Short-Term Fun or Long-Term Outcomes? The Effects of Authentic Pedagogy on the Dispositional Development of College Students Learning about the Educational Needs of Children with Disabilities

Laura Bassette, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Ruth Jefferson, Ed.D. 
Matthew Stuve, Ph.D.
Anthony Mangino, M.A.

Ball State University

Abstract

The incorporation of authentic experiences that include direct interactions with people with disabilities may facilitate increased understanding of people with disabilities; a topic of particular relevance to preservice teachers. This study used a survey to explore five dispositional constructs (i.e., comfort interacting with people with disabilities; community engagement; ethical leadership; empathy, and emotion regulation) in university students enrolled in a special education course. One version included “immersive” components (i.e., direct contact with children with disabilities); the other used traditional pedagogy (i.e., no direct contact with children with disabilities). Post survey results demonstrated significant increases in community engagement and ethical leadership in both groups. Three-year follow-up data from the participants in the “immersive” group suggest the authentic experience influenced career paths and inclusive teaching practices. Limitations of the study and future research related to experiences that include direct contact with children with disabilities in preservice teacher education are discussed.

Keywords: teacher preparation, field-based experiences, affective assessment, dispositions

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