An Online Tacit Knowledge-Transferring Tool for Novice Science Teachers Who Teach Students with Disabilities



  • Special education law, notably the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), mandates that students with disabilities be taught in the least restrictive environment appropriate. For many students with disabilities, this means that they are taught alongside their typically- developing peers in general education classrooms [83, 111]. However, the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education (e.g., science and mathematics) classrooms has created a variety of challenges for both students and teachers. One of the reasons is that many general education teachers, especially those who teach science, have little or no knowledge of how most effectively to teach students with disabilities. Those students are often placed in the classroom without any support from special education teachers, since only reading, writing, and mathematics are the focus of the students’ individual education plans (IEPs). Unfortunately, the skills in which these students show deficits which qualify them for special services in reading, writing, and/or math are the same skills necessary for them to be successful in the sciences. Language-based learning disabilities make it difficult for students to do successful reading for content in science books. Additionally, the specialized vocabulary associated with the sciences is abstract and therefore, it is harder for students with language-based learning disabilities to acquire. These same deficits in language or math skills translate to difficulties with word-problems in mathematics. Consequently, courses such as Chemistry and Physics are particularly challenging for students with learning disabilities. As mentioned above, these are the courses in which the students with learning disabilities may not be provided support from a special education teacher or speech-language pathologist. This is not to say that students with disabilities cannot be successful in the sciences. With minor accommodations, many students who are receiving special education services are able to make the same achievements in the sciences as their typically-developing peers. In fact, it is possible for a student to have a learning disability in one subject area and to be gifted in another [95, 106,107]. Educating a classroom of students with such mixed abilities is a challenge for all teachers [78].
  • Date/time Interval

  • 1990 -
  • Total Award Amount

  • $200,000.00
  • Contributor

  • Corrin Richels   Investigator  
  • Lesley Greene   Investigator  
  • Li Xu   Investigator  
  • Ling Li   Investigator  
  • Silvana Watson   Investigator  
  • Wu He   Investigator