Preparing Teachers for Inclusion: An Overview of Teacher Education Programs

Teachers can “be the future” of inclusion, but they must be prepared. Many education programs today prepare teachers for dual licensure in general and special education so that they can teach all students in inclusive classrooms. This presentation will provide an overview of this trend and offer an in-depth look at two inclusive teacher education programs, one in North Carolina and one in Salzburg, Austria. After this session, participants will be able to: • Discuss how teacher education affects school practices and how traditional teacher education mitigates against successful inclusion and why some teacher education programs have changed to become Inclusive Teacher Education Programs.  • Describe a variety of Inclusive Teacher Education Programs that are operating in the U.S. today, and several that are emerging in Austria and in other parts of Europe.  • Discuss the curriculum changes that were made in order to prepare teachers to teach a wider ability range of students. • Explain the challenges that have been faced by teacher education programs as they have transitioned from traditional programs to inclusive teacher education programs and the limitations of the programs.  • Describe the two specific teacher education programs, one at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, and one at Pädagogische Hochschule Salzburg, Austria including the instructional content and the learning activities included within them.

David Westling, Wolfgang Plaute