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ERIC Number: EJ810662
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
First-Year Special Educators' Relationships with Their General Education Colleagues
Griffin, Cynthia C.; Kilgore, Karen L.; Winn, Judith A.; Otis-Wilborn, Amy
Teacher Education Quarterly, v35 n1 p141-157 Win 2008
During the past decade, researchers in special education have begun to investigate the unique and complex challenges encountered by novice special educators. These investigations have documented numerous factors in special education settings that contribute to the stresses of the first year of teaching for them, including: role ambiguity, students posing complex behavioral and academic challenges, large caseloads, insufficient curricular and technical resources, inadequate administrative support, inadequate time for planning, few opportunities for collaboration and professional development, and excessive procedural demands. In this article, the authors begin with a review of pertinent literature regarding novice teachers, with a focus on the changing roles of special educators, relationships between novice teachers and their colleagues, and accessibility of the general education curriculum to students with disabilities. They then describe a three-year, federally-funded research project that focused on the problems and accomplishments of first-year special educators. In the first two years of the study, qualitative data from graduates of teacher education programs in special education at the University of Florida (UF) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) were collected. In the third year, a survey instrument to all first-year special educators teaching in the states of Florida and Wisconsin during the Spring of 2000, regardless of the program from which they graduated, was administered. In this article, the authors present only qualitative and quantitative data related specifically to first-year special educators' problems and accomplishments and their relationships and interactions with their general education colleagues. Findings from this study suggest that supportive relationships with general education teachers are important to the professional lives of novice special educators. Helping beginning teachers develop the skills to work in, and advance, a collaborative school culture may be one way that teacher educators and school administrators can begin to foster these relationships. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Intermediate Grades; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Wisconsin