Special education instruction for secondary students with learning disabilities: Current instructional practice and teacher preparation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Benita A. Blachman


Teacher preparation, Special education, Teacher education, Secondary special education, Teacher practices, Learning disabilities

Subject Categories

Education | Secondary Education and Teaching | Special Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


In this study, survey research was used to explore the direct instructional practices, instructional support activities, and noninstructional activities that secondary special education teachers provide to their students with LD, the practices and activities they believe they should provide and their perception of their preservice preparation to provide the same practices and activities. The amount of time teachers devote to providing each group of practices and activities was also explored. Findings reveal that secondary special education teachers provide a wide range of practices and activities to their students with LD, with an emphasis on supporting students' content learning. The direct instructional practices that secondary special education teachers report providing most often are tutoring in content areas and learning strategies instruction. The instructional support activity provided most often is reasonable accommodations and the noninstructional activities provided most often are paperwork, administrative tasks, and meetings. In general, secondary special education teachers report they should be providing the practices they actually provide. They report devoting almost half of their time to providing direct instruction to students, approximately a third of their time to providing instructional support activities, and approximately one-fifth of their time to providing noninstructional activities. Almost half of the secondary special education teachers surveyed do not feel fully prepared by their preservice preparation programs to teach secondary students with LD. Implications for current practice and for secondary special education teacher preparation programs are discussed.


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