About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5184-5194
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain

HOW PRE SERVICE TEACHERS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION EXPERIENCE THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY

B. Gavish

Levinsky College of Education (ISRAEL)
The literature on teacher professional identity suggests that pre-service teachers come to their training programs already equipped with a self-concept that includes images of teaching: beliefs, ideals, and expectations (Hattingh & de Kock, 2008). These images are strong and through them the students interpret their own teacher training experience (Lortie, 1975). The literature did not pay enough attention to pre-service teachers in special education despite the tremendous changes that have occurred in the positions of special education teachers and the demand that they recreate their professional identity (Sindelar, Kiely & Danielson, 2010).

The current study examined how pre-service teachers in special education experience their professional identity in the following spheres: Their motivation underlying their professional choice, the role of the special education teacher, and expectations from their teacher training. The research was conducted using a qualitative constructivist format. The 98 participants were pre-service teachers in special education about to begin their studies at a teacher's training college. Research instrument included an open-ended questionnaire and data analysis based on the principles of “grounded theory” (Gibton, 2001). We found that pre-service teachers in special education choose this profession based on: a. The need to belong to a unique, ethical and caring group that sees its purpose as giving absolutely to a weaker population in society, and making moral changes in the world, in exchange for receiving warmth and affection alongside feelings of ability and control; b. A practical motives that include compensating for past injustices by the education system, acquiring tools that can help them address the needs of family members with special needs, and using the degree as a “springboard” for other therapeutic professions; c. Intellectual motives that include interest and curiosity regarding the unknown features of the field of special education.

The roles of the special education teacher are described in the context of just two “role holders”:
a.The pupils – who the teacher cares for, attends to their problems, empowers, mediates between them and the “regular world”, and instills them with life skills, morals and ethics tools aimed at helping them integrate into society .
b The parents – who the teacher instructs, cares for and substitutes them as a parent to their child.

Pre-service teachers expect that through teacher training they will become familiar with all types of disabilities in detail, and at the same time, they hope to learn about themselves, become empowered and develop their sense of self-efficacy.

Special education is described as a lofty, spiritual, mysterious and closed world. It is a deterministic world: the choice of this particular field is pre-ordained and the person knows his or her destiny many years before he or she becomes a teacher. Special education teachers are seen as soloists working alone on behalf of their pupils, and dedicating their life to them. The pre-service teachers feel that they are familiar with their future occupation, and view training as a means of reinforcing and intensifying capabilities that already exist. Their perceptions of their future role pose a great challenge to special education training programs, which are currently expected to train students for openness, complexity and flexibility.
@InProceedings{GAVISH2014HOW,
author = {Gavish, B.},
title = {HOW PRE SERVICE TEACHERS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION EXPERIENCE THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {5184-5194}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Gavish
TI - HOW PRE SERVICE TEACHERS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION EXPERIENCE THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 5184
EP - 5194
ER -
B. Gavish (2014) HOW PRE SERVICE TEACHERS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION EXPERIENCE THEIR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 5184-5194.
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