The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of teachers who have a dual role, one of being both parent and teacher of a child or children with disabilities. Data were collected in a qualitative methodology (phenomenology) through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with participants about their experiences of being both a parent and a teacher of children with disabilities. Questions focused on (1) how the teachers experienced their roles, (2) how they addressed role conflict, (3) their experiences with communication with parents of children with disabilities and their general education colleagues, and (4) their thoughts and experiences regarding their pedagogy. Twenty special education teachers were interviewed: 11 were parents of children with an educational disability and nine had children without a disability label. While participants included both parents of children with and without disabilities, the primary purpose of the study was not intended to be a comparison between the groups. By having the two groups, it was hoped that an awareness of the experiences of special education teachers who are parents of children without disabilities would strengthen and clarify the researcher's understanding of the experiences of those teachers who do have children with disabilities.
Following the interviews, the statements were analyzed and categorized into themes. An analysis of the findings reveals that special education teachers who are parents believe that their parenting experience has had a positive influence on their teaching practices and pedagogy. Those parent-teachers, who have children with a disability, report they are better able to empathize with the parents of their students, have a better understanding of what it means to be a student with a disability and can bring a broader knowledge of disability and disability intervention to the classroom. Suggestions for pre-service and in-service teacher professional development are offered, the most important being disability awareness and understanding of the parent experience.
|Commitee:||Richman, Laila, Snyder, Angela|
|School:||College of Notre Dame of Maryland|
|Department:||Department of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Communication, Disability, Parent, Pedagogy, Role, Teacher|
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