Topic: Special Education: Inclusive Pedagogy & Online Learning in the Era of the “New Normal”
Thresholds in Education (originally Thresholds in Secondary Education) was first published in 1975 by faculty members at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Their intention was to “explore fresh ideas and viewpoints that may become the pathways to the future,” and for 35 years this venerable journal published four thematic issues a year. In those 35 years, articles by well known educators and non-educators including Theodore Brameld, Benjamin Spock (yes, Dr. Spock), Linda O’Neil, Bill Ayers, William Schubert, Jan Woodhouse, Deron Boyles, Ming Fang He (to name just a few) appeared in the pages of Thresholds doing exactly that: exploring fresh ideas and viewpoints. However, in the face of rising publication costs and the growing contemporary online publication milieu, the last print version of Thresholds was published in 2010. Fast forward to 2014. In discussions between the Thresholds Foundation executive board and representatives of the Academy for Educational Studies, a plan was hatched: re-launch Thresholds in Education as an open access online journal and house it at the Academy for Educational Studies web site. We hope you will visit the Thresholds archive at the Academy for Educational Studies web site; suggest future theme issues and guest editors; and, in short, join us in bringing back into existence an important venue for sharing educational ideas.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2020) 14% (7.1 million) of all public school students received SPED services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) during the 2018-2019 academic school year and 19% of undergraduates reported having a disability during the 2015-2016 academic school year. Life during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has seemingly brought us to what many educators refer to as the “New Normal.” This new normal of remote and/or hybrid learning has presented serious challenges to the general student and teacher population, and those challenges are magnified for SPED teachers, SPED paraprofessionals, and even SPED professors at colleges and universities. Since antiquity, technology integration has been expanding across all sectors of education. However, employing inclusive pedagogy and online learning strategies (e.g., accommodations & modifications) while simultaneously ensuring academic rigor, maintaining high expectations, and meeting the needs of all learners has been extremely difficult in this pandemic period. Never before in our nation’s history have inservice educators and faculty members faced the challenge of delivering content remotely. Although this conundrum was disruptive to all students, it exacerbated issues of access, equity, and inclusion for students with disabilities particularly. This Issue of Thresholds in Education focuses on contemporary K-16 Special Education Inclusive Pedagogy & Online Learning, including, but not limited to, issues of learning disabilities, emotional & behavioral disorders, deafness & hard of hearing, and physical disabilities. Given the current state of education, we hope this issue will serve to partially fill the significant void in the literature on remote learning for special needs students and teachers, providing insights into whether we can or even should educate remotely; and, if so, how we might do so for students with special needs in this era of the new normal.
We welcome essays that invite audiences to engage in the following key questions:
- What major difficulties do inservice educators face when transitioning face-to-face instruction to virtual learning environments for students with disabilities?
- What effective instructional strategies are used when teaching students with disabilities academic, social, emotional, & behavioral skills in virtual learning environments?
- How do inservice educators meet the students’ Individualized Education Program’s goals & objectives while teaching in virtual learning environments?
- How do inservice educators ensure equity of outcomes for students with disabilities when teaching in virtual learning environments?
- How do inservice educators ensure continuity of special education services, academic rigor, & high expectations when teaching in virtual learning environments?
- How do inservice educators assess learning outcomes, formative/summative tests, & IEP goals & objectives in virtual learning environments?
- How do inservice educators maintain &/or foster familial collaborative relationships with parents/guardians of students with disabilities?
- How do inservice educators incorporate inclusive pedagogy & culturally responsive instruction in virtual learning environments?
- How do postsecondary teacher preparation programs prepare preservice educators to teach students with & without disabilities in virtual learning environments?
Possible areas of investigation/analysis for manuscripts include (among others) the following:
- Research & analysis of transitioning instruction for students with disabilities in virtual learning environments
- Effective research or educational based instructional strategies when teaching students with disabilities in virtual learning environments
- Meeting Individualized Education Program goals & objectives when teaching in virtual learning environments
- Ensuring equity of outcomes for students with disabilities when teaching in virtual learning environments
- Methods of translating inclusive pedagogy & culturally responsive instruction in virtual learning environments
- Fostering collaborative relationships with parents/guardians when teaching 100% online
- Teacher preparation program response to the “New Normal”
Author Guidelines/Manuscript Formatting
Manuscripts should be between 6,00-8,000 words, including abstract, list of keywords, appendices, footnotes and references, and reserves the right to return any manuscript that exceeds that length (APA style).
All text must be double-spaced; Times New Roman font with 12-point type required; 1-inch margins on all sides.
Authors should refer to APA for general questions of style, grammar, punctuation, and form, and for footnotes of theoretical, descriptive, or essay-like material.
The journal defers to author preference in decisions about the naming and capitalization of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. Manuscripts should be internally consistent in this regard.