B.A. in Special Education Areas of Study

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (K-12), Cross-Categorical Model, is a competency-based program that enables teacher candidates to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (BASP) degree and leads to an initial dual licensure in Special Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-8) teaching certificate online (except for the in-classroom component Demonstration Teaching and options for in-classroom field experiences prior to Demonstration Teaching). This program consists of four balanced areas of study (domains), competency-based assessments, and the creation of a professional portfolio. This program includes a clinical experiences portion that prepares teacher candidates for the classroom. This program includes clinical experiences that prepare teacher candidates for the classroom. Candidates develop and refine their teaching skills through a series of sequential experiences beginning with; video-based observations of classroom instruction. Observations prepare candidates for an authentic, collaborative preclinical teaching experiences in K-12 settings. Clinical experiences culminate with supervised demonstration teaching that consists of two placements, one in an elementary classroom and one in a middle or secondary level classroom. Both placements should support the academic needs of students with mild-to- moderate disabilities. The Special Education Cross-Categorical Model is a specifically designed program for the education and training of prospective teachers to work with students with mild/moderate disabilities in a variety of school settings, including inclusionary K-12 classrooms, resource rooms or self-contained classrooms; serve as teacher of record K-8, as well as teach all basic school subjects in the elementary education classroom. With the successful completion of required assessments in the major area of teaching, the student can receive institutional recommendation for certification in special education and in elementary education. During the required major or sequence of the standard path, students gain knowledge, skills, and competencies essential to effective teaching while being involved in field-based experiences.

General Education

Health, Fitness and Wellness
Health, Fitness and Wellness focuses on the importance and foundations of good health and physical fitness, particularly for children and adolescents, addressing health, nutrition, fitness, and substance use and abuse.

Foundations of College Mathematics
Foundations of College Mathematics addresses the sequence of learning activities necessary to build competence in foundational concepts of College Mathematics, which include whole numbers, fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions and percents, geometry, statistics, the real number system, equations, inequalities, applications, and graphs of linear equations.

English Composition I
English Composition I introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that are valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. Comp I is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for success at the college level. There are no prerequisites for English Composition I.

Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.

English Composition II
English Composition II introduces undergraduate students to research writing. It is a foundational course designed to help students prepare for advanced writing within the discipline and to complete the capstone. Specifically, this course will help students develop or improve research, reference citation, document organization, and writing skills. English Composition I or equivalent is a prerequisite for this course.

Survey of World History
Through a thematic approach, this course explores the history of human societies over 5,000 years. Students examine political and social structures, religious beliefs, economic systems, and patterns in trade, as well as many cultural attributes that came to distinguish different societies around the globe over time. Special attention is given to relationships between these societies and the way geographic and environmental factors influence human development.

Mathematics for Elementary Educators I
Mathematics for Elementary Educators I engages pre-service elementary teachers in mathematical practices based on deep understanding of underlying concepts. The course covers important topics in problem solving, set theory, number theory, whole numbers and integers. This is the first course in a three-course sequence.

Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural, small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.

Survey of United States History
This course presents a broad and thematic survey of U.S. history from European colonization to the mid-twentieth century. Students will explore how historical events and major themes in American history have affected a diverse population.

Mathematics for Elementary Educators II
This course engages pre-service elementary teachers in mathematical practices based on deep understanding of underlying concepts. This course takes the arithmetic of the first course and generalizes it into algebraic reasoning. The course also touches on important topics in probability. This is the second course in a three-course sequence.

Mathematics for Elementary Educators III
Mathematics for Elementary Educators III engages pre-service elementary teachers in mathematical practices based on deep understanding of underlying concepts. The course covers important topics in statistics, measurement, and covers geometry from synthetic, transformational, and coordinate perspectives. This is the third course in a three-course sequence.

Critical Thinking and Logic
Reasoning and Problem Solving helps students internalize a systematic process for exploring issues that takes them beyond an unexamined point of view and encourages them to become more self-aware thinkers by applying principles of problem identification and clarification, planning and information gathering, identifying assumptions and values, analysis and interpretation of information and data, reaching well-founded conclusions, and identifying the role of critical thinking in the disciplines and professions.

Survey of United States Constitution and Government
This course is an introduction to the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. government. Topics include (1) structure and relevance of the U.S. Constitution, (2) structure and function of governmental branches, and (3) political participation and policy making.

