Overview of the Teachers
The teachers that participated in this interview are from Green Tree East Elementary School. The special education teacher is Laura Foster. She has been in this institution for the last four years. The general education teacher, on the other hand, is Joseph Anderson. He is a fourth-grade teacher at Green Tree East Elementary School. He has been here since he graduated from college six years ago. Betty Edwards works in the school under the capacity of the school psychologist. She is currently in her fifth year in the institution.
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Question 1: Differences in Training and Consultative Focus
The special education teacher asserts that she received varied forms of training while in school. Her form of training concentrated with the adaptation of an environment with students suffering from disability. Laura’s training focused on classroom management, positive behavior support and special education law. The training involved her being subjected in environments that she would probably find herself when she started her career. All the tools that would be relevant were availed for familiarization purposes. This included lesson planning and curriculum.
Joseph postulates that he did not receive any form of training with regards to special education. His training while in college focused on the general education perspective. He asserts that “everything that I know about special education, I have come to learn by myself through the interaction with students and other staff members.”
The school psychologist says that she has been trained to deal with both general and special education students. She took several classes on consultation while in school. Some of the classes required practical activities for the instructors to assess their ability to cope in a real life situation. Some of the activities subjected to them involved the need of working together, and this helped her to improve her consultation outlook.
Both the special education teacher and school psychologist have received relevant training with regards to special education. The training provided might have been directed towards a similar objective, but it was executed in different ways. The general education teacher is quite candid on his lack of training.
Question 2: Development and Collaboration in Schools
Laura is of the opinion that collaboration is vital for the actualization of the desired objectives within the school environment. This is an aspect that she learned while in school and always works towards actualizing it. She claims that collaboration in her current working place is good. It is through collaboration with other teachers that she is able to learn more about students in order to come up with long lasting solutions.
The general education teacher is quite jovial with this issue. He says that in the years that he has been in Green Tree East Elementary School, collaboration is among the things that he has appreciated. “The staff here tends to work in partnership on anything that requires collaboration,” he said. When he came to this institution, he knew nothing about issues revolving around special education. With time, he has been able to learn a lot from his colleagues. The aspect of collaboration has made this possible.
Betty believes that collaboration is essential if any activity is to be executed in the best way possible. “My work here at Green Tree East Elementary School has been made easier due to the culture of collaboration that exists.” She says that this practice makes it easy to topple several obstacles that might come along the way.
All the interviewees believe that collaboration is an essential ingredient of success. They have all benefited from the concept of collaboration while in Green Tree East Elementary School in one way or another.
Question 3: Membership in IEP and Child Study Team
Laura is a member of her students’ IEP teams. She says that these teams are composed of diverse individuals who bring different contributions to other members. She plays the role of case manager in these teams. Laura is responsible for provision of Specialized Academic Instruction based on the needs of the students. She is also responsible for facilitation and enhancement of collaboration.
Joseph has also been a member of several IEP teams. This is where he has learned various things that he knows about special education. Most of the times he appears in the teams as the class teacher of some of the students involved. This is because he interacts with them regularly, he is deemed to have viable information that would be helpful.
The school psychologist says that she has been involved in almost all the IEP teams that have been formed during his time at the school. Based on her profession, she is normally called upon to give her opinion on different occasions.
The question seems to be understood by all the interviewees. All of them have been involved with IEP teams, but the general education teacher does not elaborate clearly on his exact role in these teams.
Question 4: Concerns and Suggestions regarding IEPs
The special education teacher did not seem to understand this question. Her point was more about the concerns that she has when the IEPs are taking place, and that is how the needs of the students are going to be met. She did not provide a suggestion either.
The general education teacher does not have any concerns or suggestions too. He thinks that things are moving forward in a good way, so there is no need for any changes.
The school psychologist on her part is concerned with the nature of training that different professionals involved with IEPs tend to receive. She thinks that there needs to be a universal form of training. This is because the different training methods being used lead to derailment of activities since it takes some time before all the members can come to a common ground.
Question 5 and 6: Collaboration Opinions
The special education teacher provided a response that was out of scope. She was talking about how she makes her opinion regarding the students’ needs instead of the concept of collaboration. The general education teacher on the other hand, does not think there is any difference in opinion regarding collaboration. He believes that their opinions are similar since he has never heard anyone complain about this issue. The school psychologist on her part thinks that anything to do with collaboration moves in the same direction. According to her, there is no divided opinion on this issue since everyone seems to be content with the current state.
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