Inclusive education requires restructuring educational provision so that mainstream schools are able to provide for the needs of all students in their communities. To help realise this goal, initial teacher education programmes need to better prepare new graduates for teaching students with complex special education needs, including students with intellectual disability. Concerns about the capacity of current school-based placements to prepare new teachers for inclusive classrooms have led some teacher education institutions to develop supplementary fieldwork experiences. The current study involved an investigation into such an experience and looked at the benefits to pre-service teachers (PSTs) of tutoring a young adult with intellectual disability. The findings indicate that PSTs learned effective strategies for differentiating a programme of work and, in their first year of study, were developing a teacher identity. The importance of aligning experiences with coursework units is highlighted and the need for valid assessments of how well initial teacher education programmes are preparing beginning teachers for inclusion, and what these assessments may look like, is discussed.
- intellectual disability
- teacher education