Conference: Fall 2015 NYSATE-NYACTE Conference
Conference Location: Gideon Putnam, Saratoga Springs, NY
Presentation Time/Date: 3:00-3:45 on Thursday, October 15, 2015.
Presentation Location: Geyser Room
Conference Strand: Strand 2: Nurturing P-12 Partnerships and Professional Collaborations
Presentation Title: Finding the Right Fit: Challenges of Obtaining and Maintaining Appropriate Field Placements for Inclusive Education Preservice Teachers
Summary: For inclusive teacher education candidates, it is critical to experience field placements with models of respectful and differentiation-oriented teaching approaches provided to all students. Obtaining and maintaining such field placements in the current reform era is daunting. Discussion of strategies for nurturing such placements will be facilitated within this interactive panel presentation and roundtable.
Finding the Right Fit: Challenges of Obtaining and Maintaining Appropriate Field Placements for Inclusive Education Preservice Teachers
Field placements within inclusive teacher preparation programs enable preservice teachers to be mentored by practitioners in their field and allow further development of the positive dispositions needed to effectively teach students with disabilities. Palmer (1998) wrote, “If we want to grow in practice, we have two primary places to go: to the inner ground from which good teaching comes and to the community of fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft” (p. 141). It is of critical importance that preservice teachers are placed with mentors who have positive dispositions regarding students with disabilities and model respectful teaching methods within inclusive placements. Due to varying factors such as continued and intensified pressure on teachers to demonstrate value-added growth for their students, changing curriculum requirements related to the Common Core and related modules, and a shifting commitment from administrators/districts in relation to inclusive education, such field placements are often a challenge to obtain and maintain. Levine (2006) states, “Spending substantial time in the field can enrich students and aid their learning, and the lack of such experience can impoverish them. Too many students are likely to graduate insufficiently enriched” (p. 42). It is the responsibility of teacher educators to “sufficiently enrich” and prepare students for careers in inclusive education; it is important that we work to overcome the challenges that prevent us from obtaining and maintaining appropriate field placements for our preservice teachers. This roundtable discussion will provide a collegial forum to discuss such challenges and brainstorm ways we can ensure that preservice teachers are placed in appropriate inclusive education placements.
Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. Washington, D.C.: Education Schools Project.
Palmer, P. (1998). The courage to teach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.