Innovative Approaches for Preparing Special Education Preservice Teachers




Active learning strategies, Blended learning, Educational technology tools, Preservice teachers, Teacher preparation programs


For years, there has been a shortage of educators qualified to teach students with disabilities. The effect this has on student outcomes is immeasurable. To overcome this shortage, universities are searching for ways to enroll more students into their special education programs, ensure these graduates are prepared for long-term employment, and arm them with the skills necessary to best prepare their future learners. To this end, special education teacher educators seek ways to instruct most effectively during their limited time with their preservice teachers. This article discusses an instructional method to help teacher educators accomplish this goal, drawing on theoretical frameworks related to active learning techniques. Compared to the traditional method of instruction, the blended learning approach affords teachers more in-class time to actively engage preservice teachers with their course content while maintaining a rigorous learning environment. The authors explain how this model can be incorporated into synchronous and asynchronous courses and share valuable online educational resources for successful implementation. Additionally, the authors discuss active learning strategies and video analysis tools to support preservice teachers in both the classroom and during field supervision. All of these focus on equipping preservice teachers to effectively handle the diverse and constantly evolving demands of the contemporary classroom, which may positively impact teacher retention and create a more stable teaching workforce.


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Author Biographies

Dr. Cynthia C. Massey, Georgia Southern University

Cynthia C. Massey, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Georgia Southern University. She teaches special education courses to both elementary and special education students. Before joining Georgia Southern, Dr. Massey taught special education students in the K-12 classroom for twenty-two years. She was a Nationally Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) for twenty years, is currently the president of the Georgia Council for Learning Disabilities (GCLD), and is a co-sponsor of GSU’s Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC). Her research interests include special education educator preparation, instructional technology to support teachers and students in their classrooms, and transition services issues.

Dr. Jane E. Strong, Middle Georgia State University

Jane E. Strong, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Special Education for Middle Georgia State University, where she teaches general and special education content and field experience courses for a dual elementary special education bachelor’s degree program, the secondary education program, and the Master of Arts in Teaching program through traditional, hybrid and virtual synchronous and asynchronous formats. Dr. Strong is a member of the Council of Exceptional Children and the subdivisions of Teacher Education and the Council of Administrators of Special Education. She is currently finishing her term as Past President for the Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education. Dr. Strong’s research interests include special education law and policy, teacher preparation and retention as well as the use of video analysis techniques in preservice teacher supervision. 



How to Cite

Massey, C., & Strong, J. (2023). Innovative Approaches for Preparing Special Education Preservice Teachers. Journal of Special Education Preparation, 3(1), 46–55.



Special Issue on Teacher Shortages