Teachers' Views of Student's Self-Determination and Citizenship Skills

By Martin, Leisa A.; Morehart, Lindsey M. et al. | American Secondary Education, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Teachers' Views of Student's Self-Determination and Citizenship Skills


Martin, Leisa A., Morehart, Lindsey M., Lauzon, Glenn P., Daviso, Alfred W., American Secondary Education


Abstract

This phenomenological study examined special education teachers' views of students' self-determination and citizenship skills. Although the special education teachers in this study maintained that self-determination skills help promote citizenship, only one of them added self-determination goals to her students' individualized educational plans and identified self-determination as an outcome of the schooling process. Findings from this study reveal inconsistencies between the teachers' conceptions of self-determination and citizenship and their implementation of strategies in the classroom.

Keywords: self-determination, citizenship, special education, social studies education

In the American educational system, schools are charged with providing preparation for citizenship (Callahan, Müller, & Schiller, 2008), and this mission has been reinforced by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which requires schools to "foster civic competence and responsibility" (United States Department of Education, 2001, section 2343, para. 1). Likewise special education teachers seek to implement instructional strategies that assist students in learning academic content and skills while preparing them for active community participation. The concept of self-determination is central to their effort; it serves as the overarching desired outcome of schooling, as a category of skills to be acquired and a process for guiding instructional decisions. As an outcome in the transition to adult life, selfdetermination refers to the students living as autonomously as possible as adult members of society.

For the purposes of this study, self-determination as an outcome specifies that people with disabilities have opportunities to exert control in their lives and that supports be provided to enable them to take advantage of such opportunities in ways that respect their values, their beliefs, and the customs of their family and culture (Wehmeyer, 2004). This definition is particularly useful because it emphasizes that self-determination is both an educational outcome and an educational process. As an educational outcome, it is growth -oriented. As individuals' capacities improve, they are able to exercise greater autonomy; their emerging abilities require continually setting new concrete instructional goals. This growth-oriented perspective highlights the shared responsibility of special education teachers and students in the educational process. If the educational goal is greater personal autonomy for the student, a function of the special education teacher is to evaluate the student's capabilities and to find ways to assist the student in improving performance through collaboration.

As an educational process, a key component of self-determination is increasing student's self-awareness of his or her strengths, needs, desires, and goals. Using the content and activities of an educational program as a foundation, the special education teacher provides the student with opportunities for practice in informed decision-making. In this view of self-determination, the student's role in setting particular curricular and instructional goals is a "critical educational domain for promoting effective transition from school to post school life" (Wehmeyer, 2004, p. 341).

Review of Literature

The goal of teaching self-determination is to prepare individuals to maximize personal choice in the opportunities and tasks presented by daily life in society (Sands & Doll, 1996). The literature divides this goal into skill areas. Targeted skills include choice-making, decision-making, problemsolving, goal-setting and attainment, leadership skills, self-advocacy, selfawareness, and awareness training (Thoma, Nathanson, Baker, & Tamura, 2002). Promoting students' awareness of and ability to apply these skills is instrumental to fostering their autonomy. Anderson, Seaton, and Dinas (1995) explained that students' acquisition of these skills "increases their perception of personal abilities and expectations for future successes" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teachers' Views of Student's Self-Determination and Citizenship Skills
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.