I just finished up my first additional qualifications course: Special Education Part 1. Here are some thoughts about the course that I included in my final reflection:
I am very thankful I decided to take this course. If I may be candid, I wasn’t all that eager to take it when considering which AQs to take first, and actually registered mostly because it was recommended to me if I wanted to better my chances of getting onto a supply list. I had also been told a course like this could be a re-hash of course(s) we took in teacher’s college, but this was so much more and now I realize what an important course it is.
I have learned more than I thought I would, and I found the readings, discussions, assignments, and CIP (Collaborative Inquiry Project) to be engaging, informative, and interesting. I feel motivated to continue to learn more about helping students with exceptionalities, and how to create an inclusive learning environment.
One of the big take home ideas I have learned in this course is that differentiated instruction and assessment, universal design, and inclusive classrooms are not only important to create equal opportunity for success and learning for students with exceptionalities, but are also extremely beneficial for ALL students.
As part of our CIP, it is expected that we share the information somehow with other educators. Since I am not currently in the classroom, I thought it would be a good idea for me to share our project here.
Topic: Learning Disabilities in Secondary & Post-Secondary
Focus Statement: Learning disabilities are lifelong invisible impairments that interfere with the way that students develop skills, perceive social situations, or engage in social interaction (Learning Disabilities of Ontario, 2001). Our role as educators is to provide support and a framework for students to navigate these challenges with dignity and respect as they move forward on their academic journey into and through post-secondary education.
Another part of our reflection was to create a list of new goals we have as a result of the course. Mine are:
- Learning more about differentiating assessments by finding resources and doing more reading on the subject (the text book has great resources that I haven’t been able to delve into much detail yet). I would also like to meet with some teachers who teach math and science to find out what they do in their classrooms for this.
- Putting a “toolbox” of classroom management skills together: Since I hope to get onto an Occasional Teacher list soon, I really need to make sure I have some key classroom management tools on hand. I will write a list of some I think will work for me, and review them when I need too. I also want to put together a physical tool box to have on hand when going into the classroom! This will include games, activities, and supplies that will help create an inclusive and enjoyable educational experience for the students (and myself!)
- Resource List: As I have been doing the readings, research for my CIP, reading/responding to forum posts, I have been making notes of good resources and websites and will continue to grow this list.
One other thing I am doing, now that the course is over, is making notes (sketch notes, actually!) of some of the ideas and information that I found to be very useful and/or important.
I’ll be taking the Additional Basic Qualification course in Physics in July too, so stay tuned for that later this summer!