Date of Award

7-27-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Margot Waddington Vagliardo, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Joyce Burgener, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Teri Burcroff, Ph.D.

Abstract

Using a mixed-method case study to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of speech-language therapists in Pennsylvania, this study examined their beliefs and variables perceived to influence speech-language therapists' self-efficacy with regard to their ability to collaborate with regular education classroom teachers. Data from surveys and information from semi-structured interviews were used to answer the following two research questions: (1). What are the self-efficacy beliefs of speech-language therapists with regard to their ability to collaborate with regular education classroom teachers? (2). What additional preparation, if any, do speech-language therapists believe they need to collaborate with regular education teachers? Federal and state laws and practices mandating students be educated in least restrictive environments make it necessary to provide training to speech-language therapists on collaboration. The information gathered suggests that speech-language therapists working in schools in Pennsylvania report having strong self-efficacy beliefs regarding their skills to collaborate with regular education classroom teachers despite receiving minimal to no coursework and clinical experience in collaboration in bachelor‟s and master‟s level programs that prepare individuals to become speech-language therapists. The information gathered in this study also revealed many of the survey respondents and all of the interview participants felt they could benefit from additional coursework in the area of collaboration and they could benefit from additional in-servicing in the area of collaboration. A high number of respondents and all of the participants in this study identified workshops/trainings/lectures along with time spent planning, discussing and communicating with colleagues as the most beneficial means to learn about and develop skills and knowledge of collaboration. A surprising finding was uncovered during this study. Speech-language therapists working in schools in Pennsylvania may lack an accurate understanding of what it means to work in collaboration with regular education teachers. The collective information gathered from the study suggests that additional coursework addressing collaboration along with modifications to other avenues of professional preparation such as in-service opportunities, workshops, lectures and/or time spent planning, discussing and communicating with colleagues are desired and are necessary to ensure stronger and appropriate preparation of speech-language therapists planning to and/or working in collaboration with regular education teachers in schools.

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