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An Action Research on Coaching Kindergarten Teachers in an Inclusive Setting
early childhood inclusion
This study aimed to apply coaching to kindergarten teachers in an inclusive setting to develop their profession of special education and to improve the participation and learning of the child with special needs further. The participants in this one-semester action research were three kindergarten teachers, an itinerant early childhood special education teacher, a child with special needs, and his mother. The primary participants were the three kindergarten teachers who received coaching. The mother of the child with special needs also provided important information and feedback related to this research. The findings were as follows: 1.Coaching effectively facilitated the professional development of special education in three kindergarten teachers. During the first phase, the research team built the relationship. The professions of teachers were consolidated via workshops. Then the team systematically and collaboratively made the initiative plan. During the next phase, the researcher worked with teachers to support their implementation of Building Blocks, which is a framework for effective teaching practices for early childhood. The final phase involved an assessment and review of goals and accomplishments of a planfor sustained implementation of practices that had been the focus. 2.During the process of coaching, each teacher had experienced different positive changes pertaining to their professional development. Besides, teachers had become more active, confident, and preventive in their teaching. The study also found the teachers’ beliefs of inclusion had changed. As discussion among teachers increased, their collective teacher efficacy developed. As a result of their improvement of the professional development, the teachers eventually were able to resolve the difficulties of inclusion in a more professional manner. 3.The child with special needs made progress in participation and learning after teachers’ professional development. The child with special needs was able to fully engage in group activities, smoothly transition between activities, and independently accomplish daily routines. The child was also able to generalize the target behaviors across settings and people. Moreover, the collateral changes in target behaviors were evoked. 4.The researcher benefited from the process of coaching. The researcher not only overcame the challenges through reflection, but also gained valuable experience. However, a conflict related to the paraprofessional was irreconcilable. The researcher also found that establishment of equal partnership was critical to coaching and depended on the management by the coach. 5.The operating pattern of coaching was developed as the research progressed. Finally, based on the results, the suggestions were proposed for the future application of coaching and researches.
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