Mary Catherine Scheeler, Shannon Budin, & Andy Markelz (Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal 14, 171-187, 2016):
It is paramount that teacher preparation programs continually strive toward the mission of preparing effective special educators. Through coursework and fieldwork, graduates must be well-informed professionals capable of improving student outcomes by understanding, selecting, and engaging in evidence-based practice (EBP). Evidence suggesting special educators are not implementing EBP with fidelity underscores the necessity for teacher educators to reexamine our role in promoting EBP in schools. Following an analysis of current challenges, ranging from lack of reinforcement provided to teachers who use EBP to the breadth of expertise needed as contemporary special educators, we offer a path forward. Starting within our own college classrooms, we explore traditional and innovative methods of enhancing knowledge and skills that rely on EBP. Next, we highlight the transition from coursework to fieldwork and the importance of building teacher preparation programs around clinically-rich teaching experiences. We then unpack issues related to fidelity and generalization of EBP by preservice teachers and provide a model for its promotion. We conclude with the critical role teacher educators have in elevating the status of teacher preparation by ensuring our preservice teachers know and use EBP in their own classrooms.