I began my inquiry by consulting an expert! my first interview was with a grade 4 general education teacher in BC. I asked this individual their thoughts on educating teachers about special needs and what needs to be done for this to happen. Their response was very insightful and brought my attention to a few different areas of focus. Firstly, I learned that there is an overarching lack of training and professional development for general teachers regarding special education. Teachers are not properly being taught the acronyms and jargon that comes with disabilities and therefore aren’t able to clearly understand what is being said when they are provided learning opportunities. They also aren’t being trained to know what different learning disabilities look like, sound like, and feel like. Therefore teachers are less likely to be able to spot a learning disability in their classroom. On top of all of that it is difficult for teachers to know what to do if they suspect that there may be a disability in their class. This lack of training and knowledge can allow students with small learning disabilities to slip through the cracks and not get the support they need in the classroom. Teachers need to be taught about the different resources available to them as well as exposed to different experiences working with students with disabilities in order to feel confident in inclusive classrooms. I also learned from this teacher that there is a whole process regarding funding and support for students with disabilities that often times gets confusing and difficult to keep track of. This is another area that teachers need to be educated on and if the system is not working for their students they need to know how best to support them through different teaching methods and strategies. Overall there needs to be more education for teachers around disabilities ; how to spot them, how best to accommodate for them, and the processes that must be taken to provide support for them.
This interview got me thinking about ways that teacher education can be can be utilized to provide the information that is lacking in special education training for general education teachers.
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