Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Views from the Field: Program Directors' Perceptions of Teacher Education and the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Views from the Field: Program Directors' Perceptions of Teacher Education and the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Article excerpt

A RANDOM SAMPLE of directors of programs for the deaf in North America were surveyed to get their views about the skills that teacher education programs need to be teaching future teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The directors were queried about literacy practices, classroom management strategies, and communication strategies used in their programs, and were encouraged to comment freely on the questionnaire items presented to them. Program directors predicted a need for more itinerant and resource teachers. The survey also revealed that programs for the deaf are highly behaviorist (i.e., You do this and you'll get that) in the way they induce students to learn and in how they manage student behavior.

Surveying the potential employers of graduates of a teacher education program should be a regular and integral part of teacher preparation. In fact, this is an activity that is required by both the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CED Standard 1.1, Design of Curriculum, requires teacher education programs to be designed so that "each curriculum reflects the institution's philosophy regarding education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing and personnel preparation, its conception of the role of the teacher, and its program objectives" (Council on Education of the Deaf, 2003, p. 1). In Standard 1.1, CED also requests that site evaluators look for evidence that "reflects the institution's analysis of the professional school positions for which candidates are being prepared" (Council on Education of the Deaf, 2003, p. 2). NCATE requests very similar data from members of the professional community, including employers (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2002). Both of these national teacher accrediting agencies expect teacher education programs to maintain contact with the schools and to incorporate the relevant information gained from employers into the teacher preparation curriculum (Council on Education of the Deaf, 2003; National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2002).

Asking program directors, principals, special education directors, and superintendents of schools for the deaf for their input about the levels of preparation they were expecting in the new teachers they are hiring, the communication and teaching skills they expect their new teachers to possess, and the types of teaching positions they anticipate in the future provides useful information for teacher preparation programs in the area of deafness.

The University of Southern Mississippi surveyed the directors of 100 randomly selected programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in the United States and Canada to obtain information about the competencies they were seeking in the teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing they are employing and to sample their program's practices in literacy, communication, classroom management, and other skills. Because this was a random survey of programs throughout North America, the information that was obtained may be useful to teacher education programs throughout North America.

Method

Program Director Participants

The participants in the present study were directors of programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing throughout the United States and Canada. A total of 100 program directors were contacted via e-mail after being randomly selected from the 643 educational programs listed in the 2004 reference issue of the American Annals of the Deaf ("Educational Programs for Deaf Students," 2004). A computer-generated random number table was used. Of the 100 directors contacted, 19 returned completed surveys.

Instrument

The instrument used in the present study was a 30-item survey (see Appendix) we developed that was based on more than 30 years of experience in teacher education and in consulting with and evaluating programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students. …

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