Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Training Program for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): Its Effect on How Inclusive Education Teachers Perceive Their Competencies in Devising IEPs *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Training Program for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): Its Effect on How Inclusive Education Teachers Perceive Their Competencies in Devising IEPs *

Article excerpt

When considering education as a social system, students, teachers, educational programs, educational professionals, administrators, and physical and financial resources constitute this system's most important elements. For this reason, the quality of education is for the most part directly proportional to the quality of teachers (Sapsağlam, 2009). Turkey's National Education Fundamental Law No. 1,739 from 1973 describes teaching as a combination of general culture's private sphere and pedagogical formations. As such, the state's basic expectation from its teachers has been expressed as, "Teachers are responsible for performing their duties in compliance with the objectives and fundamental principles of the Turkish Ministry of National Education," (Çelikten, Şanal, & Yeni, 2005, p. 2, 210).

Turkey's Ministry of National Education (2002) defines teacher competency as the ability to create suitable opportunities and possibilities conducive for teaching others or for their learning the knowledge, skills, and behaviors related to a specific field. In other words, teacher competency refers to the professional knowledge, skills, values, and behaviors necessary for teachers to perform their duties as educators in their specific field (Zumwalt, 1988, p. 204). In the United States, teacher certification, similar to teacher competency, has been defined by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In order to form a standard for professional qualifications in Europe, the Vocational Qualifications Authority came into force through Law No. 5,544 in 2006. In Turkey, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) has conducted a large number of studies on professional teaching competencies (Taşpınar, 2010, p. 6). As part of the Primary Education Support Project of 2006, studies were conducted that endeavored to prepare a fundamental professional development manual aimed at improving teachers' competencies by defining the general competencies of not only the teaching profession but also the private sector. As part of the section on Teacher Competencies in Turkey's National Education Improvement Project, the present study aims to build mutual understanding on related concepts and terms by examining not only all studies previously prepared by the Council of Higher Education (CoHE), MoNE, the Teacher Training and Education General Directorate, and the Federal Department of Educational Research and Improvement (all Turkish institutions), but also documents on competency from five other countries (England, the US, Seychelles Island, Australia, and Ireland) as prepared by the project's secretariat. As a result of this seminal research, the teaching profession's general competencies have been decided to be best defined as main competencies, sub-competencies falling under the main competencies, and performance indicators belonging to these subcompetencies; also, teacher competencies will include not just knowledge but also skills and attitudes (MoNE, 2006).

Teachers find themselves face-to-face with a variety of different students in their classrooms, each with different needs, interests, skills, and backgrounds. A teacher's positive attitude is an important factor in integrating each student in the class (Christle & Yell, 2010). From the perspective of educational quality, in addition to having a positive attitude, teachers should be able to adapt the classroom's physical environment as well as their program and teaching methods to the differing needs of their students; on the other hand and from the perspective of effectively using classroom management techniques, they should have the necessary knowledge and physical skills to effectively manage the class (Kargın, 2004). Not only should teachers be aware that students with different qualities have the right to receive an education suited to their needs, they should also keep this in mind while organizing the teaching and learning process (MoNE, 2006). Teachers should not only be conscious of their responsibilities toward students with special needs, their legal liabilities, and what interventional and evaluative techniques are available for them to use, they should also be able to develop their individual instructional plans in such a way so as to reduce shortcomings as much as possible (MoNE, 2006). …

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