Dr. Kevin Finson publishes special needs-teaching textbook

March 8, 2011

Dr. Kevin Finson, professor of teacher education, along with co-authors Dr. Christine Ormsbee of Oklahoma State University and Dr. Mary Jensen of Western Illinois University, has published “Differentiating Science Instruction and Assessment for Learners With Special Needs, K–8” through Corwin Press. The book aims to help teachers adapt science instruction to young students with special needs.

The authors have worked for two years on the published version of the textbook, although they have been working together on the topic it covers for well over a decade. Dr. Finson first worked with his co-authors when they were all faculty members at Western Illinois University. In one project, the researchers paired general education and special education teachers together to collaborate in developing special education and science instruction techniques.

The book explains the reasons behind the need for better special education, provides guidelines and recommendations for working with children with certain specific special needs, and discusses appropriate ways of scoring and evaluating students with special needs. The authors focused on helping teachers apply these methods and theories to the classroom.

“We’ve tried to make it very pragmatic and practical,” Finson said. “We want teachers to find the book useful.”

Despite their geographical distance, the three worked as a tight-knit group during the writing of the book.

“We communicate frequently and work very well together,” Finson said.

Finson plans to use the textbook in his science education courses beginning in the fall. The book is available now through the Corwin Press website and will be available in the Bradley bookstore this fall.

Finson is in his tenth year of teaching at Bradley. He teaches primarily science education courses, but he has also taught earth science courses and graduate-level instructional theory. He has been published in many national journals, including School Science and Mathematics and the Journal of Science Teacher Education, and has edited the international Journal of Elementary Science Education.