Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Patricia Alvarez McHatton

Keywords

Case Study, Induction, Mentorship, Resiliency, Self-efficacy, Teacher Preparation

Abstract

The attrition rate of beginning special educators has been a constant and growing concern within the field of education (Boe & Cook, 2006, 2008; Brownell, Hirsch, & Seo, 2004; CEC, 2000; Leko & Smith, 2010; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). Four to five of every ten new special education teachers leave the field within the first five years (CEC, 2000; Olivarez & Arnold, 2006) and beginning special education teachers are more likely than general education teachers to leave the field within the first five years of teaching (Boe & Cook, 2006, Boe, Cook & Sunderland, 2008; Brownell, Hirsch, & Seo, 2004; Leko & Smith, 2010; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). Those who have left the field have stated that minimal inductions, lack of administrative support, poor mentorships, and poor school climates were the main causes for their departures.

Using an exploratory case study methodology with multiple-case analysis (Yin, 2009), this study examined how quality induction support (QIS) and teacher preparation affected the experiences of nine first-year special education teachers and further examined how the participants' sense of self-efficacy and their levels of resiliency impacted their experiences. Specifically, the study tested the theory that participating in a teacher preparation program with a strong field component and receiving QIS contribute to the retention of beginning special education teachers.

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