Self-determination. Are we teaching it to students in elementary schools, and if not, why not?
The ability to be self-determined is an important predictor of successful adult outcomes for students with exceptionalities. However, previous research on educator’s attitudes to teaching self-determination has focused on large urban centres, primarily in the United States and the secondary school level. This study was carried out in a rural British Columbian school district and focused on the perspectives of elementary teachers towards teaching self-determination skills to students with exceptionalities. Respondents were asked about their training, how they currently teach self-determination skills and whether they would like more professional development in this area. The results of this study show that there seems to be a correlation between respondents who received instruction on how to teach these skills during their education training and the number of self-determination components they taught. There does not seem to be a correlation between respondents having received self-determination training during their teacher training and whether they think elementary students should be involved in their IEP meetings. The study showed there is a discrepancy between the high value elementary teachers in this rural location place on these skills and how they are currently taught. Self-determination skills are taught through a combination of piecemeal programs that addressed a couple of skills and informal reactions to teachable moments in the classroom. This would suggest that there is a need for more professional development and/or resources on how to teach self-determination skills in this rural location.