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ERIC Number: EJ1046616
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1354-0602
Masters of Weaving: The Complex Role of Special Education Teachers
Hillel Lavian, Rivka
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v21 n1 p103-126 2015
Special education teachers work under more difficult, more intense, and more demanding conditions than mainstream teachers. Relations between teachers, pupils, and parents are more complex than in mainstream education due to the intensity, intimacy, vulnerability, and commitment involved. Teachers require special skills so they can practice atypical teaching approaches. They require in-depth knowledge of all their pupils' special needs and must know what is required to teach them. They must provide a supportive educational environment that encourages learning, know abnormal developmental characteristics, analyze tasks, and be up to date with current relevant teaching methods. Our understanding of the inner world of special education teachers is deepened through narrative research. In education, narrative research facilitates the close examination of agents of education by focusing on their discourse. It provides an opportunity for their voices to be heard and offers empowerment. Nine experienced special education teachers aged in their mid-40s participated in the study. Most worked in special education and integrated classrooms. The research tools were open-ended life-story interviews In stage one of the analysis, the categories were defined after reading the interviews in as open and unbiased a manner as possible, and the primary themes developed. Stage two involved classifying and formulating the themes based on these categories. The findings, which describe the narrator's own experiences, feelings, and viewpoints, are presented in the narrator-participants' own language. A comprehensive, multifaceted picture of the research participants' reality is thus obtained. The study revealed that teachers who start out as idealists and want to "save the world," or feel confident at least in their own abilities and wish to work hard for children with special needs, are often rudely awakened early in their careers because of the day-to-day complexity of their work. Special education is complex because it involves multiple roles and tasks and because teachers have to tackle diverse problems simultaneously. The teachers seemed keen to remain in the profession, perhaps because special education offers a satisfying career. This study was not just about special education teachers; it involved thinking about teaching differently. Metaphors can be a way to unlock the ontology and epistemology of teachers' knowledge. Using a novel metaphor, "Masters of Weaving," the article invites educators all over the world to participate in a discourse with many voices. In a complex and dynamic world, there are no unequivocal answers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A