Teacher Competence For Working With Disabled Students As Preceived By Secondary Level Agricultural Instructors In Pennslyvania
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The purpose of this study was to identify competencies perceived as needed by secondary level agricultural teachers in Pennsylvania to help them become more effective while working with disabled students. The authors used a random sample (153) of 60% of the secondary agricultural teachers from a 1999-2000 state directory for this descriptive study. The instrument used was divided into five competency areas: personal characteristics, professional role and development, instructional role, knowledge statements, and student leadership and organization. Subjects rated their perceived present and desired levels of competency by responding to a five-point Likert-type scale on 17 items. Frequencies and distributions were used to describe demographic variables. A paired t-test was used to analyze each competency area. The five currently held competency levels rated lowest were 1) completing individual vocational education plans, 2) being familiar with laws that apply to special needs students, 3) completing individual education plans, 4) assisting the student in viewing his/her assets or limitations realistically, and 5) utilizing a variety of teaching methods and techniques to provide instruction for disabled students. All teachers rated their desired competency levels higher than their current competency levels. The authors recommend that inservice programs be planned so that teachers may increase their knowledge base while working with disabled students.