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I. Exceptional Needs (for students ages birth-21+)

Summary

Definition

Checklist -anchor

Application/Examples - anchor

 

Note.  Printed with permission from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, (Exceptional Needs Standards, 1999),www.nbpts.org. All rights reserved.

 

Checklist

Preparing for student learning

___a. Knowledge of students

___b. Knowledge of special education

___c. Communications

___d. Diversity

___e. Knowledge of subject matter Advancing
             student learning

___f. Meaningful learning

___g. Multiple paths to knowledge

___h. Social development 

Supporting student learning

___i. Assessment

___j. Learning environments

___k. Instructional resources

___l. Family partnership

Professional development and outreach

___m. Reflective practice

___n. Contributing to the profession and to
          education

Applications/Examples

 

Preparing for student learning

___a. Knowledge of students 

  • Teachers constantly work to understand what their students know and how they approach tasks, interpersonal relationships, and learning. They observe and listen to students as they work, learn, and play in a variety of settings. The knowledge they gain from such insightful observation and interaction allows teachers to tailor instruction to motivate students and meet their specific needs. Thus, educators set high but realistic expectations for their students, recognizing the special circumstances an individual child's disability may present.

  • Teachers are knowledgeable about the stages of human development and learning and draw on this knowledge to create realistic, age-appropriate activities and materials for individual learners and to develop appropriate goals for them

  • Teachers know that students differ from one another in the pattern and pace of their growth and in their language and social capacities, owing to varying abilities and disabilities and to the influences of home culture and language. Teachers recognize when these variations in growth and development deviate significantly from what is typical in students without disabilities and know how to design interventions appropriate to each student's particular circumstances.

  • Teachers are aware and understand the differences among students that can affect their knowledge, skills, interests, and aspirations. Therefore, educators design instruction that gives students opportunities to approach important issues, ideas, and concepts in several ways.

  • Because students participate differently in similar sets of activities, teachers make multiple adaptations within the same lesson. Moreover, they know how to communicate concern and understanding, how to adapt instruction to suit changing circumstances, and how to help individual students participate in the intellectual and social life of the class.

  • Teachers appreciate their students' diverse cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and racial or ethnic backgrounds and understand and value the range of abilities they possess. They also recognize that students come to class already competent, at some level, along several key cognitive, behavioral, and physical dimensions, and they take advantage of each student's knowledge and experience to enrich instruction.

  • Understanding the significant physical, emotional, and cognitive changes that students undergo, and the special pressures and frustrations that students with exceptional needs often face, teachers enlist the expertise of colleagues, family members, and others in counseling and advising students on a wide range of issues, from academic progress to social relationships.

___b. Knowledge of special education 

  • Teachers recognize their responsibility to ensure to the best of their ability that everyone involved in the education of students with exceptional needs knows and adheres to all legal mandates that protect student and family rights.

  • Teachers treat the student and family with respect and include their insights, concerns, and goals in the design of intervention plans. When necessary, teachers help parents become more knowledgeable about their children's disabilities, strengths, and limitations and about how they can become more actively involved in their children's education.

  • Teachers establish rigorous yet realistic goals for each student that emphasize the integration of the student into the community. They generally work collaboratively with a team to determine the most appropriate educational program for each student, and they work closely with school administrators to meet procedural safeguards and due process requirements. 

  • Teachers of students with exceptional needs hold in common much knowledge and many skills and dispositions. Nevertheless, depending on the ages and abilities of their students, these teachers command significant bodies of knowledge specific to their area of specialization, whether related to early childhood, students with mild or moderate disabilities, students with severe or multiple disabilities, students who are visually impaired, or students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • Teachers who specialize in working with young children from birth to age 8 have a thorough knowledge of how infants and young children develop and learn. They understand that various developmental factors and the interrelations among them build a crucial foundation for later academic growth. They know the characteristics of a range of conditions, including mental retardation, learning disabilities, communication disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, vision and hearing impairments, physical and health impairments, multiple disabilities, developmental delays, and traumatic brain injury. Teachers are cognizant of the biological, environmental, and nutritional causes of specific disabilities, and they understand the specific implications of each for development and learning in the first years of life. Teachers select, adapt, and devise identification, screening, and diagnostic measures appropriate for young children and use various informal and formal assessment instruments and procedures to make informed decisions about children's learning and development. Educators skillfully create nurturing learning environments in a variety of settings; they organize space, time, and materials to promote learning and development for individual children. Teachers understand how young children use play to make first attempts at symbolic representation and to express their ideas and feelings. Thus, educators recognize the role of play in the development of character and understand how it can help children begin to deal with issues of justice and fairness. Aware of their responsibility for establishing a climate that fosters the development of self-regulating behaviors, they set norms for social interaction and intervene to assist students in resolving disputes and conflicts. These teachers also help young children develop social knowledge about learning in groups, behavioral expectations of peers and adults, and the need to adapt to classroom rules and routines as well as to the norms of society at large. Teachers enhance children's self-respect and confidence in learning in various ways, seeking to promote independence, risk taking, and persistence. To facilitate such growth, teachers establish relationships with students and their families that allow them to observe children closely and understand each child's unique needs.

