ERIC Number: EJ1009572
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 7
Response to Cochran-Smith and Dudley-Marling, "Diversity in Teacher Education and Special Education: The Issues That Divide"
Journal of Teacher Education, v64 n3 p276-278 May-Jun 2013
As a special educator whose research is in teacher education, Leah Wasburn-Moses did not recognize the field of special education described in Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Curt Dudley-Marling's article titled "Diversity in Teacher Education and Special Education: The Issues that Divide," published in the latest issue of "Journal of Teacher Education." They wrote that the field of special education "pathologizes individual students, their families, their language and cultures, and the communities from which they come." They used divisive language such as "deficit thinking," "medical model," and "hostility" to describe the views and reactions of the field. This tradition was contrasted with the sociocultural theory of learning, which they argued dominates general education discourse. In their words, this theory "begins with presumption of competence and of the widespread distribution of human capacity... [and builds] on the language, culture, and background knowledge and experience all students bring with them to school to support their learning." They used phrases such as "social justice," "learning affordances," and "promoting cultural well-being." To which of these two traditions would you prefer to belong? In their discussion, Cochran-Smith and Dudley-Marling devote twice as much space to problems as to solutions. Polarizing our fields does not serve well and places the greater education community farther from the goals we are all trying to achieve. Wasburn-Moses hopes readers will agree that instead of assigning blame or perpetuating stereotypes, we all need to accept responsibility for any schism and encourage more work devoted to bridging this divide. If we in higher education are genuinely dedicated to transforming education through consensus-building and collaboration, we need to serve as models for our K-12 colleagues and challenge ourselves to be first to walk down that path. In this article, Wasburn-Moses presents an alternative perspective to the issues presented by the authors, and broadens the discussion regarding how we can continue to move forward as one diverse, yet united body of teacher educators.
Descriptors: Teacher Education, Special Education, Language Usage, Sociocultural Patterns, Learning Theories, General Education, Discourse Analysis, Disabilities, Social Justice, Cultural Background, Stereotypes, Educational Change, Cooperation, Models, Teacher Educators
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A