Educational Practice and Reform <p>The journal is published once a year. The journal is dedicated to promoting and disseminating academic work of scholars, practitioners and students. To that end, the journal intends to create a collaborative academic community which informs practice and engenders educational reform when appropriate.</p> en-US Educational Practice and Reform On Becoming a Professor: The Use of Paintings as a Method for Self-Study <p>Art is an expression of the self and its creation assists in the process of reflectively analyzing one’s own practice. Through this arts-based self-study project of myself as an instructor of the course <em>Narrative Perspectives on Exceptionalities: Cultural and Ethical Issues</em>, I created a series of paintings that supported the understanding of my own pedagogical practice. The importance of this study has to do with the empathic understanding of teaching teachers and the critical examination of myself beginning my career as an independent instructor in higher education. In order to delineate the nature of this self-study project, Arts-Based Educational Research (Barone, 2001) will first be delineated along with the current practices in arts-based self-study projects, accompanied by connections to theoretical understandings of teaching and learning. The discussion will conclude with an examination of the paintings as they relate to my own practice and the suppositions that I have drawn from this process.</p> Scot Rademaker Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 1 10 Professional Identity: The Catalyst for Change <p>Identity is a social construct that is impacted and shaped by the various aspects of our socio-cultural experiences (Moje &amp; Luke, 2009). This article shows how my professional identity as a classroom teacher is also thusly constructed. The findings from the qualitative self-study demonstrate how my personal experiences, interactions with teacher accountability tools, and relationships with students impacted my professional identity in a manner that promoted changes in my pedagogical practice. &nbsp;</p> Sasha R. Ramlal Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 11 23 Collaborators in Elementary STEM: Engineering and Teacher Education <p>This article describes a collaboration between engineering and teacher education departments from two universities in Virginia in the 2015-2016 semesters. Accounts by the professor and the student teacher author are interspersed to describe how this collaboration between engineering students and teacher education students enhanced the skill sets of the students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in elementary classrooms. Engineering students observed and participated as student teachers taught STEM units. Teacher education students observed and participated as engineering students conducted short STEM hands-on sessions. The outcome was mutually beneficial as engineering students learned teaching techniques and skills, while teacher education students learned STEM knowledge and engineering practices. Future idea include co-designing engineering challenges and cooperation in summer STEM camps.</p> Terry K. Smith Kaitlyn Hall Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 24 33 Programs of Interventions and Supports: Impact on Students with Disabilities’ Behavior and Academic Achievement <p>As school personnel consider implementing changes to school structure and procedure regarding discipline and curriculum delivery, they must first consider the school’s culture and the school’s goals, and then consider the most effective ways to achieve those goals. Programs of interventions and supports, such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI), can be tailored to a school’s specific needs based on student population and school data. These programs are multi-tiered and address student engagement and behavior through curriculum delivery. In addition, these programs are designed to use student data as a basis for curriculum design and individual student plans at each tier. The literature that has been examined for this review strongly suggests these programs have been successful in improving student behaviors and learning outcomes, and <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">that</span> there is a strong relationship between academics and behavior. Continued research is needed regarding effective implementation of intervention and support programs at the high school level and the impact of these programs on students with learning disabilities.</p> Jennifer L. Schreiber-Bonsell Andrea P. Beam Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 34 42 Making the Connection: An Approach to Linking Theory and Practice in a Special Education Internship Program <p>In this paper, the authors discuss an approach to dismantle the divide that exists between theory and practice. Connecting theory and practice in teacher education is critical to the work of preparing teacher candidates for the teaching profession. The separation that exists between educational research and teacher in-field practices has forced preservice teacher educators at colleges and universities to critically examine the roots of disconnect between methods courses and field work in schools. However, conversation about the divide between theory and practice in <em>special education</em> preservice teacher programs appears to be scant in the existing research literature. This paper contributes to the literature by focusing on major components of a special education internship program developed through a Higher Education Initiative Grant in narrowing the gap between theory and practice in teacher education. These components include: strong school partnerships, intensive field time, integrating coursework and field work, and reflective practice. Implications for future studies examining the perceptions of special education preservice teachers regarding their ability to connect theory and practice is considered.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Elizabeth G. Belcastro Karen Schmalz Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 43 55 Too Few Chefs in the Kitchen: An Examination of Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers in Special Education <p>The field of special education is in the midst of a scientific revolution that began with the passing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) legislation (Slavin, 2002). There has been a longstanding dispute about how to translate research in education into practice and make the results effective in relation to increased student learning. The debate is centered on what constitutes rigorous research and what elements of a particular design employed in practice create positive student outcomes. For some time now the fields of medicine, agriculture, psychology, and economics have moved forward with their version of what “evidence” is and how it can be used in order to enhance the particular disciplines’ capability to predict and alter outcomes. There is much debate about how certain principles of experimentation in education can assist students in achieving their maximum potential. This examination of the literature and issues surrounding Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) will focus on the problems related to the current research of the field special education, how the objectives are defined for moving towards rigorous research, the opposition to this movement, and the recommendations from experts in the field. One of the more important recommendations is the need to connect with teachers in the field. We need them cooking up these interventions as well in order to best serve the students in the public school system. However, if all the chefs in this situation are cooking up different recipes and wanting the same outcome, we have a problem. The problem, which certainly warrants further examination outside this initial analysis becomes: Can the field of special education employ EBPs in practice in order to enhance student outcomes in an inclusive classroom?</p> Scot Rademaker Copyright (c) 2017 Educational Practice and Reform 2017-09-29 2017-09-29 3 1 56 68