  • Teachers who specialize in working with students with mild/moderate cognitive disabilities understand the impact on human development, academic achievement, and self-esteem of such issues as fine motor, visual-motor, spatial, and language deficits, problems with retrieving the sounds of letters and known vocabulary, and deficits in short- and long-term memory. These teachers know how to identify specific learning problems and behavioral disorders by observing a student's daily activities, including play, and by observing the student's performance on specific tasks designed by the teacher to identify or validate a suspected problem. Educators skillfully design strategies that help individual students compensate for specific learning problems, usually trying several approaches and observing and documenting the results before identifying the most effective strategies for a particular student. To support instruction, teachers often use assistive technology. Often the same technology used in a general education classroom for enrichment can help students with learning disabilities keep up with subject matter while they develop learning skills and strategies to compensate for their disability. Teachers know that their students will benefit from participation in activities with other students who do not have disabilities, and they therefore work closely with general education teachers and students to build acceptance and empathy for behavioral and learning differences. Their own classrooms reflect these teachers' concern for fostering intellectual inquiry and building self-confidence.

  • Teachers who specialize in working with students with severe and multiple disabilities have a broad knowledge of disabling conditions and their effects on students' lives, development, and learning. Teachers with this specialization are familiar with a wide range of assistive and augmentative equipment and strategies and select appropriate devices to help students with severe or multiple disabilities derive maximum benefit from instruction. They are resourceful in researching, customizing, and creating devices and strategies to help students perform tasks they cannot otherwise handle. An important part of these teachers' instructional repertoire is the ability to analyze tasks and concepts precisely and identify their discrete components. Teachers vary the pace of instruction as required for different students. They create learning environments that take into account not only the fact that some of their students may have limited self-control and a short attention span, but also the reality of frequent interruptions in their classrooms and the fact that many of their students require one-on-one interventions. Their extensive repertoire of adaptive approaches enables them to deal with problems as they occur and, when possible, to turn classroom events into teachable moments that benefit other students as well as those involved. Educators work effectively and cooperatively with families, other teachers, and professionals to support and promote high-quality learning experiences for their students.

  • Teachers who specialize in working with students with visual impairments have a broad knowledge of the effects of blindness and low vision on students' lives, development, and learning processes. They also understand the impact of visual impairment on early childhood development, communication skills, social skills, orientation and mobility, functional life skills, and independence. Teachers use this knowledge to help parents and other education professionals understand individual developmental differences in children with visual impairments, including the way these patterns may differ from typical development, and to establish a basis for designing effective instructional programs. Teachers are adept at and fluent in using appropriate tools and carrying out a wide variety of meaningful strategies for conducting functional vision assessments for students with visual impairment to determine the efficiency with which they use their visual abilities and skills. These teachers use information on visual functioning as the basis for providing individualized instructional and environmental modifications in the classroom and for developing efficient use of vision and other senses. Educators use multiple techniques and creative strategies for promoting student growth in sensory perceptual skills and early concept development, communication skills, adaptive technology skills, special academic skills, skills in the use of vision alone or with other senses to facilitate task completion, social behaviors, and functional life skills. Teachers of students with visual impairments work effectively and cooperatively with families, educators, and other professionals to support and promote high-quality learning experiences in various settings, including schools, community settings, homes, and work sites.

