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Special Education: Philosophy and Purpose



The philosophy which guides the masters' programs in Early Childhood Special Education, Childhood Special Education and Adolescence Special Education is based on the belief that all individuals possess intellectual, social, emotional, and physical strengths that enable them to function in and contribute to their families and the greater society. It is the role of the teacher candidate to recognize these strengths in each student with a disability and work to develop them to each individual's greatest ability. To accomplish this, the Special Education program faculty are dedicated to preparing teachers who are:

  • Knowledgeable in theories of learning and growth, content areas to be taught, developmentally appropriate practice, and the theories, laws, procedures, and programs related to the field of special education.
  • Skilled instructors and creators of positive and safe classroom environments that promote learning.
  • Reflective and effective practitioners.
  • Skilled at addressing the needs of diverse student populations.
  • Collaborative and ethical decision-makers.
  • Technologically competent.
  • Life-long learners.

The program is designed to allow faculty to certify that teacher candidates possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are linked to the six values and commitments that the faculty strive to nurture in themselves and in their teacher candidates: critical inquiry and intellectual development, professional skills and dispositions, culturally responsive practice and social justice education, and democratic citizenship and student advocacy.