Accommodating Students with Exceptionalities in Secondary Agricultural Education: Experiences During Student Teaching
Keywords:accommodations, disability, secondary agricultural education, student teaching
Contemporary trends in agricultural education demonstrate a need for secondary teachers to obtain more knowledge and skills regarding accommodating students with exceptionalities. As such, the purpose of this case study was to understand the experiences of student teachers (N = 4) at Louisiana State University as they developed inclusive educational environments and provided accommodations for students during their student teaching practicum. As a result of our analysis, participants’ experiences were interpreted through Dunkin’s and Biddle’s model of teaching and learning that included three key variables: (1) presage, (2) context, and (3) process. Presage variables described the role of the student teachers’ personal characteristics and professional experience in influencing how they accommodated students. The second theme, context variables, illustrated the various situational elements the student teachers perceived affected their ability to accommodate the learning of students with exceptionalities, such as communication with other school professionals as well as local school policies and practices. Finally, process variables, reflected the participants’ specific activities and demonstrated their need for additional professional development and training. Moving forward, we recommend that teacher preparation programs enhance preservice teachers’ awareness of the learning needs of students with exceptionalities through early fieldbased experiences that feature best practices concerning creating inclusive classroom environments and accommodating students before they begin student teaching.