Innovation in Preservice Teacher Preparation: Undergraduate Research in Special Education
Teacher preparation programs emphasize the connection between student outcomes in achievement and behavior, but the framework of teachers as researchers is rarely presented as a foundational basis of good instruction. Teachers are aware of the need to consider scores and trends and alter their instruction based on the response of the students to their teaching, but the techniques involved are not explicitly taught as research methods in most preparation programs.The initial purpose of including a research course in the undergraduate program of study was to provide preservice teachers with research skills to enhance their instruction. The long term goal is to provide the preservice teachers with the tools and techniques whereby they are encouraged to critically reflect on their own assumptions about the role of teachers. Through the implementation of the current research course which is included in their program of study, students examine ways teachers use single-subject design in the classroom as part of their daily routine in teaching and managing their classroom. Encouraging preservice teachers to learn formal research methods not only prepares them for their classrooms but also serves as a introduction to graduate-level expectations. This essay explores preservice teachers’ views on the value of learning research methods as a transformative event in their understanding of what teachers can do with research in their classroom.
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