Administrators’ Expectations of Expertise Among Teachers of Students with Severe Disabilities

In this study, we interviewed district administrators responsible for evaluating teachers of students with severe disabilities from nine school districts.  We will compare our findings to current frameworks for teacher expertise, including a recent study examining faculty members’ definitions of expertise among teachers of students with severe disabilities.

Objective 1: Participants will learn about an emerging model of teacher expertise for students with severe disabilities.  Participants will understand how existing models of expertise can be applied to improving expertise among teachers of students with severe disabilities.

Objective 2: Through linking the findings of the current study with previous research on teacher expertise and evaluation, participants will apply the findings of the research to their work as teachers, teacher educators, and administrators.  2a. Teachers will understand how administrators might perceive their work with students with severe disabilities, and understand the relationships between administrators’ expectations and their teacher training.  Teachers will critically examine the relationship between administrators’ expectations, their work contexts, and their teacher education, and develop strategies to apply recommended practices in inclusive classrooms for students with severe disabilities in the context of administrator expectations.    2b. Teacher educators will understand the expectations that face teachers of students with severe disabilities in schools, especially as it relates to administrators’ evaluations of teachers.  They will examine the links between extant models of expertise, including expertise of teachers overall and expertise of teachers for students with severe disabilities.  They will develop strategies to develop teachers’ use of recommended practices in light of administrators’ expectations and teachers’ workplace requirements.  2c. Administrators will examine their own evaluation practices in relationship to the research findings, and understand the relationship between teacher evaluation, teachers’ work expectations, and recommended practices in teaching students with severe disabilities.

Andrea Ruppar, Carly Roberts, Amy Jo Olson