2006 Conference General Sessions

THE ROLE OF THE SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER IN EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY USE

Presenter # 1

Najmoul Sadat Mousavi
University of Weifare and Rehabilitation Street Address: Koodak yar St
Tehran
north
1985717443
Iran
Day Phone: 00989121392743
Fax: 00982122401401
Email: sdolab@yahoo.com

The Iranian experience of the role of the special education teacher is presented orally. The research data was collected from teachers, students and studentsí guardians.
Najmoul Sadat Mousavi Assistant Professor of educational management in the University of Welfare arid Rehabilitation Sciences Tehran-Iran.

Students with specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, speech or language impairments, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, and other health impairments are subjected to special educational programs with one major objective of enabling them to use their own potential capabilities appropriately. Obviously to reach this goal, the interaction between special education teacher and special education student in an educational environment plays a major role and technologyóbased instruction coo facilitate this interaction. Although the importance of teacherís role in any educational program has been substantiated, little is known about the details of which technology to use, how and when to use it, and whether it -is appropriate to use the technology in certain situations.

The new theories of educational management emphasize on the point that the educational objectives can be achieved or expected to be effective when the interaction between teacher and students in a class, as the basic educational environment, is managed
ē ppropriately3. Considering the huge number of special education students, the increasingly progressing educational system and the recent developments in technology an Iran, the urgent need for looking at the quality and outcome of the current situation of the Iranian educational programs is more evident. Thus the purpose of the present study was to qualitatively evaluate the special education teacherís role in managing education and technology use in various educational situations during the interaction with students.
Materials and method:
To achieve rigorous evidence of the impact of the role of the special education teacher on the quality of education, a triangulation approach was designed in that data was collected from triple sources; special education teachers, students and the studentsí parents or guardians from the schools affiliated to the region three of Iranian Ministry of Education from April 2004 to April 2005. The participants were 12 employed special education teachers with minimum of five years of working experience with special education students, 10 special education students with physical disabilities studying in the secondary school and capable of involving in a discussion regarding the efficiency of the programs and eight special education studentsí guardians whose children were studying in the secondary school. All the participants were willing to cooperate and fully aware of the objectives of the study.
The data was collected through several interview sessions. In the first session lasting for one hour and 45 minutes data was collected from the teachers through a focus group discussion after office hours. The questions were open ended providing the ground for further discussion and interaction between the teachers. The second session lasting fur one hour and 20 minutes and third session lasting for 75 minutes (in another occasion) aimed at collecting data again in a focus group discussion with the studentsí guardians. The fourth session lasted for one hour 35 minutes interviewing the special education students in one of the normal school classes. All the interview sessions were decided and the researcherís assistant recorded all the information. Even participantsí facial and psychological changes during recalling their previous experiences were written down.


After collecting the relevant data, the video cassettes were transcribed on pages leaving both margins blank for further reflective and marginal remarks3,4. The transcribed manuscripts were qualitatively analyzed and notes were written down on the margins of the manuscripts. To code the motes and find out the core variables, the researcher went through immersion process and developing the concepts through summary writing, selective review of the literature and selective sampling of the data. Thus the process of coding occurred in three stages. In the first stage the notes were analyzed into 132 codes. In the second stage they were more refined and further classified into 11 classifications with specified headings. In the last stage, all the codes and classifications were integrated into three major classes: the teacher roles in relation with special education students, the ideal teacher and the impact of technology on the education process and teacherís role. The codes and the marginal remarks were again reviewed to establish the conceptual framework for discussion. The codes and new findings were given back to the participants for final - approval.
The findings to achieve rigorous evidence of the exact role of special education teachers in the process of education, a qualitative analysis of the data collected from three sources; teachers, students and studentsí guardians was performed and the findings were coded after immersion process. The findings indicated that the role of special education teacher is to evaluate the individualized student needs, act as needed and use appropriate technology. In such cases education is effective and lead to studentís progress. The findings showed that special education teacher needs to consider three important factors in education:
awareness of the variety of roles she/he can play, considering the past experiences and applying the relevant technology and understanding the individualized student needs.

Discussion
According to the results of the study three factors were important in special education programs: teacherís awareness of his role, using past experiences and new technology and understanding the individualized student needs. The results suggest that there are three conditions that the special education teachers can fall into: a. The teacher is using all the three factors in education but they are not managed meaningfully that is each factor is not used in the appropriate situation, not used correctly or not used to the appropriate amount needed. Thus there is not a harmony among
the three factors.
b. The teacher is using all the three factors in education moderately, that is, s/he can relatively understand the situations and use the appropriate technique. The role of such teacher can be effective in education.
c. The teacher is using all the three factors completely satisfactorily. The harmony among the factors is perfect, each is used appropriately to the right amount and there is a balance among them. The result is that in any given situation one, two or all the three factors are used a lot, very little or not at all. This is called the ideal teacher who is playing his role perfectly well.
The recommendation is that the appropriate management among the three factors lead to the appropriate use of technology and decision making in the given educational situation so that special education students can use their potential capabilities. This will eventually facilitate learning and education in general.
1-Smith P, Harris C, Sammons L, Waters J, Jordan D, martin D et al. Using multimedia portfolios to assess preóservice teacher and kó12 student learning. Action in teacher education 2001, 22 (4), 28ó40.
2-Popham W. Classroom assessment: what teachers need to know. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon; 2002.
3. streuber T, Heleness, Carpenter, Dona B. Qualitative research in nursing. Eippincott Company; 1999.
4. Scoot, casebeer. An overview of qualitative research: approaches data collection and analysis. BMJ 1999 April.


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