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Enacting Change from Within: Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education

reviewed by Abby Cameron-Standerford - July 25, 2017

coverTitle: Enacting Change from Within: Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education
Author(s): Meghan Cosier & Christine Ashby (Eds.)
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing, New York
ISBN: 1433129094, Pages: 355, Year: 2016
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Enacting Change from Within: Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education lays the foundation to shift the paradigm in education from a deficit model to one that focuses on potential. The text proposes disability studies as a social justice framework from which typically marginalized populations are re-envisioned within the current structure and policy constraints of public education. The book begins by articulating disability studies in the context of teaching and teacher preparation related to special education history and educational policy. The text then examines educational practices – assessment, implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Individual Educational Plans (IEP), Transition, behavioral supports, response to intervention – from a disabilities studies lens. The final chapters shift focus beyond individual students and classroom practices to explore how disabilities studies can be used to examine the broader perspectives and impact on school culture, communities, families, and collaborative practices. Finally, the editors conclude the book by identifying four crosscutting and intertwining themes reflected in their work and the work of the contributing authors: (a) the concept of disability is socially constructed; (b) educators must both see their students as competent and work to further develop competency; (c) social change requires active involvement from those in the field of education; and (d) advancing inclusive practices is a “moral imperative” (p. 333).

This book carefully examines the practices embedded in the collective educational culture of American schools to identify the ways in which we can strive to create inclusive opportunities for all learners. In doing so, the authors encourage future and currently practicing teachers to shift their thinking from a medical model – fixing or curing a disability – to one that identifies and addresses the societal barriers that impact the success of students with disabilities. This is a considerable shift, especially given the deeply rooted constructs and unspoken beliefs about students with disabilities embedded in public education. However, the authors not only acknowledge this but also work to empower those within this setting to challenge the status quo by translating “inclusion orientation into policy and action in schools” (p. 317). Enacting Change from Within: Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education encourages conversation about how pre-service teachers, practicing teachers, school leaders, and teacher educators can each work to see students beyond their labels and “to make room for diverse voices, bodies, and ways of being” (p. 338).

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 25, 2017
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22106, Date Accessed: 12/8/2021 5:44:27 AM

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About the Author
  • Abby Cameron-Standerford
    Northern Michigan University
    E-mail Author
    ABBY CAMERON-STANDERFORD, Ph.D., is an associate professor of special education in the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service at Northern Michigan University. She has been an educator for 18 years, including work both in the K-12 school system and at the university level. Dr. Cameron-Standerford designs and teaches research-based courses on topics such as trends in special education, positive behavior supports, and methods for teaching content area subjects to students with learning disabilities. Her research interests include teacher preparation with purposeful and embedded universal design and modeling differentiated instruction, multimodal literacies, online learning, and self-study methodology as a framework to improve teaching and learning. Her recent publications include Capacity Building Pedagogy for Diverse Learners, in the book Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Models for Next Generation Teaching and Learners (2017) and Toward a Framework for Reading Lived Experiences as Texts: A Four-year Self-study of Teacher Education Practices in the book, Enacting Self-study Methodology for Professional Inquiry (2016).
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