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Personal Philosophy Paper

SPED 400
22 NOVEMBER 2017

My decision in the type of students that I want to teach has changed over time. When I

first started working as a Teacher Assistant in 2014 I worked in Kindergarten. I enjoyed working

with the kids so much that I decided to go back to school to get my license as a General

Education Elementary Teacher. Since then I have worked two years as a Kindergarten Teacher

Assistant, a few months as a long term ELL tutor for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, four years as a SOL

Proctor, two years as a RTI tutor, three years as a First Grade Teacher Assistant, and five years

as a Substitute Teacher. Over this span of time I have grown and changed in my views and

wants as a future teacher. Working so much in small groups and one to one I have come to

realize that my place is with those students who need a little more help and I have changed my

major to get my license as a Special Education Teacher. My hope, once I graduate, is to work in

an elementary school.

Two strategies that I would like to implement when I have my own classroom or when I

am participating in cooperative teaching are scaffolding instruction and direct instruction.

Scaffolding instruction is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or

structure, with each chunk (Alber, 2014). There was a study conducted in a Florida classroom

that had two normal students and two special education students and was run by a general

education teacher and a special education teacher. The class was broken up into two groups, the

general education teacher led the typically developing students and the special education teacher

led the special education students. The two groups were followed in their inclusion classroom to

observe how the scaffolding patterns of the two teachers worked (Silliman, 2000). The SPED

teacher used an implicit phonics approach where words were presented as a unit whether than

in isolated sounds. The SPED teacher introduced new words and modeled their pronunciation

and spelling. The students were then expect to reproduce these words through choral responding

(Silliman, 2000). Scaffolding instruction can help those students who cannot process large

amounts of information at one time but need it broken up into parts for them with repetitive

practice. Direct instruction uses small-group, face-to-face instruction by teachers and aides

using carefully articulated lessons in which cognitive skills are broken down into small units,

sequenced deliberately, and taught explicitly (Carnine, 2013). Studies were reviewed on direct

instruction and its effectiveness in the use for special education students. In this review it was

found that special education students performed better after curriculum was presented to them

through direct instruction than they did with more traditional approaches (Gersten, 2001).

The two extended professional teaching skills that I would like to develop is the use of

technology for special education students for educational uses. The other skill that I would like to

develop is the use of manipulatives in the classroom for educational proposes. Technology can

be used by special education students to do more than just assistive work. One SPED teacher

states that she feels for her students who are unable to choose electives because they have to take

remedial math or reading to get them on grade level. Because of this she has started using

Google Docs to make a choose your own assignment adventure for her students. The SPED

teacher says that [a] choice board is a graphic organizer that offers students options of tasks to

complete(Nieves, 2016). Also, she provide students with tasks they are required to complete

and a variety of tasks they can choose from and can complete at their own pace (Nieves, 2016).

According to the SPED teacher this incorporates a sense of ownership in the students learning

and builds their confidence (Nieves, 2016). In a study it has been shown that manipulatives help

make math more accessible to special education students (Maccini, 2000). Manipulatives gives

the student a visual to help them understand the math concept whether than them having to rely

on memorization (Maccini, 2000). I plan to continue my education once I graduate and become a

SPED teacher. Part of that continued education is to learn new ways to engage and support my

students in their education and I feel that these two skills are a good step in that direction.

My personal philosophy on special education is that even though these students are

special, they want the same as every kid. To not be treated differently and for others to

understand them. They may need more of my time and may not get what I am teaching them on

the tenth time but that is okay. I will try teaching the topic for the eleventh and twentieth time

and try different strategies until I find one that works for them. That is what I am there for. To

support them. My biggest philosophy in all things is that patience and kindness goes along way.


Alber, Rebecca. (2014). 6 scaffolding strategies to use with you students. Edutopia.

Carnine, D.W., Silbert, J., Kameenui, E. J., Tarve, S. G. (2013). What is direct instruction?

Gersten, Russel, Ph.D. (2001). Direct instruction with special education students: A review of

evalution research. The Journal of Special Education, VOL. 19, NO. 1, 41-59

Maccini, P., & Gagnon, J. C. (2000). Best practices for teaching mathematics to secondary

students with special needs. Focus on Exceptional Children, 32(5), 1-22.

Nieves, Kathryn. (2016). Using technology to empower students with special needs. Edutopia.

Silliman, E. R., Bahr, R., Beasman, J., & Wilkinson, L. C. (2000). Scaffolds for learning to read

in an inclusion classroom. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools,31(3),