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Teaching family -centered services: Faculty perspectives

Michelle Lynnette Rupiper, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


A family-centered approach is recommended as best practice in the field of early intervention and education. However, several recent research studies have found that professionals in the field do not always implement family-centered services. Several reasons may exist for this apparent gap between recommended practice and current practice. This study investigated what pre-service students are being taught in regard to family-centered services, the importance faculty assign to specific family-centered content, and what instructional strategies and outcome methods are used by faculty when teaching family-centered concepts. Participants included 82 faculty members from institutions of higher education across the country involved in the preservice preparation of early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers. Faculty were asked to complete an eight-page survey indicating to what extent they taught five categories of content (Knowledge of Families, IFSP/IEP Skills, Respecting Diversity, Communication Skills and Knowledge of Teamwork). Faculty responding to this survey indicated that content related to each category was taught to at least a moderate degree, but Knowledge of Families, IFSP/IEP Skills, and Respecting Diversity were taught significantly more often than Communication Skills and Knowledge of Teamwork. Faculty rated content in each category as moderately important to crucial for ECSE students with the categories rated as most important being the same categories that were taught most extensively. Faculty reported using lecture, reading and field experience most often when teaching family-centered content. However, faculty based their choice of instructional strategies upon the specific content being taught. To assess what students have learned, faculty used performance assessment significantly more often than the other outcome measures included in this survey. All faculty indicated that family-centered content was infused into existing courses, while 62.5% of respondents indicated that a separate family-centered course was also offered to students. No significant differences were found between responses from faculty who offered a separate family-centered course and faculty who only infused family-centered content into existing courses. ^

Subject Area

Education, Teacher Training

Recommended Citation

Rupiper, Michelle Lynnette, "Teaching family -centered services: Faculty perspectives" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3022660.