Foundations of Teaching

Foundational Perspectives of Education
This course provides an introduction to the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education. Current educational trends, reform movements, major federal and state laws, legal and ethical responsibilities, and an overview of standards-based curriculum are the focus of the course. The course of study presents a discussion of changes and challenges in contemporary education. It covers the diversity found in American schools, introduces emerging educational technology trends, and provides an overview of contemporary topics in education.

Psychology for Educators
This course prepares candidates to meet the expectations of society and prepares future educators to support classroom practice with research-validated concepts. The course helps future educators to create a framework for refining teaching skills that are focused on the learner, through engaged inquiry of integrating theory, critical issues in psychology, classroom applications with diverse populations, assessment, educational technology, and reflective teaching.

Fundamentals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Exceptional Learners
Students will learn the history of inclusion and develop practical strategies for modifying instruction, in accordance with legal expectations, to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners. This population includes learners with disabilities, gifted and talented learners, culturally diverse learners, and English language learners.

Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
Students will learn the foundations for effective classroom management as well as strategies for creating a safe, positive learning environment for all learners. Students will be introduced to systems that promote student self-awareness, self-management, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. In this course, students will engage practical application via 10 hours of video classroom observations. Students will reflect on how teachers use rules/procedures to maximize student learning and on what makes a highly effective classroom environment. As part of a culminating experience in this course, students will, through the video observation reflections, describe their current teaching philosophy related to classroom environment and management.

Educational Assessment
Educational Assessment assists students in making appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments. Topics include ethical assessment practices, designing assessments, aligning assessments, and utilizing technology for assessment.

General Science Content

Introduction to Biology
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.

Integrated Physical Sciences
This course provides students with an overview of the basic principles and unifying ideas of the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, and Earth sciences. Course materials focus on scientific reasoning and practical and everyday applications of physical science concepts to help students integrate conceptual knowledge with practical skills.

Natural Science Lab
This course gives you an introduction to using the scientific method and engaging in scientific research to reach conclusions about the natural world. You will design and carry out an experiment to investigate a hypothesis by gathering quantitative data.

Teacher Education Diversity

Cultural Studies and Diversity
Cultural Studies and Diversity focuses on the development of cultural awareness. Students will analyze the role of culture in today’s world, develop culturally-responsive practices, and understand the barriers to and the benefits of diversity.

Special Education

Introduction to Special Education, Law and Legal Issues
Introduction to Special Education, Law and Legal Issues introduces the history and nature of special education and how it relates to general education, as well as specific legal acts and concepts governing it. Topics include history of special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, FAPE (free, appropriate public education), and least restrictive environments.

Psychoeducational Assessment Practices and IEP Development and Implementation
Psychoeducational Assessment Practices and IEP Development/Implementation prepares students to apply knowledge the IEP as they work with students who have mild to moderate disabilities in a wide variety of possible situations, all with an emphasis on cross-categorical inclusion. It helps students gain fluency in their understanding of the 13 disability categories, assessment, curriculum, and instruction.

Behavioral Management and Intervention
Behavioral Management and Intervention explores the challenges of working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and helps students learn about theories, interventions, practices, and assessments that can influence these children's opportunities for success. It further helps students better be able to make decisions about how to strategize behavior adjustments for individual students.

Instructional Models and Design, Supervision and Culturally Responsive Teaching
Instructional Models and Design, Supervision and Culturally Response Teaching helps students understand the role of special education in the development of instruction, why this field exists separate from and in conjunction with general education, where it is going, and how they can help coordinate inclusion for students. Students will gain expertise in developing instructional, curricular, and environmental interventions based on assessment data and student need.


Introduction to Instructional Planning and Presentation
Students will develop a basic understanding of effective instructional principles and how to differentiate instruction in order to elicit powerful teaching in the classroom.

Instructional Planning and Presentation

Instructional Planning and Presentation in Elementary and Special Education
Instructional Planning and Presentation assists students as they continue to build instructional planning skills. Topics include unit and lesson planning, instructional presentation strategies, assessment, engagement, integration of learning across the curriculum, effective grouping strategies, technology in the classroom, and using data to inform instruction.

Elementary Education Methods

Elementary Reading Methods and Interventions
Elementary Reading Methods and Interventions provides students seeking initial teacher licensure in elementary education with an in-depth look at best practices for developing the reading and writing skills of all students. Course content examines the stages of literacy development, the balanced literacy approach, differentiation, technology integration, literacy-assessment, and the comprehensive Response to Intervention (RTI) model used to identify and address the needs of learners who struggle with reading comprehension. This course has no prerequisites.

