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Title:The extent to which new teacher induction addresses the referral process for special education
Author(s):Whitten, M. Elizabeth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Henderson, Robert A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Special
Education, Teacher Training
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to improve our understanding of the teacher induction process and to generate information on the methods, formal or informal, being used by schools to induct new teachers to the referral process for special education. In addition, the effect of the organizational structure of a school on the way teachers used resources or solved a student problem was investigated. Twenty new teachers, thirteen principals and thirteen special education resource teachers, from thirteen schools located within two contiguous counties in Illinois, were interviewed. Respondents were interviewed on the identification of handicapped students, inservice on special education procedures, the roles of organizational participants, the organizational structure and philosophy of their schools, and seven situational vignettes pertaining to working with special needs students. Content analysis procedures were used to develop categories from the interview responses. The data indicate that there were widespread differences of opinion among school personnel on how new teachers learn about their roles and responsibilities relevant to the referral process for special education. In addition, it was found that teachers prefer to have a mentor assigned to them so they can seek assistance when needed rather than receive written information on the referral process at the beginning of the year. There was little agreement on the steps leading to a formal referral with new teachers listing "confer with mentor", "observe student", and "vary teaching strategies" while resource teachers stated the first step would be to "confer with resource teacher" and principals stated the first step would be to "confer with principal". Principals and resource teachers agreed that the majority of schools had Teacher Assistance Teams available as resources for teachers, but new teachers disagreed. Fellow classroom teachers/mentors were found to be the most helpful resource except when teachers were seeking policy or procedural information, then they would go to the principal or special education resource teacher. The data indicated that the organizational structure does impact how new teachers learn about the referral process, but not how they meet the individual needs of their students. Lastly, the majority of new teachers did not feel adequately prepared by their preservice training to meet the needs of the special needs learners assigned to their classrooms.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Whitten, M. Elizabeth
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8924967
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8924967

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