  • Teachers who specialize in working with students with hearing impairments have a broad knowledge of the effects of hearing loss on students' lives, development, and learning processes. They understand the relevance of culture, especially Deaf Culture issues, to the students' lifelong development. Educators ensure that students receive specialized and meaningful assessment and evaluation that would lead to sound decisions regarding development of communication systems, academic knowledge and skills, and intra- and interpersonal development. Teachers use their knowledge of their students' unique developmental characteristics to design effective instructional programs and to help parents and other education professionals understand individual developmental differences in children with hearing loss, including how their development resembles or may differ from typical development. Educators draw on a rich repertoire of instructional strategies to meet students' physical, cognitive, cultural, and communication needs, using assistive devices as appropriate and adapting the instructional process in accordance with such factors as the availability of support services.

___c. Communications 

  • Teachers demonstrate their knowledge of language acquisition as a constructive process and language learning as an interactive process. Thus, they create situations in which learners can negotiate meaning through interactions with the teacher and with one another. Teachers skillfully observe their students' progress in developing language and literacy skills, diagnose difficulties, determine what students need to learn next, and design special interventions as necessary. Educators recognize both overt and subtle communicative breakdowns and skillfully provide appropriate instructional support.

  • Teachers recognize that functional communication skills are essential for students with severe or multiple disabilities. They constantly search for methods and equipment to enable each student to learn and use both receptive and expressive communication skills, and they understand the mental and physical abilities necessary to use various communication devices effectively.

  • Teachers of students with visual impairments often teach a broad spectrum of communication skills, including Braille reading, Braille writing, typing, keyboarding, word processing, and related microcomputer skills and signature writing for students who are functionally blind;

  • For teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, facilitating students' independent communication is a primary goal. Thus, educators are aware of the pervasive impact of a child's social-emotional environment on the development and improvement of their communication skills. They are skilled at identifying and recommending ways to improve the attributes of the students' communication environment at home, in the community, and with peers.

___d. Diversity 

  • By showing respect for and valuing all members of their communities and by having high expectations that their students will treat one another fairly and with dignity, teachers model and promote the behavior necessary for a multicultural society. Educators also know that a diversity of backgrounds often means a diversity of skills, so they provide opportunities for students to work to their own strengths as well as to learn from others with different strengths. These teachers also appreciate the importance of working with members of the school community beyond the exceptional needs program to help them understand the nature and complexity of disabilities.

___e. Knowledge of subject matter 

  • Teachers of students with exceptional needs have the same mastery of subject matter as comparable generalists, along with the special knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to make instruction accessible to students with exceptional needs. This knowledge is crucial to their ability to work independently or collaboratively with other teachers, setting challenging yet realistic goals for students and devising approaches that stimulate students' curiosity and participation. They know which key concepts, ideas, and facts students should understand at different developmental levels, as well as the reasoning, perceptions, misperceptions, and naïve conceptions characteristic of those different developmental levels.