Language Arts Instruction and Intervention
Language Arts Instruction and Intervention helps students learn how to implement effective language arts instruction and intervention in the elementary classroom. Topics include written and spoken English, expanding students' knowledge, literature rich environments, differentiated instruction, technology for reading and writing, assessment strategies for reading and writing, and strategies for developing academic language.

Elementary Science Methods
Elementary Science Methods helps students learn how to implement effective science instruction in the elementary classroom. Topics include processes of science, science inquiry, science learning environments, instructional strategies for science, differentiated instruction for science, assessing science understanding, technology for science instruction, standards based science instruction, integrating science across curriculum, and science beyond the classroom.

Elementary Mathematics Methods
Elementary Mathematics Methods helps students learn how to implement effective math instruction in the elementary classroom. Topics include differentiated math instruction, mathematical communication, mathematical tools for instruction, assessing math understanding, integrating math across the curriculum, critical thinking development, standards based math instruction, and mathematical models and representation.

Elementary Social Studies Methods
Elementary Social Studies Methods helps students learn how to implement effective social studies instruction in the elementary classroom. Topics include social studies themes, promoting cultural diversity, integrated social studies across the curriculum, social studies learning environments, assessing social studies understanding, differentiated instruction for social studies, technology for social studies instruction, and standards-based social studies instruction.

Elementary Visual and Performing Arts Methods
Elementary Visual and Performing Arts Methods helps students learn how to implement effective visual and performing arts instruction in the elementary classroom. Topics include integrating arts across the curriculum, music education, visual arts, dance and movement, dramatic arts, differentiated instruction for visual and performing arts, and promoting cultural diversity through visual and performing arts instruction.

Elementary Physical Education and Health Methods
Elementary Physical Education and Health Methods helps students learn how to implement effective physical and health education instruction in the elementary classroom. Topics include healthy lifestyles, student safety, student nutrition, physical education, differentiated instruction for physical and health education, physical education across the curriculum, and public policy in health and physical education.

Teacher Education Foundations

Children's Literature
This course is an introduction to and exploration of children’s literature. Students will consider and analyze children’s literature as a lens through which to view the world. Students will experience multiple genres, historical perspectives, cultural representations and current applications to the field of children’s literature.

Effective Teaching Practices

Elementary Disciplinary Literacy
Elementary Disciplinary Literacy examines teaching strategies designed to help learners in grades K–6 develop the literacy skills necessary to read, write, and think critically while engaging content in different academic disciplines. Course content highlights strategies to help learners distinguish between the unique characteristics of informational texts while improving comprehension and writing proficiency across the curriculum. Strategies to encourage inquiry and cultivate skills in critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity also are addressed. This course has no prerequisites.

Preclinical Experiences

Preclinical Experiences in Elementary and Special Education
Preclinical Experiences in Elementary and Special Education provides students the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. Students will document and reflect upon at least 75 hours of authentic in-classroom experiences, and an early evaluation of teaching will occur to provide feedback and suggestions for continued professional development. Prior to entering the classroom for the observations, students will be required to meet several requirements including a cleared background check, passing scores on the state or WGU required basic skills exam and a completed resume. This course is aligned to the InTASC model core teaching standards.

Demonstration Teaching

Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Elementary and Special Education
Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Elementary and Special Education involves a series of classroom performance observations by the host teacher and clinical supervisor that develop comprehensive performance data about the teacher candidate’s skills.

Teacher Performance Assessment in Elementary and Special Education
The Teacher Performance Assessment is a culmination of the wide variety of skills learned during your time in the Teachers College at WGU. In order to be a competent and independent classroom teacher, you will showcase a collection of your content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills in this professional assessment.

Professional Portfolio
You will create an online teaching portfolio that includes professional artifacts and evidence of practice that demonstrate the skills you developed and refined throughout your Demonstration Teaching Experience. This course is aligned to the InTASC model core teaching standards.

Cohort Seminar
Cohort Seminar in Special Education provides mentoring and supports teacher candidates during their demonstration teaching period by providing weekly collaboration and instruction related to the demonstration teaching experience. It facilitates their demonstration of competence in becoming reflective practitioners, adhering to ethical standards, practicing inclusion in a diverse classroom, exploring community resources, building collegial and collaborative relationships with teachers, and considering leadership and supervisory skills.

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