Publication Details

Woodcock, S. & Vialle, W. (2010). The potential to learn: pre-service teachers' proposed use of instructional strategies for students with a learning disability. Contemporary Issues In Education Research, 3 (10), 27-38.


Over recent years, moves toward the inclusion of students with special needs in mainstream classrooms has brought about increasing attention to the way general education teachers perceive these students. Commensurate with this has been a growing interest in what may constitute educational success for children with special needs in mainstream classrooms, plus the ability of general education teachers to provide effective and appropriate instruction for them. It is known that teachers form beliefs about the process of teaching during their pre-service training and also that once a belief has been held for a long time, it becomes extremely difficult to change (Bandura, 1977, and Liljedahl, 2005). With learning disabilities being one of the most common disabilities in the classroom (Clark, 1997, and Clark & Artiles, 2000), it was considered that the need to further explore pre-service teachers’ perceived use of instructional strategies in relation to students who have what is termed learning disabilities, is indeed critical. This study looked at the instructional strategies Australian pre-service teachers reported they would use for students with a learning disability compared to students without a learning disability. The findings show that pre-service teachers favour more direct teacher-centred instructional strategies for students with a learning disability and more learner-centred instructional strategies for students without a learning disability. The greatest discrepancy in strategy use between the two groups of students was the higher cognitive level instructional strategies within a learner-centred environment. Pre-service teachers would use these strategies more frequently with students who do not have a learning disability. Implications for future practice and recommendations for future research are presented.

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