Special education preservice teachers' changes in self-efficacy to serve culturally and linguistically diverse students while completing their first field experience
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In this non-experimental, mixed methods dissertation study, a cohort of special education preservice teachers (N = 24) from a university-based teacher preparation program in Central Texas completed a modified version of the Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy scale (Siwatu, 2007) before and after they had completed their first field experiences. The researcher who conducted this dissertation sought to find whether the respondents had experienced any changes in their self-efficacy beliefs to capably meet the learning needs of their students with and without disabilities, from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. The researcher also collected qualitative data (e.g., lesson plans) and conducted individual interviews with a stratified random sample from the cohort (n = 5) to gather background information about the participants' prior engagements with members of CLD communities and to discover how they explained their changes in self-efficacy to capably serve CLD students with and without disabilities. Results indicated that the first field experience likely impacted the special education preservice teachers' self-efficacy beliefs to capably serve students with and without disabilities from CLD backgrounds. The majority of the participants (n = 13) expressed individual cumulative increases in their self-efficacy scores at the end of their first internship, and also expressed the higher levels of confidence to serve diverse students without disabilities than to serve diverse students with disabilities. Members of the stratified random sample who reported a decrease in their individual cumulative selfefficacy scores (n = 2), tended to express a more thorough understanding of the complex responsibilities, demands, and expectations that are placed on teachers.