In general, the Special Education program trains students 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. The PreK-8 Special Education program will help focus those skills on children from preschool age to elementary school levels.
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 (grades PreK-2), Elementary Education (grades 1-6), and Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (grades PreK-8 or grades 5-12). Specific Westfield State University courses are required for Education students to address state Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) requirements. All Education students must meet WSU Teacher Education program dispositions at a satisfactory level to complete the major.
Students who are not eligible to advance to practicum (student teaching) because of concerns related to their readiness to student teach, they have not reached the minimum overall GPA of 2.80 or the minimum GPA of 3.00 in the pedagogical sequence, or they have not passed all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs), may complete their Education major by replacing the practicum requirement within their programs of study if dispositional standing merits remaining in the major. 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.
Westfield State University's educator preparation programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).
In general, the Special Educator holds expertise in designing and implementing educational, social, emotional, and vocational interventions, engaging in adapting and modifying curriculum material, analyzing and supporting positive behavior, and developing and implementing 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.
Professional Special Education PreK-8 Pedagogical Coursework
- EDUC 0207 - Philosophy of Education
- EDUC 0221 - Foundations of Special Education
- EDUC 0222 - Learning Disabilities and Instructional Strategies
- EDUC 0319 - Foundations of Teaching and Learning
- EDUC 0329 - Applications to Teaching and Learning
- EDUC 0339 - Advanced Applications in Teaching and Learning
- EDUC 0320 - Field Experience 1: Becoming a Teacher
- EDUC 0330 - Field Experience 2: Theory to Practice
- EDUC 0341 - Field Experience 3: Advanced Theory to Practice
- EDUC 0314 - Building Classroom Communities
- EDUC 0303 - Foundations of Reading
- EDUC 0305 - Teaching Writing, Children's Literature, and Disciplinary Literacy
- EDUC 0378 - Behavior Supports for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- EDUC 0223 - Critical Roles and Responsibilities of the Special Educator
- EDUC 0376 - Self Determination and Family Advocacy for Students with Developmental Disabilities
- EDUC 0381 - Early Intervention: Birth to Five
- EDUC 0396 - Technology, Teaching, and Learning
- EDUC 0363 - Sheltered English Immersion
- EDUC 0397 - Practicum: Moderate Disabilities
- EDUC 0300 - Practicum Seminar
Additional Required Coursework:
The state of Massachusetts has specific Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) competencies expected of Elementary, Early Childhood and Special Education Majors. To address these needs, the following University Common Core courses are required to meet these requirements. Should the University Common Core requirements change, the courses with the SMK designation will still be required of Elementary, Early Childhood, and Special Education Majors.
US History/Government (3 credits)
One from the following:
Social Understanding (9 credits)
Math/Analytical Reasoning (9 credits)
Lab Science (7-8 credits)
Area of Focus
Special Education students must declare an Area of Focus with their Education Advisor (6 credits).
**Take course prior to MTEL Foundations of Reading Test (Field 190).
Total Major: 104-105 credits
At the completion of their programs of study, our Education majors will understand:
- Their own history, identity, and position within US society and that of others, and related impact on teaching and learning.
- Human variability, and the value of strength-based perspectives in work with children, families, communities.
- The critical role of the teacher in enacting a humanizing pedagogy that is anchored in the needs, identities, and lived experiences of students, families, and broader community.
- The history, complexity, and power of institutional settings such as schools, and the ethical responsibility of a teacher in working for justice.
- The big ideas of disciplinary content and tools for inquiry, research, and curriculum design and implementation across content areas relevant to P-12 teaching.
- The architecture of the ‘self’ (Sealy-Ruiz), the imperative of critical self-reflection for personal/professional growth.