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
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 an arts and sciences major.
Upon successful completion of this major, you'll be eligible for an initial license as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade). This license qualifies you to teach in public or private schools in Massachusetts and to apply for the corresponding license in Rhode Island. 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 in your junior and 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
- Managing Behavior
- Racial and Cultural Identities
- Teaching Students with Diverse Learning Needs
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
- Preschool teacher in an inclusive classroom
- Resource room teacher
- Camp director
Graduates of this major are eligible to apply to Wheelock's unique master's degree program in Integrated Elementary and Special Education. Such students earn a master's degree, upgrade their initial license to professional status, and receive a second license in Elementary Education—all credentials that qualify teachers for career/salary advancement.
Other complementary graduate study options:
- 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