Academic journal article Education

Profesional Competencies among Pre-Service Teachers in Special Education from Their Perspectives

Academic journal article Education

Profesional Competencies among Pre-Service Teachers in Special Education from Their Perspectives

Article excerpt


The movement of teachers' preparation based on the competencies became the most prominent features of contemporary educational developments (Brownel, Sindelar, Kiely & Danielson, 2010). Moreover, it became the most common and popular in the educational community for teacher preparation, and interest in it expanded until it became a hallmark of most teachers' pre-service programs in advanced countries (Fatlawi, 2003). Competency--based education (CBE) is considered to be an institutional process that changed the field of education from a focus on what teachers think is important (teacher based) to focus on what students need to know and be able to perform (based on the student / workplace). It also focuses on the skills associated with vocational needs identified by employers and specialists (Hoogveld, Pass & Jochems, 2005).

The study of competencies developed rapidly in the last three decades. Since its early beginnings, it aimed to identify outstanding performance, to facilitate training, to set out goals and to measure outcomes. The term competency is used to determine an individual's ability to provide evidence suggesting a wide range of information, knowledge and skills related to a specific function (Schippmann, et al., 2000).

In the field of education the term is used with the confirmation of its association with knowledge. The definition of competence differs according to the purpose it is used for and the cultural context (Eikeseth, 2010). The first definition of competency--based education was suggested by Elam in 1971; as he presented three levels for this type of education: basic elements (including knowledge, skills, behaviors, criteria for evaluating performance, assessment of student competency and the rate of progress through the program depending on competency mastering but not according to time or material completion); the implicit characteristics, and relevant characteristics (Hoogveld, et. al., 2005).

On the other hand, the subject of special education teachers' training is considered an important theme in recent years. In spite of the lack of competences in all areas of education, the lack of competence special education teachers was met with great interest (DeBettencourt, 2004). In general, there are two types of specialized programs for teacher preparation: pre- service training programs and in-service training programs. In which teachers acquire competencies that would help them achieve success in their work requirements. This led to the emergence of the concept of training programs based on competences in the field of special education, which have a significant impact on the preparation of teachers for the education of students with disabilities, and providing them with knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help them to understand and solve study and future work the problems (Hoogveld, Pass and Jochems, 2005; Baldwin, 2006).

According to the standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the student teacher in the field education (pre-service course) is required to achieve a set of cognitive and skills standards in areas of: fundamentals, learners characteristics, individual differences, teaching strategies, social and emotional learning environments, language, teaching planning, assessment, professional ethics and cooperation with relevant authorities involved in the child's educational programs in order to enable them to work with individuals with special needs efficiently and effectively (Hoogveld, Pass and Jochems, 2005; Baldwin, 2006). Furthermore, in the United Kingdom, the National Association for development and training developed competences for the qualified teacher including areas of knowledge and skills that should be acquired (Barber, Turner, 2007).

Special education teachers need to develop their skills and knowledge to carry out the burden of the educational process in an effective manner (David, 2001). …

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