Boot Camp: The Impact of Real World Field Experience on In-service Special Education Teachers' Current Practices

By Ellen Ratcliff.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 13, 2014 $US5.00

This case study examines former special education teacher candidates’ perceptions about whether their experiences in the Summer Enhancement Program (SEP) were impacting their educational practices. Special education faculty created and implemented an inclusive field experience for teacher candidates at a university Laboratory School. Former teacher candidates who participated in the inclusive field experience were surveyed. Participants responded to 30 statements and rated their perceptions using a 4-point Likert scale. Further, participants responded to three open-ended questions about how their experiences in the SEP impacted their practices during the first years of teaching and their current teaching practices. Results suggest that a carefully planned field experience created by university faculty can provide real world situations that may impact former special education teacher candidates’ educational practices in their current classrooms. Further investigation about how a summer field experience impacts beginning and veteran teachers should continue. The economic viability of creating a field experience versus time and money spent on finding proper field placements should be investigated.

Keywords: Field Experience, Teacher Candidates, Teacher Preparation

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.21-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 769.195KB)).

Dr. Ellen Ratcliff

Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana, USA

Dr. Ratcliff is an assistant professor in special education at Southeastern Louisiana University. Her work focuses on assessment of individuals with disabilities and preparing teachers for the classroom through field experiences. Her other interests include response to intervention implementation in elementary and secondary schools, implementing UbD in the classroom, differentiated assessment and instruction, and preparing personnel for evaluating and identifying individuals with disabilities. She has presented at several national and international conferences. She teaches undergraduate and graduate special education methods and assessment courses.