U.S.teachers are increasingly expected to teach special needs students in general ed classes but teacher preparation & district induction may not adequately provide for the training & support they need to be effective. Research shows that background, teacher training, & teaching context may shape new teachers. This study sought to discover how teachers view the influence of these factors, as well as how personal dispositions impact their practice. New teachers with special needs students in their classes were chosen as participants. Data was collected via interviews, observations and document review. Case studies were developed and analyzed for similarities & differences among teachers on their views of the influence of these key factors. Findings suggest background influenced teachers’career decisions; teacher education helped develop an anticipation of having special needs students in their classrooms,
Louise Talarico, MacKenzie.
Dr. Talarico MacKenzie has 30 years experience in general and special education,including K-12 and post-secondary teaching, administration, and advocacy. She has traveled to China to instruct Chinese teachers and lectured on special education at Hong Kong University. Currently she is an Instructor of English Skills in Santa Barbara, California.