  • Teachers draw on their subject matter knowledge to help students understand complex issues and make connections between and among topics.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize in the artshave a broad background in the visual and performing arts that allow them to design activities and experiences that are appropriate and enriching for young children. These activities and experiences allow children to understand and experiment with various sources of inspiration for their work and to come up with their own ideas for expression and for understanding and using a variety of materials. Teachers know the tools, materials, and processes that young children find particularly useful and can easily manipulate, and that help children select, control, and experiment with various media to facilitate their own expression. Teachers promote children's knowledge of various criteria for evaluating the arts and inspire students to understand how the arts represent a valid way to perceive and interpret the world.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize in literacy and English language arts design specific activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and that foster critical and creative thinking through language. They draw on their knowledge of the key challenges and typical processes of the initial development of these skills and capacities. Teachers use this knowledge to design appropriate activities and experiences for children of different ages and to explain their teaching strategies to parents, administrators, and colleagues. Teachers create a rich environment for literacy learning, using language and stimulating stories that connect with what children already know and are curious about. They also help children talk and write to express their ideas and feelings and to communicate with other people. Moreover, they encourage children to read to clarify their ideas and learn from other people in their classroom, their community, and the larger world.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize inmathematics know how children develop concepts and understandings in mathematics, and they use this knowledge in designing and selecting materials and teaching and assessment methods and in framing discussions and responses to individual children. They draw on this knowledge and their understanding of the curriculum to plan activities that will deepen children's understanding of and disposition toward mathematics and develop their ability to apply mathematics to everyday problems. Teachers view technology as providing opportunities for children to explore mathematical ideas, develop concepts, focus on problem-solving processes, and investigate realistic applications. Teachers help children employ mathematics as a way to explore and solve problems in their environment at home and in school.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize in scienceseek to support children's enthusiasm, wonder, and curiosity about the world to increase their understanding of it. Educators are familiar with major ideas and concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences that form the basis of theories and concepts that explain how the world works. Teachers facilitate children's open exploration of important ideas and concepts while they reinforce learners' bringing a scientific frame of mind to their discoveries. Teachers design projects, field experiences, and experiments that involve children as investigators and that allow them to build on their own intuitive explanations of how the world functions. They set up a rich array of open-ended materials and activities so that children can work with them in a variety of ways guided by their interests and questions. Teaching science to young children closely connects with other aspects of the curriculum, such as using mathematics, deciphering history, learning about physical health and development, and using language arts.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize in social studies use students' personal experiences and the environment of the classroom or centers to help children begin to understand concepts from the social studies disciplines and to develop the dispositions toward social-studies learning that will ensure success as their studies progress. Teachers know the importance of children's developing the capacity to learn well with others who may come from different backgrounds, and they also know that for all children achieving this competency may take time and assistance from the teacher. Educators skillfully incorporate the ideas from social studies throughout the curriculum.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize in health, physical education, and leisure create opportunities for students to develop and practice skills and knowledge that contribute to good health. On their own, or in cooperation with specialists, teachers plan, organize, and carry out programs in health education that reinforce the major concepts, ideas, and actions that contribute to a healthful lifestyle and that help young children learn about nutrition, their bodies, germs and viruses, and substance abuse. These teachers also know the key principles of motor development and exercise science and how to apply this knowledge in developing physical education activities appropriate for students with disabilities. In addition, teachers understand that appropriate and stimulating play activities and interests can sharpen students' mental and physical skills, build their self-confidence, and improve their interactions with others. Realizing that participation at any level is important, teachers seek community resources to ensure greater access to recreational facilities and to develop and support leisure and recreational opportunities for students with exceptional needs.

  • Early childhood teachers who specialize intransition/vocational skills have a broad knowledge and understanding of the social skills, attitudes, vocational awareness, and work habits required for success in various school programs, and they know how to infuse these skills into the curriculum with activities that lead students to acquire and develop lifelong work habits and social skills. They recognize and respond to their students' strengths and limitations and their interests and aspirations. They help students formulate their ambitions and express their interests, and they involve students' families in discussions of realistic goals and ambitions. Teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills that empower them to take action. Building on their wide knowledge of community resources and other services, these teachers create a collaborative network that might include home, center, community, or early-childhood education programs.

  • Arts teachers who specialize in mild/moderate disabilities have a broad background in the visual and performing arts that allows them to design activities and experiences that are appropriate and enriching for students. These activities and experiences allow children to understand and experiment with various sources of inspiration for their work and to devise their own ideas for expression and for understanding and using a variety of materials. Teachers know the tools, materials, and processes that their students find particularly useful and can easily manipulate, and they help students select, control, and experiment with various media to facilitate their own expression.

  • Literacy and English language arts teachers who specialize in mild/moderate disabilities design language arts activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and that foster critical and creative thinking through language. They use this knowledge to design appropriate activities and experiences for students of different ages and to explain their teaching strategies to parents, administrators, and colleagues. Teachers create a rich environment for literacy learning, using language and stimulating stories that connect with what students already know and are curious about. They promote and encourage the ongoing development of language and literacy in English as well as in the language spoken in the home and community. They help students talk and write to express their ideas and feelings and to communicate with other people in their classroom, their community, and the larger world.

  • Mathematics teachers who specialize inmild/moderate disabilities know how students develop concepts and understandings in mathematics, and they use this knowledge in designing and selecting materials, in their teaching and assessment methods, and in framing discussions and responses to individual students. They draw on this knowledge and their understanding of the curriculum to plan activities that will deepen students' understandings of and improve their disposition toward mathematics and develop their ability to apply mathematics to everyday problems. Teachers view technology as providing opportunities for students to explore mathematical ideas, develop concepts, focus on problem-solving processes, and investigate realistic applications. Students learn to use objects, calculators, computers, charts, graphs, and other materials to help them express ideas, and they learn to represent problems and solutions in different ways.

