly carried out by education policy scholars; and research about teacher education—carried out by scholars in a range of disciplines and seeking to explore the wider social significance of teacher education. An exploration of each of these three approaches reveals that there is a serious dearth of large-scale and/or longitudinal studies that may be seen as genuinely independent and critical. This suggests that there is a large agenda for future teacher education research.
Teaching self-efficacy refers to the beliefs that teachers hold about their instructional capabilities. According to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, individuals develop a sense of efficacy by attending to four sources of information: mastery experiences (i.e., performance attainments), vicarious experiences (i.e., observing social models), social persuasions (i.e., messages received from others) and physiological and affective states (e.g., stress, fatigue, mood). Personal and contextual factors also play a role in the development of teaching self-efficacy. Understandings of teaching self-efficacy, its sources and its effects, have been limited by poor conceptualizations and methodological shortcomings. Nonetheless, researchers have provided ample evidence that teachers with a high sense of efficacy tend to be more psychologically healthy and effective than teachers who doubt their capabilities.