In general, the Special Educator is trained in educational, social, emotional, and vocational interventions, identification, assessment and programming processes; adaptation and development of curriculum materials; analysis of behavior; and the development and implementation of individual educational programs.
Massachusetts State Law requires that children with special needs be served within the least restrictive environment. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees an appropriate education and due process for individuals with disabilities. Regulations designed to implement these laws clearly state the need for special education teachers to provide services to children who exhibit a wide range of special needs at all grade levels.
Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education
The Bachelor of Science in Education major with licensure and licensure only programs are designed to prepare outstanding teacher candidates at the Massachusetts initial licensure level. Students may choose to major in Education (with licensure) or choose the licensure only program. These programs include Early Childhood Education for Students with or without Disabilities (grades Pre-K-2), Elementary Education (grades 1-6), and Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8) or Moderate Disabilities (grades 5-12). Specific WSU core courses are required for Education students. Students who choose to major in Education must also complete a second major in liberal arts, sciences, or an interdisciplinary major. To meet licensure requirements within four years, the Department of Education encourages students to discuss the selection of the second major with their advisor. Most education majors select Liberal Studies as their second major.
Students who are not eligible to advance to practicum (student teaching) because they have not attained a grade point average of 2.8 or higher or because they have not passed all required Massachusetts Tests of Educator Licensure (MTELs) may complete their Education major by replacing the practicum requirement within their programs of study. The replacement of practicum involves taking additional Education coursework or comparable courses under the advisement of the Chair of the Education Department. Students who do not complete practicum will not be endorsed for the licensure; however, they may graduate from WSU with their Education major and second major.
The Westfield State University teacher licensure program for Early Childhood Teacher of Students With and Without Disabilities has been recognized by the National Association of the Education of Young Children. The teacher licensure program in Elementary Education has received recognition by the Association for Childhood Education International. The teacher licensure program in Special Education has been recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children.
Common Core Coursework for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education Majors
The following core course work is required for students completing the major programs in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education:
Composition - 6 Credits
- ENGL 0101 - English Composition I
- ENGL 0102 - English Composition II: Writing About Texts
Literary and Philosophical Analysis - 6 Credits
One American Literature Course from the following:
- ENGL 0210 - British Literature to 1603
- ENGL 0215 - Introduction to American Literature
- ENGL 0216 - American Literature to 1865
- ENGL 0217 - American Literature Since 1865
- LLIT 0202 - Women Writers of the Americas: US
One Literature or Philosophy Course from the following:
- ENGL 0213 - Introduction to British Literature
- ENGL 0221 - World Literature
- LLIT 0201 - Women Writers of the Americas: Global
- LLIT 0210 - Studies in the Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora: (Varying Topics):
- LLIT 0310 - Seminar in Hispanic Studies
- PHIL 0211 - Asian Philosophy
Appreciation of the Arts - 6 Credits
Two courses required: one from two different disciplines from the
US History/Government - 3 Credits
One from the following:
- HIST 0131 - United States History and Government to 1865
- HIST 0132 - United States History and Government 1865 – Present
Social Understanding - 9 Credits
Both of the following:
- PSYC 0101 - Introduction to Psychology
- EDUC 0220 - Schools in American Culture
One from the following:
- ECON 0101 - Principles of Macroeconomics
- ECON 0102 - Principles of Microeconomics
- EGST 0208 - Hip Hop Cultures
- EGST 0209 - Images in Black and Brown
- GARP 0101 - World Regional Geography
- LANG 0210 - Language, Culture & Society Credits: 3 *
- LCUL 0220 - Envisioning the Americas
* Early Childhood majors must take
Math/Analytical Reasoning - 6 Credits
- MATH 0153 - Foundations: Number Systems
- MATH 0250 - Foundations: Patterns, Reasoning and Algebra
Lab Science - 8 Credits
- GNSC 0101 - Physical Science
One of the following:
- BIOL 0102 - Environmental Biology
- BIOL 0104 - Human Biology
- BIOL 0106 - Biology Today
- BIOL 0237 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Global Diversity - 3 Credits
One courses from the
US Diversity - 3 Credits
- EDUC 0380 - Critical Multicultural Education
University Core Coursework in Education:
- EDUC 0380 - Critical Multicultural Education
Professional Education Coursework:
- EDUC 0221 - Introduction to Students with Exceptional Learning Needs (*FB)
- EDUC 0303 - Early Literacy and Reading **
- EDUC 0354 - Educational Planning and Evaluation: Middle and Secondary Schools (*FB)
- EDUC 0363 - Sheltered English Immersion
- EDUC 0370 - Language and Communication Development and Intervention
- EDUC 0371 - Special Education Curriculum (*FB)
- EDUC 0374 - Career Education and Transition for Students with Disabilities
- EDUC 0376 - Developmental Disabilities and Self-Determination
- EDUC 0377 - Learning Disabilities and Instructional Strategies
- EDUC 0378 - Behavior Support for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
- EDUC 0397 - Practicum: Moderate Special Needs
- Education Elective (for the major only) Credits: 3
Additional Required Coursework:
- PSYC 0203 - Adolescent Development
- GARP 0101 - World Regional Geography or
- GARP 0210 - Cultural Geography
- GNSC 0360 - Methods of Science Education for Pre-K-6
- EDUC 0301 - Methods of Teaching Mathematics, Elementary 1-6
- MOVP 0303 - Health Education in the Elementary School or
- MOVP 0301 - Physical Education in the Elementary School or
- MOVP 0212 - Concepts of Nutrition
- EDUC 0220 - Schools in American Culture (*FB)
- EDUC 0396 - Seminar Recent Developments: Computers in Education or
- Other ISTE Standards-based technology course Credits: 3
- Mathematics or Science Elective Credits: 3-4
*FB indicates field-based course.
**Take course prior to MTEL Foundations of Reading Test (Field-#90).
A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required in pedagogical coursework specific to your licensure program prior to practicum. Consult with the department on which courses are classified as part of the pedagogy requirements.
Additional Graduation Requirements
All students must meet the
Decisions regarding coursework in the academic major are based on a student?s prior academic record, performance on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), previous college coursework, professional experience and/or other performance evidence reflective of the student having met state and national standards.
See Appendix A for academic subject matter coursework.
It is important for a student to meet with an academic advisor as early as possible to determine a program of study.
**As well as passing the communication, literacy and foundation of reading portions of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, those seeking teacher of students with moderate disabilities, 5-12 licensure, must pass either the general curriculum test (see requirements listed in Appendix A) or a subject test in one of the core academic subjects taught in 5-8 or 8-12. If the teacher candidate is seeking an academic area, an advisor in that area must be consulted.