Teaching in an Inclusion Setting: Support and Training for Middle School General Education Teachers
Because anecdotal information and the literature suggest that general education teachers often perceive that they have been either not trained or inadequately trained for teaching in an inclusive setting, I designed and implemented a professional development module to train and support middle school general education inclusion teachers. This module was created based on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. To understand and evaluate how this module affected teachers and teaching in inclusive settings, this qualitative study included a focus group, in addition to three study teachers who were interviewed and observed in their classrooms both before and after the UDL training. While UDL was unknown to the participants, the framework, the participants found it gave them more tools to reach all of their students. It was also found that teachers felt a tension between wanting to reach all of their students with different strategies but needing to prepare them for standardized assessments. In general, teachers expressed views more along the lines of the medical model of disability. They saw the student as being deficient in skills and working to make these students succeed at the standardized, normal assessments. However, there was criticism about the placement of the students based on their test scores which was more in keeping with the social model. This researcher further found that the need and desire for professional development was conditional as difficulties with recruiting participants necessitated multiple recruitment efforts and a change in the study’s original format.