What do extraordinary special education teachers have in common? They are masters of special education best practices. In other words, they use techniques for instruction, assessment, and interaction that yield optimal student outcomes.
The University of Redlands develops exceptional special education teachers through its Master of Arts in Education, Learning and Teaching with an Education Specialist Credential. The innovative, hands-on program trains educators to teach students with mild to moderate (dis)abilities including autism spectrum disorders in K-12 settings. Candidates cultivate proficiency in education theory and special education best practices. As a result, they’re equipped to make a positive impact in the lives of diverse learners.
Special Education Best Practices
1. Provide Differentiated Instruction
Learning styles among special education students vary greatly. That is why special education teachers tailor their instruction to meet the individual needs and background of each learner. Differentiated instruction ensures that all learners can access the curriculum. There are several components of differentiated instruction. They include defining the learning goals, delivering lessons based on learning style, and continually assessing progress.
The Redlands online master’s in learning and teaching, education specialist degree prepares candidates to provide differentiated instruction in their subject areas and grade levels. Above all, candidates focus on ethical decision-making aligned with the goals of educational justice. They explore ways to improve learning for all students by designing, implementing, and assessing differentiated culturally responsive practices. Candidates learn new approaches to supporting diverse student populations in the 21st century.
2. Master Learning Assessments
Conducting learning assessments is an essential special education best practice. Assessments are useful throughout the learning journey to identify student strengths, needs, and progress. Special education teachers use this data to inform instruction. There are many methods for assessing learning. Classroom observations and coursework, for example, supply valuable insights. By using multiple tools, special education teachers can produce a complete evaluation.
Candidates in the Redlands online master’s in learning and teaching program develop competence in learning assessments. The curriculum introduces advanced techniques for using student assessment data. Candidates learn to collect data from multiple measures and report and interpret the results. To practice their skills, they participate in supervised teaching experiences in K-12 public school classrooms with mild/moderate delivery models and settings.
3. Ensure a Positive Learning Experience
Special education teachers foster a supportive and safe learning environment where organization and respect are key. Encouraging students to follow established rules and procedures safeguards learning. Equally important is demonstrating respect for each student’s culture, socioeconomic status, and language. Special education teachers further reinforce positive behavior and motivate students by regularly offering constructive feedback.
Redlands models the positive learning environment that special education teachers must create for their students. We encourage an atmosphere of community and interaction. The online master’s in learning and teaching program welcomes intellectually curious candidates of diverse backgrounds. Together, they work towards a pluralistic notion of values by challenging assumptions and stereotypes. Small classes enable active participation. Candidates engage in class discussion, work closely with professors, and receive extensive individual attention.
4. Understand Behavior Assessments and Intervention
In addition to academics, special education teachers support social and emotional learning. When a particular student behavior recurs or interferes with learning, it’s time for a closer look. Behavior assessment involves a combination of tools. Special education teachers can track how often the behavior occurs and what happens immediately before. They can also collect observations and information from people who have regular contact with the student. After analyzing the data to determine the purpose of the behavior, special education teachers create a plan to address it.
Redlands helps aspiring special education teachers explore how they make sense of student behavior. Candidates pursuing the online master’s in learning and teaching learn evidence-based instructional practices. These are grounded in person-centered values. Candidates study the application of Response to Intervention, Behavior Support Plans, Positive Behavior Interventions, and goal writing for Individualized Education Programs.
Special education relies on collaboration. Special education teachers, general education teachers, therapists, and family members all play an important role. Collaborative special education teachers boost student success by developing a unified approach to learning. They incorporate diverse knowledge and perspectives to implement effective instruction. Special education best practices for collaboration include maintaining contact with family members and personalizing interactions based on their culture, socioeconomic status, and language. Special education teachers also communicate about evolving student needs and progress.
Collaboration is a focus of the Redlands online master’s in learning and teaching degree. World-class faculty trains candidates to carry out their role effectively. Candidates learn to work with special education, general education, communities, families, and colleagues to provide the necessary services to students.
Master Special Education Best Practices with the University of Redlands Online
Redlands designed its online master’s in learning and teaching, education specialist degree for K-12 teachers who wish to earn their graduate degree while preparing to meet the State of California-approved requirements for the Education Specialist Preliminary Credential with an emphasis in Mild/Moderate Disabilities. As a candidate in this interdisciplinary program, you will become a transformational leader while addressing the teacher shortage in California.
To request a program guide, complete the form on this page.