Promoting Effective Parent/Teacher Partnerships: Infusing the Parent Voice into Teacher Education Courses through Online Case Study Modules
The long-term goal of this project is to improve the educational, behavioral, and social outcomes of students with disabilities by facilitating collaboration between parents and special educational teachers. This proposal seeks to educate special and regular education licensure candidates about effective collaboration. Parent leaders and higher education faculty will work together to create case study modules that feature parents’ experiences of successes and challenges with collaboration. Consultation with the PEAK Parent Center of Colorado, Colorado’s federally funded-designed Parent Training and Information Center (PTI), will ensure that the project is sensitive to parent issues and concerns through all phases of module development and implementation. Students will experience parent stories through videos, pictures, narratives, and other multi-sensory modes of instruction. Learning modules will be made available through online courses and eventually disseminated to Colorado school districts in the form of DVDs that can be used for in-service training. Modules will address five key areas important to school/family collaboration in special education: (1) student behavioral issues; (2) post-secondary transition; (3) Individualized Education Plan (IEP) development; (4) cultural diversity; and (5) inclusion. The modules will contain targeted goals and objectives to guide university student learning, parent stories delivered through video and still pictures, research-based intervention strategies, resource lists, and reflective assignments based on the module content.
The project aims to effect measurable change in attitudes and beliefs of pre-service and current teachers in ways that document growth in their understanding of family perspectives. This will be evident in documented change from pre- to post-instruction measures with evidence that teachers increasingly (1) honor parents’ knowledge, culture, and goals for their children; (2) support parent-professional teamwork toward the accomplishment of IEP goals; and (3) view parents as partners rather than as passive recipients of teacher-generated knowledge.
To support the goal of increasing the number of fully qualified teachers in Colorado, this project will target the following outcomes:
Teachers will be better prepared to understand family perspectives related to their children’s education.
Teachers will employ recommended trust-building practices that promote collaboration with families.
Student instruction will be enriched by teacher knowledge and appreciation of the child’s broader ecology.
We would like to thank the Colorado PEAK Parent Center, Colorado’s federally designated Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) for their support with this module.
PEAK assists families and others through services like its telephone hotline, workshops, conferences, website, and publications. As a PTI, PEAK offers parent-to-parent support, but it does not hold support group meetings. PEAK works one-on-one with families and also collaborates with state government and the education, rehabilitation, and medical communities to make system changes that improve outcomes for children. As an employee of PEAK, Beth Schaffner, contributed her time and resources to this module.
For more information about PEAK, please go to the website below:
We would also like to thank Dr. Diane Bassett for her contributions to the module
Tracy Gershwin Mueller, Ph.D.- Assistant Professor of Special Education, University of Northern Colorado - content development, instructional design
Rob Schaffner- Co-author- content development
Beth Schaffner-Co-author and parent of Rob- content development
Stephanie Moore, Ph.D. - Center for Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, University of Northern Colorado – instructional design, multimedia development, assessment