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Philosophy of Special Education

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Philosophy of Special Education

Counseling and Special Populations, Lamar University, Texas

2017 Spring SPED 5301 Q01 AP1 Survey of Exceptional Learners

My vision after earning my master’s degree is to enhance the special education program in my school district by ensuring that special education students receive individualized instruction and support based on their specific identified needs that allow them to achieve at their highest level. To achieve this, I will focus on special education instruction and formulate individual education plans (IEPs) that drive the curriculum and services provided. An IEP is a key component of special education and is the binding document that summarizes all pertinent information, sets goals and progress measures and details the types of special education services the student will receive (Friend, 2014). Inclusion will be a non-negotiable philosophy that will promote a learning community where all students are productive members within a general education classroom. Inclusion does not merely depict the location in which the student is receiving instruction; it is a philosophy that welcomes all students to access learning despite their strengths or challenges (Friend, 2014). I believe that in order to help bridge the learning gaps between special education students and their general education peers, a broad spectrum of services both inside and outside the classroom must be utilized. I further believe that it is imperative to include behavioral, emotional and social learning components into the special education program for students with disabilities in these areas. Education must encompass the student as a whole not just focus primarily on academic aspects.

Special education teachers ensure that students with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities receive effective education in the least restrictive environment. In order to accomplish this, special education teachers have an array of roles and responsibilities. Special education teachers assess the knowledge of their students in order to ascertain their strengths, weaknesses, and needs. With these identified components, they develop an individualized

education plan unique to each student that describes what accommodations and services the student needs in order to access the same opportunities as their peers. They work both exclusively in a special education setting and in an inclusion model where students are being integrated into a general education setting to create and implement core curriculum lessons that allow students to learn more effectively (Friend, 2014). Special education teachers are also collaborators. They meet with parents, teachers, specialists, counselors and other school personnel to discuss student progress, the effectiveness of accommodations and to ensure that schools comply with all aspects of IDEA. Effective collaboration is a direct result of mutual goals and trust and shared responsibility, accountability, and resources that has been proven to be a crucial determinant in the delivery of services to students with disabilities (Friend, 2014).

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