  • Science teachers who specialize in mild/moderate disabilities are familiar with the major ideas and concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences that form the basis of theories and concepts that explain how the world works. Teachers help students test their own questions and ideas about phenomena and materials in their environment and introduce them to methods of investigation that include predicting, observing, gathering, and analyzing data, and inferring and generalizing toward their own hypotheses. Teachers design projects, field experiences, and experiments that involve students as investigators and that allow them to build on their own intuitive explanations of how the world functions. They set up a rich array of open-ended materials and activities so that children can work with them in a variety of ways guided by their interests and questions. Teaching science is closely connected with other aspects of the curriculum, such as using mathematics, deciphering history, learning about physical health and development, and using language arts.

  • Social studies teachers who specialize inmild/moderate disabilities use students' personal experiences and the environment of the classroom or centers to help students understand concepts from the social studies disciplines and to develop the dispositions toward social-studies learning that will ensure success as their studies progress. Teachers know the importance of children's developing the capacity to learn well with others who may come from different backgrounds, and they also know that for all children achieving this competency may take time and assistance from the teacher. Educators skillfully incorporate the ideas from social studies throughout the curriculum.

  • Health, physical education, and leisure teachers who specialize in mild/moderate disabilities create opportunities for students to develop and practice skills and knowledge that contribute to good health. On their own, or in cooperation with specialists, teachers plan, organize, and carry out programs in health education that reinforce the major concepts, ideas, and actions that contribute to a healthful lifestyle and that keep students informed about health-related issues and concerns facing young people today, including nutrition, fitness, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance abuse. Teachers know the key principles of motor development and exercise science and how to apply this knowledge in developing physical education activities appropriate for students with disabilities. In addition, teachers understand that appropriate and stimulating leisure activities and interests can sharpen students' mental and physical skills, build their self-confidence, and improve their interactions with others. Realizing that participation at any level is important, teachers seek community resources to ensure greater access to recreational facilities and to develop and support leisure and recreational opportunities for students with exceptional needs.

  • Transition/vocational skills teachers who specialize in mild/moderate disabilities have a broad knowledge and understanding of the social skills, attitudes, vocational skills, and work habits required for success in various career fields and postsecondary education environments, and they know how to infuse these skills into the curriculum with activities that lead students to acquire and develop lifelong work habits and social skills. They recognize and respond to their students' strengths and limitations and their postsecondary interests and aspirations. They help students formulate their ambitions and express their interests, and they involve students' families in discussions of realistic goals and ambitions. Teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills that empower them to take action. Building on their wide knowledge of community resources and other services, these teachers create a collaborative network of resources for training, employment, and community-based living.

  • Arts teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities have a broad knowledge of the visual and performing arts that allows them to design activities and experiences that are appropriate and enriching for children. They allow children to understand and experiment with various sources of inspiration for their work and to devise their own ideas for expression and for understanding and using a variety of materials. Teachers know the tools, materials, and processes that their students find particularly useful and can easily manipulate, and they help students select, control, and experiment with various media to facilitate their own expression.

  • Literacy and English language arts teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities design language arts activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and that foster critical and creative thinking through language according to typical development progression or in a functional context, when appropriate. They use this knowledge to design appropriate activities and experiences for students of different ages and to explain their teaching strategies to parents, administrators, and colleagues. Teachers create a rich environment for literacy learning, using language and stimulating stories that connect with what students already know and are curious about. They promote and encourage the ongoing development of language and literacy in English as well as in the language spoken in the home and community. They help students talk and write to express their ideas and feelings and to communicate with other people in their classroom, their community, and the larger world. Teachers use their knowledge of the typical stages of language and literacy development to assess students' responses.

  • Mathematics teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities know how students develop concepts and understandings in mathematics, and they use this knowledge in designing and selecting materials, in their teaching and assessment methods, and in framing discussions and responses to individual students. They draw on this knowledge and their understanding of the curriculum to plan activities that will deepen students' understandings of and improve their disposition toward mathematics and develop their ability to apply mathematics to everyday problems. Teachers view technology as providing opportunities for students to explore mathematical ideas, develop concepts, focus on problem-solving processes, and investigate realistic applications. Students learn to use objects, calculators, computers, charts, graphs, and other materials to help them express ideas, and they learn to represent problems and solutions in different ways.

