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Teacher Ratings of Social Skills Across Ethnic Groups for Learners with Mild Disabilities: Implications for Teacher Education

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Expertise in assessing and teaching social skills to students with mild disabilities is an important component of teacher education. In this study, 74 randomly selected special education teachers rated the social behaviour of 1, 2, or 3 randomly selected ethnically diverse students in their classrooms. In sum, teachers rated approximately 50 learners with mild disabilities in each ethnic group: Native American, African American, and Hispanic American using the Behavioural Objective Sequence (BOS). Rasch statistics were utilised to determine differential item functioning for ethnically diverse learner groups compared to a norm group of 449 students with mild disabilities. Social/behavioural patterns emerged across different cultural groups that can inform teacher candidates about the need to respond to cultural and individual differences.

Keywords: ethnic groups; multicultural; preservice teacher education; social skills; special education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Brigham Young University 2: Texas A & M International University 3: University of Northern Colorado

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Curriculum and Teaching is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal publishing original research. It uses a balanced and comparative perspective to consider curriculum design and development, evaluation, curriculum models, comparative studies in curriculum, innovation and policy, planning, and educational administration.
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