ERIC Number: ED406118
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Teachers' Perceptions about Working with Exceptional Families in Rural Communities.
Carr, Sonya C.
This paper reports on the perceptions of rural teachers who completed the Exceptional Family course as part of a specialized rural training program at Southeastern Louisiana University. A requirement for certification or a master's degree in special education, the course aims to provide an understanding of exceptional families using a family systems approach, to examine special challenges faced by exceptional families, to promote effective communication strategies, and to review legislation and litigation affecting special education. Over a 5-year period, 92 rural teachers participated in the course and completed precourse and postcourse questionnaires. Analysis of precourse questionnaires indicated that most respondents had no formal training in working with families of children with special needs, did not consider close involvement with families as valuable or part of their responsibilities, described rural families as reluctant to disclose personal information and cautious in dealing with the school system, and placed the causes or responsibility for conflicts on families and not the teacher. Postcourse questionnaires revealed that the course had changed the views of most respondents about exceptional families, particularly regarding the value of parental involvement and the teacher's role in encouraging it. Respondents also indicated that their improved understanding of rural families would make them more sensitive and less judgmental. In addition, teachers' new understanding of family systems led to greater confidence in working with rural exceptional families. Fifteen rural teachers who completed follow-up questionnaires 1 to 2 years after course completion indicated that they had a better understanding of rural families, were more skilled in dealing with families, and were successful in encouraging family involvement. (LP)
Descriptors: Attitude Change, Disabilities, Education Courses, Elementary Secondary Education, Family School Relationship, Graduate Students, Graduate Study, Higher Education, Inservice Teacher Education, Parent Participation, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Rural Education, Rural Family, Special Education, Special Education Teachers, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Role
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A