Centre for Culture & Disability Studies
Disability Studies in Teacher Education:
Tales of Resistance
Laura Waite, CCDS, Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University
Date: 4 May 2011
Place: Eden 109
In UK education the dominant discourse about disabled children remains one of “Special Educational Needs.” As such, most universities that provide Initial Teacher Education programmes continue to address the education of disabled children within this tradition. Professional studies curricula are thus broadly based on a medical model of disability, primarily concerned with “fixing” the child that does not fit neatly into the school context. This situation prompts some important questions:
• How do students following Professional Studies and Disability Studies reconcile the fundamentally different constructions of learning difficulties–the medical v social models–that underpin these curricula?
• How do they apply these models to their School-Based Learning experiences?
• What are the implications (and “costs”) of any resistance to traditional, medical model-based practices in school settings?
Laura Waite outlines the processes and outcomes of a small-scale qualitative study that illuminates how students who are participants in both Initial Teacher Education and Disability Studies programmes experience and reconcile competing disability discourses in their curricula and school based learning. Narrative accounts reveal some of the emotional, intellectual, and practical discomforts experienced in attempts to develop effective and coherent teaching and learning practices. The paper concludes with a discussion of ways in which these findings have implications for curriculum design and teacher-educator development in Higher Education and for the development of appropriate school based learning.
For more information, please visit ccds.hope.ac.uk or contact the CCDS Director Dr. David Bolt ([log in to unmask]).
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