The importance of parental choice, and parents' participation in educational processes, continue to be highlighted in strategies, acts and policies around the world. Partnership with parents is given an even higher profile in relation to educational opportunities for children with special needs. Yet many trainee teachers have only limited understandings of the impact on family life of a child with special needs; are uncertain how best to work with parents; and are not confident about the choices that parents may wish to make for their children. In this article, Chris Forlin, Visiting Professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and Treena Hopewell, MEd student at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, report the responses of a group of fourth year trainee teachers after listening to the story of a mother of a child with high support needs. Their discussion focuses on three themes emerging from the reflective comments written by the trainee teachers after the session: empathy, understanding and personal growth. Chris Forlin and Treena Hopewell review the value of this approach as a means of establishing in trainee teachers a greater desire to work more collaboratively with parents and family members. They also provide excerpts from the mother's story to enable readers to experience the passionate spirit of the storyteller; to further appreciate the needs of parents; and to understand their desire for greater participation in decisions regarding their children. Copyright © 2006 National Council for Special Education.
CitationForlin, C., & Hopewell, T. (2006). Inclusion: The heart of the matter: Trainee teachers' perceptions of a parent's journey. British Journal of Special Education, 33(2), 55-61.
- Teacher education
- Special needs