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Teacher Educators' Varied Definitions of Learning Disabilities

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Item Summary

Title:Teacher Educators' Varied Definitions of Learning Disabilities
Authors:Gabriel, Rachel
Lester, Jessica Nina
Keywords:discourse analysis
learning disability
teacher education
Date Issued:2012
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies
Citation:Gabriel, R. & Lester, J. N. (2012). Teacher Educators' Varied Definitions of Learning Disabilities. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 8(2).
Series:vol. 8, no. 2
Abstract:Research continues to demonstrate that the ways in which current federal and working definitions of “learning disability” (LD) are troubling for researchers, teachers, parents and students. We are therefore interested in how teacher educators present the dilemmas associated with learning disabilities to their students, and the discursive repertoires (Wetherell, 1998) that they deploy while discussing learning disabilities. We orient to the idea of learning disabilities as a troubled construct, with people deploying multiple, polarized metaphors and themes when attempting to make sense of the meaning and “realness” of an LD. Since teachers’ knowledge, skills, and mindsets prior to teaching have an impact on their actions and orientations as teachers (Brownlee, 2001, 2004; Brownlee, Purdie, & Boulton-Lewis, 2001), we argue it is paramount to investigate teachers’ first exposure to complex constructs such as learning disabilities, attending to ways in which it is described and made relevant in talk. As such, we present the findings from a qualitative study, situated within a critical discursive psychology framework (Wetherell, 1998), focused on the ways in which teacher educators who were responsible for formally introducing preservice teachers to the construct of LD discussed and defined learning disabilities.
Appears in Collections: RDS Volume 8, No. 2

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