  • Science teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities are familiar with the major ideas and concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences that form the basis of theories and concepts that explain how the world works. Teachers help students test their own questions and ideas about phenomena and materials in their environment and introduce them to methods of investigation that include predicting, observing, gathering, and analyzing data, and inferring and generalizing toward their own hypotheses. Teachers design projects, field experiences, and experiments that involve students as investigators and that allow them to build on their own intuitive explanations of how the world functions. They set up a rich array of open-ended materials and activities so that children can work with them in a variety of ways, guided by their interests and questions. Teaching science is closely connected with other aspects of the curriculum, such as using mathematics, deciphering history, learning about physical health and development, and employing the language arts in the context of functional life activities.

  • Social studies teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities use students' personal experiences and the environment of the classroom or centers to help students understand concepts from the social studies disciplines and to develop the dispositions toward social-studies learning that will ensure success as their studies progress. Teachers know the importance of children's developing the capacity to learn well with others who may come from different backgrounds, and they also know that for all children, achieving this competency may take time and assistance from the teacher. Educators skillfully incorporate the ideas from social studies throughout the curriculum.

  • Health, physical education, and leisure teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities create opportunities for students to develop and practice skills and knowledge that contribute to good health. On their own, or in cooperation with specialists, teachers plan, organize, and carry out programs in health education that reinforce the major concepts, ideas, and actions that contribute to a healthful lifestyle and that keep students informed about health-related issues and concerns facing young people today, including nutrition, fitness, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance abuse. Teachers know the key principles of motor development and exercise science and how to apply this knowledge in developing physical education activities appropriate for students with disabilities. In addition, teachers understand that appropriate and stimulating leisure activities and interests can sharpen students' mental and physical skills, build their self-confidence, and improve their interactions with others. Realizing that participation at any level is important, teachers seek community resources to ensure greater access to recreational facilities and to develop and support leisure and recreational opportunities for students with exceptional needs.

  • Transition/vocational skills teachers who specialize in severe and multiple disabilities have a broad knowledge and understanding of the social skills, attitudes, vocational skills, and work habits required for success in various career fields, and they know how to infuse these skills into the curriculum with activities that lead students to acquire and develop lifelong work habits and social skills. They recognize and respond to their students' strengths and limitations and their postsecondary interests and aspirations. They help students formulate their ambitions and express their interests, and they involve students' families in discussions of realistic goals and ambitions. Teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills that empower them to take action. Building on their wide knowledge of community resources and other services, these teachers create a collaborative network of resources for training, employment, and community-based living.

  • Arts teachers who specialize in visual impairmentshave a broad knowledge of the visual and performing arts that allows them to design activities and experiences that are appropriate and enriching for children. These activities and experiences allow children to understand and experiment with various sources of inspiration for their work and to devise their own ideas for expression and for understanding and using a variety of materials. Teachers know the tools, materials, and processes that their students find particularly useful and can easily manipulate, and they help students select, control, and experiment with various media to facilitate their own expression.

  • Literacy and English language arts teachers who specialize in visual impairments design language arts activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Braille, in large print, or with low-vision aids and that foster critical and creative thinking through language. They use this knowledge to design appropriate activities and experiences for students of different ages and to explain their teaching strategies to parents, administrators, and colleagues. Teachers create a rich environment for literacy learning, using language and stimulating stories that connect with what students already know and are curious about. They promote and encourage the ongoing development of language and literacy in English as well as in the language spoken in the home and community. They help students develop the tactual skills necessary to access Braille materials, and they help students talk and write to express their ideas and feelings and to communicate with other people. Teachers use their knowledge of the typical stages of language and literacy development to assess students' responses.

  • Mathematics teachers who specialize in visual impairments know how students develop concepts and understandings in mathematics, and they use this knowledge in designing and selecting materials, in their teaching and assessment methods, and in framing discussions and responses to individual students. They draw on this knowledge and their understanding of the curriculum to plan activities that will deepen students' understandings of and improve their disposition toward mathematics and develop their ability to apply mathematics to everyday problems. Teachers view technology as providing opportunities for students to explore mathematical ideas, develop concepts, focus on problem-solving processes, and investigate realistic applications. Students learn to use objects, calculators, computers, charts, graphs, and other materials to help them express ideas, and they learn to represent problems and solutions in different ways.

