Enhancing Learning Environments for Students Affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: an Exploratory Study of Canadian Pre-service Teacher Knowledge and Conceptions

Jacqueline Pei, Jenelle Job, Cheryl Poth, Anna O’Brien-Langer, Wei Tang

Abstract


There is a pressing need for enhancing the learning environment for students affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). To develop relevant professional learning opportunities for teachers, a logical initial step is to explore the extent to which pre-service teachers accurately understand the unique neuropsychological functioning associated with FASDs and can apply their knowledge of how learning and development influence functions in the affected child. This research builds upon a theoretical framework operationalizing understanding as a composite of factual knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of students with FASD and conceptions of how this underlying impairment impacts daily functions and the consequent potential for intervention by a classroom teacher (Job et al., 2013). The analysis of questionnaire data from 77 pre-service teachers revealed a limited knowledge of FASD and its associated deficits and a lack of ability for applying knowledge to classroom practice. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for teacher education. In pre-service teacher education, knowledge about the causes and impairments associated with FASD can be taught, yet these are not useful in the absence conceptions that facilitate purposeful targeting of root issues for the individual in practice. Finally, we discuss the need for enhanced individualizing of programs for students with disabilities within an inclusive learning environment.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v3i5.955

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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