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Karen Coxon

June 23, 2009


Connecticut’s Common Core of Teaching (CCT) sets forth the basic

standards that all accomplished teachers must meet. These standards go

beyond simply understandinga certain set of skills and being able to teach

them. They require a commitment to the belief that all students can and

should reach his or her maximum potential. As a preservice special

educator, these general standards fit squarely into my belief that, as George

Evans has said, “[e]very student can learn. Just not on the same day or in

the same way” (Waypoint Corvallis, 2008).

Discipline-Based Professional Teaching Standards for Teachers of

Special Education are set forth within the CCT. Because special educators

are an integral part of all aspects of education, this section requires them

tobe knowledgeable in many content areas. Special education teachers are

required to not only have a knowledge of how students learn mathematics,

including mathematical reading and problem solving, but they must also

understand how students learn to read and respond to text, and understand

reading and writing as interactive processes. Because special educators are

likely to encounter a diverse student population, including those students

with various handicaps, they must also have a knowledge of various

disabilities and their impact on classroom performance. They must be able

to implement instructional materials, including adaptive equipment and

technological resources. In addition, they must know how to appropriately

use assessment strategies and instruments and understand the law as it

applies to student assessment. Special educators must implement

strategies to facilitate student learning and behavior management, and they

must be able to effectively negotiate and resolve conflicts. In addition, a

special educator must apply occupational and life skills to the curriculum and

understand how to promote independent living and employment.

I believe that an inclusive classroom is the best way to allow learners

of all abilities to benefit from each other. Section IV of the Special Education

section of the CCT requires that special education teachers know and use a

variety of strategies and resources to meet students’ particular learning

needs and goals. As a special educator, my challenge will be to provide a

positive learning environment that will support learning for students with

very different levels of skills and interests - so different, in fact, that certain

of these students have traditionally been excluded from the general

education classroom (Tozer, Senese & Violas, 2009). I will accomplish this

by first expecting all students in my classroom to respect every individual

regardless of what or how they are learning. Further, I hope to foster a

learning environment where accelerated learners will serve as partners to

their fellow peers who may need a little time or help grasping the

educational concepts. I hope to accomplish this by implementing

instructional technology in my classroom and providing opportunities for

groups of diverse learners to work together. I believe that instructional

technology, such as computer software programs, helps learners of all

abilities because it offers various opportunities to achieve.

Collaboration with parents, the community and fellow educators is an

essential element of teaching all children, and is required by Sections II and
III of the Special Education section of the CCT. Parental support is crucial in

the development of children, and education must be reinforcedin the home

to ensure that learning is a life-long priority. To accomplish this, my

classroom will always be open for parents to observe andparticipate in

activities. I will bring the classroom to the community by showcasing

students’ work at community events, and I will invite members of the

community to teach my students about various professions. Collaboration

between special and general educators is crucial as well. All educators

should function together and offer each other support in order to provide a

rich learning environment to all students.

In order to be a good teacher, I must also be a good learner. I hope to

continuously learn from my teaching experiences by constantly reflecting on

my teaching practices and pedagogical theories. In order to be a reflective

practitioner, I must know what my teaching goals are and I must carefully

collect and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of my teaching

strategies. I must be willing to respond to the diverse learning needs of all of

my students with flexibility and reflexivity, and I must maintain an open-

minded attitude in order to provide a safe environment in which to share

ideas. Reexamining and reevaluating my practices must be done to ensure

that students with special needs are able to reach their maximum potential.


Waypoint Corvallis (2008). Education Quotes. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from

Tozer, S., Senese, G., & Violas, P. C. (2009). School and society: historical

contemporary perspectives. New York: McGraw-Hill.