The role of the special education teacher is collaborative and requires a specific skill set and understanding of the laws and regulations related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the IEP process, and implementation of the IEP. Additionally, special education teachers frequently collaborate, communicate, and co-teach with general education teachers to provide educational services for students with exceptionalities. Developing understanding of the roles and responsibilities of special and general education teachers in the IEP process and delivery of services to students with exceptionalities is of primary importance in professional practice.
Allocate at least 3 hours in the field to support this field experience.
Because this course does not require you to have a fingerprint clearance card, if you are not a current teacher your field experience must be completed before or after school, or during another designated time when students are not present.
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In person or via phone, interview a certified special education teacher and a general education teacher specific to a grade range relevant to your program of study. Your interview notes will be submitted as part of the assignment deliverable.
In the interviews, address the following:
- Describe your role in the IEP process.
- Summarize the steps that should be followed prior to creating an IEP for an individual with disabilities.
- Describe how you involve parents/guardians and students in the special education process.
- Describe strategies that can be used to ensure confidentiality of information and instill trust with parents/guardians. Discuss other legal, ethical, and policy responsibilities teachers have related to the educational, developmental, and medical services for individuals with disabilities and their parents/guardians.
- Explain how you offer support to parents/guardians of individuals with disabilities. Include discussion of specific types of support and resources you typically provide.
- Describe how you collaborate with the school psychologist and administration as team members in the special education process.
- Describe the special education resources and training provided by your district.
- Explain how you collect data for IEP progress monitoring.
- Describe the collaboration between special education and general education teachers to meet the needs of students.
In a 750-1,000 word reflection, identify the school settings for the teachers you interviewed and discuss the following:
- All team members are accountable for understanding the procedures and guidelines for the special education process. Discuss how you plan to comply with this requirement and explain how you will ensure that other team members understand their roles.
- Describe strategies you could employ for ensuring confidentiality of information and instilling trust with parents/guardians. Discuss the legal, ethical, and policy responsibilities teachers have related to the educational, developmental, and medical services for individuals with disabilities and their parents/guardians.
- Describe how you will encourage the involvement of parents/guardians and students in the IEP process. Include discussion about how you will document all efforts to involve parents/guardians and students in the process.
- Describe the major differences in roles between the special education teacher and the general education teacher. Discuss whether your frame of reference about the roles of educators in the special education process has changed, and if so, explain how.
- Describe strategies that could be used for effective collaboration between the special education teacher and general education teacher to support learning for students with disabilities.
- Data collection should be completed by both special education and general education teachers. Describe specific strategies you can employ in your future professional practice to streamline the data collection process and support team members in the process of data collection.