Special Education (Grades PreK-8)
Why Special Education?
- High-demand profession offering many opportunities
- Satisfying career that allows you to work with children one-on-one and in groups
- Draws on your creativity to find every child's strengths
- Participation in fieldwork beginning your first year
- Small class size encourages discussion
- Support for state licensing exams
- Accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
The demand for special education teachers is growing rapidly. Inclusive classrooms, teacher education reforms requiring specialized training, and legislative initiatives for improved education and care have all contributed to this demand. Wheelock has a long tradition of preparing skilled and creative teachers who are passionate about making achievement possible for all children.
The program combines theory and research with hands-on experience and practical skills. The curriculum emphasizes social justice, and we are committed to equity for all children in our multicultural society.
You will learn to design an inclusive curriculum, create a supportive classroom, and utilize teaching strategies that meet the needs of different types of learners. During your field experiences, you will practice behavior management, collaborative problem solving, and formal and informal assessment.
In addition to a professional major in Special Education, you'll choose one of our innovative arts and sciences majors.
Upon successful completion of this major and the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and graduation with the baccalaureate degree, you'll be eligible for Initial Licensure as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities for preschool through eighth grade. This qualifies you to teach in schools throughout Massachusetts. In addition, Wheelock is nationally accredited, which will give you an advantage when you seek employment and if you apply for licensure in other states or abroad.
Your coursework will be complemented by multiple field experiences, including two student teaching placements, one in your junior and a second in your senior years. You'll have the opportunity to observe and learn from experienced teachers in a variety of schools, including public and private schools for children with special needs. Our field sites are located within three diverse communities.
- Boston: Home of the first U.S. public school and winner of the 2006 Broad Prize honoring the nation's top urban school district.
- Cambridge: This school system is enhanced by the noted universities located within its borders.
- Brookline: A metropolitan community that draws residents from many foreign countries, such as Japan and Israel.
- Assistive Technology
- Curriculum, Learning, and Special Needs
- Racial and Cultural Identities
- Teaching Students with Diverse Learning Needs
- Understanding and Managing Behavior
Skills You'll Learn
- Educate children with mild to moderate disabilities
- Design engaging curricula for all learners
- Assess children to understand their learning issues
- Foster a positive classroom environment
- Create modifications so all children can fully participate in the classroom
- Elementary inclusion specialist
- Middle school inclusion co-teacher
- Separate special needs classroom educator
- Resource room teacher
- Co-teacher with an elementary teacher
Graduates of this major will be well prepared to pursue a master's degree in education in order to upgrade their Initial License to professional status and/or receive a second license—credentials that qualify teachers for career/salary advancement.
Complementary graduate study options for this major include:
- Autism and developmental disabilities
- Rehabilitation counseling education
- Speech and language therapy
- Policy and administration
- Reading specialist
- School leadership
- Specialize in a particular disability, such as autism or deaf education