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Positioning people with intellectual disabilities as the experts : enhancing pre-service teachers’ competencies in teaching for diversity
journal contributionposted on 2012-02-02, 00:00 authored by Jo RaphaelJo Raphael, Andrea Allard
The need for graduate teachers to own their professional responsibilities to engage successfully with students with special educational needs (SENs) in mainstream classrooms has been recognised in educational policies and programmes in many countries for well over two decades. Despite wide-ranging research, questions remain as to how pre-service education courses can help beginning teachers to develop the required commitment, knowledge and pedagogies to feel confident in teaching students with disabilities. Challenges to find new ways to enhance pre-service teachers’ familiarity with special needs children, overcome resistance from some towards including SEN students in mainstream classrooms and develop a sense of efficacy in teaching are common to many programmes. In this paper, we report on a pilot study where adults with intellectual disabilities, as members of a community theatre, were positioned as the experts and explored their schooling experiences and personal biographies with soon-to-be graduate teachers in a 3 h workshop. Taking the lead and working collaboratively with the workshop participants, members of Fusion Theatre used drama activities to develop understandings of strategies that helped them to learn. By challenging the traditional power relationships between those labelled as ‘disabled’ and those who would be teachers, the workshop helped the participants to engage on many levels. Here, we report on the data, analyse the findings and discuss implications for other pre-service programmes.
JournalInternational journal of inclusive education
Pagination1 - 17
LocationOxon, U. K.
Publication classificationC1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article
Copyright notice2012, Taylor & Francis