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How Do Preservice Teachers Perceive the Role of Parents in the Education of School Aged Deaf Children?

Joan A. Studnicky & Azar Hadadian, Ball State University

It is well documented that children enter school with different skills and learning styles. The source of the differences has been traced to environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors. When these factors are examined more closely, it becomes evident that the most influential factor in the learning process is home environment. The intervention strategies that are employed with the families of newly identified Deaf children places a huge priority on parental involvement. Throughout infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, and school, families continue to be an important part of their child s education as documented in the Individual Family Service Plans and Individual Education Plans.

Parent involvement is a term that has several different meanings among educators. Even with the disagreement on meaning, there is consensus that it is an important variable in the education of children. As Deaf children become school age and parents involve themselves in the education of their children, how is their role defined?

As important as the definition of this role, it is also important to look at how the teacher perceives this role. Until recently, the ideas and beliefs that education students brought with them to their teacher education courses have been largely ignored. According to the emerging literature, preservice teachers have definite beliefs about education as well as distinct images of themselves as teachers.

An inventory was designed to look at how preservice Deaf education teachers perceive the role of parents in the education of school aged Deaf children. It was administered to Deaf education students enrolled at Ball State University. The presenters discussed the results and implications for further research.