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Field Observation of Special Education 1

Field Observation of Special Education

Tessie M. Christie

College of Southern Nevada


Field Observation of Special Education 2

Abstract

This paper explores my experiences and observations in a special education classroom. The

paper provides the relationships between my observations in the classroom and the topics learned

in our textbook, Special Education in Contemporary Society. Different themes are explored and

related to students IEP and special education classification. Observation in multiple classroom

environments is compared along with multiple special education teachers teaching techniques

being compared. I explore which teaching methods I preferred and would translate into my own

classroom in the future.


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Field Observation of Special Education

Classroom Environments

A classroom environment has a major impact on students and their learning capabilities. I

was able to observe in three different classrooms. The first classroom was where I spent most of

my observation time. The class was spread out evenly with very future desks, there were two

different computer station areas in case a student needed separation from his class mates. There

was a reading corner with bean bags to make the students more comfortable. The schedule was

not posted and the rules were no posted because the teacher did not want the students focusing

on that instead of the lesson. The classroom was covered in color all around to make the students

feel happy and excited which makes their learning interactions a little bit better. At each schedule

change there were only at most five students in the class at a time and mostly consisted of boys.

The students in this special education class had emotional and behavioral disabilities.

The second classroom was a second grade fully autism classroom. There were almost

twenty students mostly consisting of boys. The classroom was set up in group tables. There was

a reading corner and a toy corner. Rules and the schedule were posted clear for the students to

see. Overall the classroom did not feel inviting, there was no color in the classroom and it

seemed very dull.

The third classroom was a fifth grade fully autism classroom. The class was made of six

boys and there had to be two teachers in the classroom. As soon as you walk in the class you feel

invited in and welcomed. There was color all around the room. Two group tables were set up

along with a computer station. They had a bean bag chair corner where they have their morning

classroom discussions.
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Gender Interaction.

There was typically more boys than girls in the class. After a period of time of observing

the students and watching their interactions with the teacher I was able to see that the girls in the

class participated more and had more interaction with the teacher than the boys. In a twenty

minute period the boys interacted with the teacher thirteen times. In that same period the girls

interacted with the teacher sixteen times. The teacher did a great job helping every student and

trying to get them all participating. I question why the girls were more involved in the lesson

than the boys. The boys would get more distracted with each other and talk rather than focusing

on their work at times. All of the students did constantly ask questions. Each of the students was

very willing to help the teacher in anything they were working on. Although the girls did interact

with the teacher more they all were very eager and very willing to start working especially when

the lesson was done in a group setting. When the students would have to pair up the boys would

pair up with each other and the girls would pair up with each other so it did seem very divided.

Teaching Methods.

Each teacher is able to adapt to a teaching style based on the needs of their students. In

the main class that I observed in the teacher was patient. At times that were needed she would

become stern but not overly stern and it made her students become refocused. She was assertive

which led to the students constantly wanting to be involved in the lesson. Her teaching kept the

students on track and focused which allowed me to not only observe but also do some teaching

and be involved. It gave me the ability to work directly with the students.

In the second class I observed it was a second grade fully autistic classroom. The teacher

constantly had to be stern and very assertive with the students. He was less patient and had less
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compassion than the other teacher. With his classroom it was necessary to have that teaching

style to keep his students focused. In the third class I observed it was a fifth grade fully autistic

class with two teachers. They were very calm and very patient. Each teacher was constantly

repeating the same procedures to ensure every student fully understood. The students had more

freedom in this class than in the other autism classroom.

Preparing for Teaching.

The best way to become prepared to be a teacher is to observe teaching styles of other

teaching professionals. I was able to see different techniques that I will take into teaching.

Observing how each teacher handled each situation showed me what to do if I were dealing with

a student like that. When I was given time to get in and teach a mini lesson it gave me great

hands on experience. I was able to assist some of the students when they were struggling with

something they were working on. Being given those opportunities gave me insight on how to

adapt to the situation and better the student. Teaching is a career that you cannot just be thrown

into, you need to be given some experience first which is what this gave me.

I have always been sure that I wanted to be a teacher but I was close minded to what I

wanted to teach. After having this experience of working with special education students my

mind has been changed. I am now open minded to teaching special education because it is a

completely different teaching style than general education classes. The students are individuals

and have such a want to learn. It was truly a wonderful experience being able to observe all of

these students.
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References

Gargiulo, Richard M. & Bouck, Emily C. (2016). Special Education in Contemporary Society.

Sage Publications.