About | Courses | International Initiatives | Publications | Links | Home

International Initiatives: Collaboration, Publications, & Conferences


Collaborated with Spain and Mexico on a cross-cultural project to assess pre-service general education teachers' beliefs and attitudes towards teaching children with different disabilities in general education classrooms. One university from Spain and four universities from Mexico participated in this joint project. This project was based on my original study conducted in Singapore in 1999.The collaboration started in 2006.

As a follow-up, faculty from the participating universities above and a faculty from University of Saint Thomas in Houston carried out a comparative analysis of teacher education programs in 2007 to help explain results of the original study carried out in 2006. Results of both phases were presented in Lima/Peru in July 2007 and in Paris/France in July 2008.

Lead two projects collaborating with a faculty from Alicante, Spain to learn more about the nature of inclusion and contributing factors in schools. The first project studied teaming process in schools that contributes to successful embracing of diversity in schools.

The second project focused on how diversity is viewed by educators in schools. Results of these two projects were presented in Alicante, Spain in July 2009 at the Elevent Biennial Conference of International Association of Special Education.

Publications (International):


Rao, S., Cardona, C., &  Chiner, E. (2014).  Special education today in Spain. In Rotatori, A., Bakken, J., Burkhardt, S., Obiakor, F., & Sharma, U. Eds. Vol. 28.  Advances in special education: Special education, an international perspective (pp. 147-183). Bingley, U.K: Emerald Group Pub. Ltd.


Cardona, C., Rao, S., & Soffer, R. (2009). Teachers' perceptions and attitudes towards student diversity: A comparative study. Conference proceedings, Elevent Biennial Conference of International Association of Special Educators, Alicante, Spain. 164-168, ISBN978-0-615-28364-7.

Rao, S. (2009). Cross categorical approach to service delivery: Promoting successful inclusion through teacher preparation. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 5(1), 25-40.


Rao, S. (2008). Lifelong learners with special needs: Paving the path by preparing self-determined individuals. In Lobanov & Skvortsov Eds. Vol. 6. Lifelong learning: Continuous education for sustainable development (pp. 269-272). Saint Petersburg, Russia: Alter Ego, 2008.


Rao S. (2006).  Role of UNESCO in promotion and implementation of pedagogical techniques for continuous professional education to promote inclusion. In Lobanov & Skvortsov Eds. Lifelong education: Continuous education for sustainable development (pp 211-216). Saint Petersburg, Russia: Publishing House, Petropolis.


Rao, S. (2005). Equity pedagogy: Educating exceptional learners with diverse abilities in inclusive setting. In Kashmanova, T. Eds. Pedagogy for Democratic Citizenship (73-103). Ukraine: University of Liv Press.


Rao, S., Lim, L., & Nam, S. S. (2001). Beliefs and attitudes of pre-service teachers towards teaching children with disabilities. In J. Tan, S. Gopinathan, & W.K. Ho Eds. Challenges facing the Singapore education system today (189-206). Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Asia Pte. Ltd.: Singapore.

Conference Presentations: (International)


Rao, S. (2014, July). Diversity in contemporary classrooms: Are our teachers ready to face the challenge? The Fourteenth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations, Vienna, Austria, July 9-11, 2014.


Rao, S. (2013, September). Addressing diversity in classrooms: Using progress monitoring data to make instructional decisions.  XVI National Congress and International Models of Educational research II: research


Rao. S., Cardona, C, & Soffer, R. (July, 2009). A Cross Cultural, Comparative Analysis of Teamwork to Embrace Diversity in Schools.11th Biennial Conference of International Association of Special Education, Alicante, Spain, July 12-16, 2009.

Cardona, C., Rao, S., & Soffer, R. (July, 2009). Teachers' perceptions and attitudes towards student diversity in two countries: A comparative study. 11th Biennial Conference of International Association of Special Education, Alicante, Spain, July 12-16, 2009.


Rao, S., Soffer R., Cardona, C., & DeLapena, A. (2008, July). Towards attaining a color of perfection: A cross-cultural, international comparative analysis of teacher preparation. Submitted to Paris International Conference on Education, Economy, and Society,  Paris, 17-19 July, 2008 (Refereed).


Rao, S., Soffer, R,  Cardona, C, & DeLapena, A. (2007. July) Preparing general education teachers for inclusion: A cross-cultural study. International Special Education Forum, Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) and Centro Ann Sullivan de Peru (CASP),   Lima , Peru, July 8-12, 2007 (Refereed).


Rao, S. (2006, June), Cross Categorical Approach to Service Delivery: Promoting Successful Inclusion Through Teacher Preparation. International Special education Conference (ISEC, 2006). Hong Kong, June 1-3, 2006 (Refereed).

The conference was hosted by The Center for Advancement in Special Education, University of Hong Kong. The presentation was well received and an official from Education and Manpower Bureau, Hong Kong, has requested permission to use the presentation in their professional development of teachers.


Rao, S., & Fancher, D. (2005, August). Transition and Inclusion in Higher Education: Practices to Prevent Disabilities from Becoming a Handicap. Inclusive & Supportive Education Congress,  An International Special Education Conference, ISEC, Glasgow, Scotland, Aug 1-4. (refereed).

International Conference on Inclusion, IISEC 2005, Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity, August 1-4, 2005, by Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress.

Based on a study with freshmen batch of students with disabilities (2004-2005 cohort) at Western Michigan University. Goal was to study first year experience of students with disabilities at Western Michigan University, relationship between nature of transition services they received and their retention.


Lim, L, Ramasamy, R, Rao, S, & Koh, R. (2005, May/June). Transition from School \to Adult Life for youth with Disabilities: Implications for Curriculum and Pedagogy. International Conference on Redesigning Pedagogy: Research, Policy, Practice, Singapore, May 30-June 1, 2005. (refereed)International Conference on Education Redesigning Pegagogy: Research, Policy, Practice May30 - June 1 2005, by Center for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Nanyang Technological University,Singapore.

A collaborative effort between faculty from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, faculty from Florida Atalntic University, United States and Dr Shaila Rao from Western Michigan University. Goal was to study post school outcomes of Singapore youth with disabilities who graduated from special schools in Singapore. Results presented were based on quantitaive and qualitative data collected through face-to-face interview responses.

Dr. Shaila Rao

4813 Sangren Hall | Phone: 269-387-2470 | Fax: 269-387-5703 | shaila.rao@wmich.edu