This study explored persistence through the experience of professional studies students in a special education licensure program. The context of the study was a graduate level teacher preparation program delivered in a hybrid format of face-to-face and online learning environments. The goal of the program was to prepare teachers from a Native American perspective to work effectively with students with disabilities. The study focus was: the academic and social integration of students; the in- and out-of-class validating agents that fostered academic and interpersonal development; the perceived sense of preparedness to work Native American youth who are identified with a disability, and the bases of these perceptions; and differences between the Native American students and the non-Native students in their experience of integration, validation and preparedness. This study used qualitative methodology including program evaluation findings, individual interviews, a written survey, focus group and analysis of online postings. The participants in the study were 13 non-traditional graduate professional studies students. Results of this study suggested that both the online and the face-to-face learning environments contributed to academic and social integration. These integrating experiences were essential in creating a vibrant and supportive learning environment, and in supporting persistence. Validation was an important factor in developing a sense of belonging in the community, and in fostering self-efficacy as future special education teachers in diverse settings. Validating experiences came from both the face-to-face and online learning environments. Participants felt well-prepared to be a special education teacher in several skill areas: working with students and families, cultural awareness, ability to be a valued part of an effective team, and instructional strategies. Two areas of skills and knowledge were identified in which students did not feel well prepared: special education assessment and the paperwork associated with meeting the legal mandate of special education services. Differences between Native American and non-Native participants included the quality and quantity of giving and seeking support, reaction to challenges, and identified priorities. Key words: persistence, non-traditional, nontraditional, Native American, American Indian, hybrid, online, hybrid-online, integration, validation, professional studies, teacher preparation, special education, disability, disabilities.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. December 2013. Major:Educational Psychology Advisor: Geoffrey M. Maruyama, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 163 pages, appendices A-F.
Patterson, Donna Rose.
Integration and validation in hybrid-online teacher preparation: a case study of persistence in a Native American Special Education Licensure Program.
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