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ERIC Number: ED540274
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 292
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2672-6243-1
ISSN: N/A
An Exploration of Equitable Science Teaching Practices for Students with Learning Disabilities
Morales, Marlene
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Florida State University
In this study, a mixed methods approach was used to gather descriptive exploratory information regarding the teaching of science to middle grades students with learning disabilities within a general education classroom. The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' beliefs and their practices concerning providing equitable opportunities for students with learning disabilities in a general education science classroom. Equitable science teaching practices take into account each student's differences and uses those differences to inform instructional decisions and tailor teaching practices based on the student's individualized learning needs. Students with learning disabilities are similar to their non-disabled peers; however, they need some differentiation in instruction to perform to their highest potential achievement levels (Finson, Ormsbee, & Jensen, 2011). In the quantitative phase, the purpose of the study was to identify patterns in the beliefs of middle grades science teachers about the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in the general education classroom. In the qualitative phase, the purpose of the study was to present examples of instruction in the classrooms of science education reform-oriented middle grades science teachers. The quantitative phase of the study collected data from 274 sixth through eighth grade teachers in the State of Florida during the 2007-2008 school year using The Teaching Science to Students with Learning Disabilities Inventory. Overall, the quantitative findings revealed that middle grades science teachers held positive beliefs about the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in the general education science classroom. The qualitative phase collected data from multiple sources (interviews, classroom observations, and artifacts) to develop two case studies of reform-oriented middle grades science teachers who were expected to provide equitable science teaching practices. Based on their responses to The Teaching Science to Students with Learning Disabilities Inventory, the case study teachers demonstrated characteristics of successful teachers of diverse learners developed by Lynch (2000). Overall, the qualitative findings revealed that the case study teachers were unsure how to provide equitable science teaching practices to all students, particularly to students with learning disabilities. They provided students with a variety of learning experiences that entailed high expectations for all; however, these experiences were similar for all students. Had the teachers fully implemented equitable science teaching practices, students would have had multiple options for taking in the information and making sense of it in each lesson. Teaching that includes using a variety of validated practices that take into account students' individualized learning needs can promote aspects of equitable science teaching practices. Finally, this study provides implications for teacher education programs and professional development programs. As teachers implement science education reform efforts related to equitable science teaching practices, both teacher education programs and professional development programs should include opportunities for teachers to reflect on their beliefs about how students with learning disabilities learn and provide them with a variety of validated teaching practices that will assist them in teaching students with learning disabilities in the general education classroom while implementing science reform efforts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida