Volume 1, Number 2
Welcome to TeachingLD News, the e-newsletter of TeachingLD.org!
TeachingLD.org is a public service of the Division for Learning
Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Learn about
DLD at TeachingLD.org: http://TeachingLD.org.
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resources and information about learning disabilities and teaching
students who have learning disabilities.
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* New on the TeachingLD.org site
* Reflections of TeachingLD.org: Teacher Preparation Matters
* Guide to the TeachingLD.org.
* Coming soon!
* Joining DLD.
* Accessing the Members-Only section.
* Fine Print.
* Unsubscribing from TeachingLD News.
==> New on the TeachingLD.org site
* Read about the exemplary contributions to learning disabilities of
Deborah Simmons, recipient of the Division for Learning Disabilities'
Jeannette Fleischner Award.
* Learn about the recipients of the Candace Bos Innovative Projects
awards, including Judith A. Erickson, Marcia Donavan, Brenda Swanson,
* Vote in the latest poll about how your school system uses discrepancy in
determining eligibility for LD services.
* Get practical suggestions about teaching phonological awareness in
TeachingLD's Expert Connection, provided by Paige Pullen.
* Find out about DLD's next conference on Bridging the Gap between
Research and Practice in the conferences section.
==> Reflections of TeachingLD.org: Teacher Preparation Matters
The air has turned cold and the leaves have changed colors in many parts
of the United States. Fall is turning to winter (it turned sharply this
week where we live), bringing many changes, including changes to the field
of learning disabilities and to teaching, in general. With the
implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and the pending
reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
teachers and teaching will continue to be buffeted with terms such as
"highly trained," "research-based," and "accountability."
At TeachingLD.org, we are planning new features for the year to help
teachers keep up with legal changes, the status of teachers and teaching
in learning disabilities, and effective instructional practices. Our New
and Noteworthy feature provides IDEA updates on a regular basis. It also
includes more information about studies making leads in the national
policy debate about teaching and licensure. We have planned updates for
our Teaching How-Tos feature, providing up-to-date information about
effective instructional practices from peer-reviewed journals. In our
Members Only feature, we have more tutorials planned, including the next
one about teaching math problem solving by Asha Jitendra.
At TeachingLD.org, our goal is to provide teachers with up-to-date,
research-based, effective instructional practices for the benefit of
students with learning disabilities. With the passage of the No Child Left
Behind Act, the increasing number of states with high stakes testing, and
the proposed changes for accountability in IDEA, there is a political
demand for all students, including those with learning disabilities, to
meet high expectations in the classroom. However, there is a growing
debate about how best to accomplish this task-standard certification and
training of teachers through Schools of Education or emergency or
provisional certification with short training sessions and
Two recent studies have come to our attention that should impact this
debate and we believe are important to our readers. The first (Laczko-Kerr
& Berliner, 2002) matched fully certified teachers in grades 3-8 to
"under-certified" teachers (including Teach for America participants) and
emergency- and provisionally-certified teachers, in five Arizona school
districts that had difficulty filling teaching positions. (Special
education teachers were not included in this study.) The districts served
mainly inner city student populations that were made up largely of
minorities. The certified and under-certified teachers were matched by
student and school characteristics, as well as demographic
characteristics. Researchers compared the Stanford Nine test scores in
reading, language, and math of students who had fully certified teachers
to those who did not in the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Findings indicate
that students who had fully-certified teachers, on average across
subjects, achieved 2 months more growth during a school year than those
who had an under-certified teacher (Laczko-Kerr & Berliner, 2002).
The second study, completed by a doctoral student at George Mason
University, compared first year special educators who were traditionally
licensed to those who were not (e.g., alternatively licensed) on measures
of planning and preparation, classroom environment, and instruction
(Nougaret & Scruggs, 2002). The teachers were matched by gender, grade
level, and type of disability taught. In all three areas, the
traditionally licensed teachers outperformed the alternatively licensed
teachers, with effect sizes in the 1.6 range!
There are many, many more questions to ask about teaching and how best to
serve students with learning disabilities. We bring these studies to your
attention so that you can participate in the debates that are buffeting
the teaching profession. How are teachers going to be "highly trained?"
How are they going to be held accountable for student performance? What
can teachers do when working with students who are struggling in school
for reasons of disability or for other reasons? As teachers, we must wade
into the debate and provide empirical evidence about our profession so
that political opinion alone does not seize the day.
Happy teaching and all the best in the new school year.
JohnL & Peggy
Laczko-Kerr, I., & Berliner, D. C. (2002). The effectiveness of "Teach for
America" and other under-certified teachers on student academic
achievement: A case of harmful public policy. Educational Policy Analysis
Archives, 10(37). Retrieved 9/12/02 from
Nougaret, A. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (2002). The impact of licensure status
on the pedagogical competence of first year special education teachers.
Unpublished manuscript, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
Here's a brief overview of TeachingLD.org so that you can explore the
nooks and crannies of the site or simply jump to your favorites easily.
* About Us: Find information on activities and initiatives from the
Division for Learning Disabilities.
* Understanding LD: Get the basics on characteristics, assessment, and
diagnosis of learning disabilities.
* Teaching How-to's: Read about methods for enhancing content instruction
and teaching reading, written expression, and math.
* Find a Colleague: Build your professional profile then connect with
others to exchange strategies, successes, questions, concerns, and more.
* LD Discussions: Take part in online dialogues about the latest in
instruction, research, and more.
* LD Resources: Keep up to date with our selection of the best resources
for professionals who teach students with learning disabilities.
* Conferences: Learn the "who, what, when, and where" about DLD
* Expert Connection: Read experts' responses to your questions about
common problems in teaching students with LD.
* Teaching Tutorials: Learn effective, research-based teaching techniques
with our exclusive multimedia tutorials.
* Ask the Experts: Interact with award-winning teachers and leading
researchers in the field of learning disabilities.
* DLD Talk: Interact with other members of DLD about activities, products,
events, and other matters.
* Grants: Discover a host of ways you can fund creative projects,
conferences, and more.
* Publications: Get full text from DLD publications: DLD Times, Learning
Disabilities Research & Practice, and Current Practice Alerts.
==> Coming Soon!
These are features that will appear soon on TeachingLD.org:
* A tutorial on teaching students how to solve math story problems,
prepared especially for TeachingLD.org by Asha Jitendra.
* An Ask-the-Expert session on following up on our feature about
phonological awareness, discussing beginning decoding instruction.
* A new feature that will allow you to read the abstracts of forthcoming
articles for DLD's journal, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice.
* More selections in the Teaching How-tos.
==> Joining DLD
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member of the Division for Learning Disabilities today. Joining is quick
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==> Fine Print
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