Preparing teachers for a global, digital society

Special Issue

Teacher Education and Special Education, the journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children (TED)


Preparing teachers for a global, digital society: What special educators need to know and should be prepared to do


Charles Dukes and Sharon M. Darling,
Florida Atlantic University

Peggy Gallagher
Georgia State University

Preparing teachers for a global, digital society: What special educators need to know and should be prepared to do

Scope of Issue

In an attempt to explore and understand globalization in special education teacher education we have been approved to bring together a special issue of Teacher Education and Special Education (TESE). This issue will utilize the approaches and methods of comparative education to bring attention to current work being conducted across the globe. Essentially, comparative education is "the study of any aspects of educational phenomena in two or more different national or regional settings in which attempts are made to draw conclusions from a systematic comparison of the phenomena in question" (Phillips & Schweisfurth, 2006, p. 24). Efforts have been made to learn from comparative efforts, with the intent of shedding light on differences, but also to understand similarities to shape current and future practice (e.g., Tikly, 2011; Wubbels, 2011). We have chosen to use the United Nations description of the globe and identified the following regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, or Australia and Oceania. We are seeking scholarly papers focused on special education teacher education in the context of comparative education.

Special Features of the Issue

In the past, scholarly work in education claiming an international or global perspective has been confined to conceptual or position papers about a particular region outside the USA, work conducted in one country or a comparison of practices in the USA to practices in another country or region of the world. These efforts are not to be discounted, but we believe it is possible to adopt a different approach that will serve to be quite informative to the special education teacher education field. Specifically, we believe that investigations that utilize comparative education methods and approaches fueled by a specific logic that is more expansive and includes comparisons based on a number of different factors (as noted below) have the potential to reveal evidence supporting viable practices. In this special issue, we are asking each author to utilize the same general framework for comparison. As such, each author will first set the context for the work, using guidelines set forth by Bray and Thomas (1995), including (a) geographic/location levels, (b) demographic groups and (c) aspects of education and of society. Each of these are further delineated below for greater clarity. After establishing the context using the adapted framework, authors will then: (a) identify a unit of analysis, (b) describe the work, (c) delineate the rationale for comparison (e.g., similarities in teacher candidate populations, etc.) and (d) describe implications for both research and practice based on the comparison.

Moving beyond simple parallel comparisons of teacher education preparation, this issue seeks to present systematic comparisons based on an adapted framework of Bray and Thomas (1995). We have renamed geographic/location levels, now simply called location. Additionally, we have expanded upon demographic groups, now called other influential factors to include demographics. Finally, we have renamed and expanded upon aspects of education and society, now called education and societal factors. This adapted framework is intended to convey the intersectionality of specific factors within these categories.

See the figure below for a visual representation of the ‘intersectionality’ of the factors detailed above. Take note of the black space within the figure; this point of intersection demonstrates how each piece of the framework might converge, bringing together a specific location, education and societal factor(s) and other influential factor(s).

Adapted from Bray and Thomas (1995)

Bray, M., & Thomas, R. (1995). Levels of comparison in educational studies: Different insights from different literatures and the value of multilevel analyses. Harvard Educational Review, 65 (3), 472-490.

Papers are to be submitted no later than June 1, 2015. The official call for papers can be found here.

If there are questions regarding this process or project, please contact Drs. Dukes (, Darling (, or Gallagher (