Multidisciplinary Collaboration in the Development of Individual Education Plans: Crossing Boundaries - The Challenges and Opportunities for the Teaching Profession
Keywords:EPSEN, Collaboration, IEP, Teacher Professionalism, Communities of Practice
Insights from the scholarly, research, and policy literatures are considered in the light of their relevance to the multidisciplinary development of individual education plans (IEPs) as required by the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004 (EPSEN). While the knowledge base of teachers can enrich, and be enriched, by participation in a collaborative IEP process, teachers’ professional knowledge, even when enhanced by the perspective of other professionals, does not translate directly into practice, and what emerges from an IEP meeting will not be a blueprint for the classroom. Teachers will need to refect in action, and on action, guided, but not controlled, by the contents of the IEP document. If the introduction of statutory IEPs is to meet with more than surface level compliance, teachers must be open to a transformation of relationships, both among themselves and with other professionals and parents.
Key concepts and insights from the literature on communities of practice may provide a helpful lens through which to view issues surrounding IEP development, and may facilitate the design of IEP processes that can mitigate obstacles to collaboration, while being responsive to local circumstances.
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