The increased focus on the use of teaching practices that are scientifically valid (based on research) is changing the way in which university faculty are preparing teacher candidates. The question of “does a practice work?” has expanded to include questions about the implementation, adaptability, social acceptability, and sustainability of the practice. This presentation explored the changing dialogue on evidence-based practices and the growing emphasis on the “science of dissemination”, that is the systematic adoption of evidence-based practices. Common questions raised today about teaching practices include:
Can the practice be used with fidelity?
Is it sustainable over time?
Is it socially acceptable?
Can components be adapted based on resources available?
Is progress monitoring a part of the practice?
This presentation provided examples of several popular practices used to support preschool children with disabilities in programs for children who are typically developing. Examples are drawn from students’ work at the University of Illinois. They include: use of visual schedules, social stories, and positive behavioral supports and how the students addressed the implementation.
Susan Fowler, Ph.D. is a professor of Special Education and has spent over 30 years conducting research and teaching in the fields of early childhood education and early childhood special education. She has directed many federally funded projects that focus on research to support the social and academic development of young children with disabilities. Much of her research has looked at factors that support inclusion in community child care, policies supporting early intervention, and the transition for families and children across service programs. Prof. Fowler has held many leadership roles nationally, including President of the Division of Early Childhood of the Council of Exceptional Children (DEC 1991-92), President of the Council of Exceptional Children (2008) and President of the Higher Education Consortium of Chairs of Special Education HECSE (1999-2000). She has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois for 23 years and served as Department Chair, Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Education. She has been the primary advisor for more than 20 doctoral students who today serve in faculty roles preparing future educators. She received her doctorate in 1979 from the University of Kansas in Developmental and Child Psychology.