Education Framework for STEAM in Special Education
After the Gap analysis SpicE consortium members have been working on preparing the Educational Framework that highlights the important parameters of appropriate pre- and in- service teacher training for implementing effective inclusive STEAM Education for primary students with Mild Disabilities (MD). It is stressed that the multiple and high demands of successful participation of students with MD in general classroom STEAM activities presuppose that teachers should be able to deal with: (a) the instructional demands of each STEAM field, (b) the specifics of the learning needs of each MD group, and (c) the evidence-based applications of Instructional Methodology for the inclusion of students with MD in general classroom activities. Effective teacher training in these knowledge and skill areas require the use of:(a) procedures and tools for assessing teacher attitudes, knowledge and skills before and after the implementation of a program, (b) methods and techniques for enhancing teacher ability to deal with the demands of inclusive STEAM Education, and (c) specification of contextual factors facilitating the success of pre- and in-service teacher training. The combination of results (a) obtained in the context of D2.1 and D2.2 of SPICE project, and (b) reached at after careful literature review conducted by the SPICE partners, shows that: (i) in reference to assessment of teacher knowledge and skills, surveys using questionnaires may provide valuable information before the beginning and after the completion of the training program, whereas Portfolios, Lesson Plans, and Performance Tasks may serve assessment procedures during and after training, (ii) with regard to teacher training in putting inclusive STEAM Education to practice, modeling and performance feedback in the context of problem-based approaches may provide viable solutions, which acquire more power when they are combined with collaborative teacher activities in the context of Experiential Learning initiatives, and (iii) as far as the organizational dimension of teacher training is concerned, training in school classrooms combined with specialized online courses and the use of OERs may be very effective. The aforementioned means and procedures of potentially effective teacher training in inclusive STEAM Education constitute main elements of a meta-methodology proposed by the SPICE consortium. If implemented with fidelity, this meta-methodology is expected to produce positive results for the benefit of all stakeholders of the present Educational Framework, and especially for the students with Mild Disabilities.