  • Science teachers who specialize in visual impairments are familiar with the major ideas and concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences that form the basis of theories and concepts that explain how the world works. Teachers help students test their own questions and ideas about phenomena and materials in their environment and introduce them to methods of investigation that include predicting, observing, gathering, and analyzing data, and inferring and generalizing toward their own hypotheses. Teachers design projects, field experiences, and experiments that involve students as investigators and that allow them to build on their own intuitive explanations of how the world functions. They set up a rich array of open-ended materials and activities so that children can work with them in a variety of ways guided by their interests and questions. Teaching science is closely connected with other aspects of the curriculum, such as using mathematics, deciphering history, learning about physical health and development, and using language arts.

  • Social studies teachers who specialize in visual impairments use students' personal experiences and the environment of the classroom or centers to help students understand concepts from the social studies disciplines and to develop the dispositions toward social-studies learning that will ensure success as their studies progress. Teachers know the importance of children's developing the capacity to learn well with others who may come from different backgrounds, and they also know that for all children, achieving this competency may take time and assistance from the teacher. Educators skillfully incorporate the ideas from social studies throughout the curriculum.

  • Health, physical education, and leisure teachers who specialize in visual impairments create opportunities for students to develop and practice skills and knowledge that contribute to good health. On their own, or in cooperation with specialists, teachers plan, organize, and carry out programs in health education that reinforce the major concepts, ideas, and actions that contribute to a healthful lifestyle and that keep students informed about health-related issues and concerns facing young people today, including nutrition, fitness, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance abuse. Teachers know the key principles of motor development and exercise science and how to apply this knowledge in developing physical education activities appropriate for students with disabilities. In addition, teachers understand that appropriate and stimulating leisure activities and interests can sharpen students' mental and physical skills, build their self-confidence, and improve their interactions with others. Realizing that participation at any level is important, teachers seek community resources to ensure greater access to recreational facilities and to develop and support leisure and recreational opportunities for students with exceptional needs.

  • Transition/vocational skills teachers who specialize in visual impairments have a broad knowledge and understanding of the social skills, attitudes, vocational skills, and work habits required for success in various career fields, and they know how to infuse these skills into the curriculum with activities that lead students to acquire and develop lifelong work habits and social skills. They recognize and respond to their students' strengths and limitations and their postsecondary interests and aspirations. They help students formulate their ambitions and express their interests, and they involve students' families in discussions of realistic goals and ambitions. Teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills that empower them to take action. Building on their wide knowledge of community resources and other services, these teachers create a collaborative network of resources for training, employment, and community-based living.

  • Arts teachers who work with students who aredeaf/hard of hearing have a broad knowledge of the visual and performing arts that allows them to design activities and experiences that are appropriate and enriching for children. These activities and experiences allow children to understand and experiment with various sources of inspiration for their work and to devise their own ideas for expression and for understanding and using a variety of materials. Teachers know the tools, materials, and processes that their students find particularly useful and can easily manipulate, and they help students select, control, and experiment with various media to facilitate their own expression.

  • Literacy and English language arts teachers working with students who are deaf/hard of hearing design language arts activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and that foster critical and creative thinking through language. They use this knowledge to design appropriate activities and experiences for students of different ages and to explain their teaching strategies to parents, administrators, and colleagues. Teachers create a rich environment for literacy learning, using language and stimulating stories that connect with what students already know and are curious about. They promote and encourage the ongoing development of language and literacy in English as well as in the language spoken in the home and community. They help students sign or talk and write to express their ideas and feelings and to communicate with other people in their classroom, community, and the larger world. Teachers use their knowledge of the typical stages of language and literacy development to assess students' responses.

  • Mathematics teachers working with students who aredeaf/hard of hearing know how students develop concepts and understandings in mathematics, and they use this knowledge in designing and selecting materials, in their teaching and assessment methods, and in framing discussions and responses to individual students. They draw on this knowledge and their understanding of the curriculum to plan activities that will deepen students' understandings of and improve their disposition toward mathematics and develop their ability to apply mathematics to everyday problems. Teachers view technology as providing opportunities for students to explore mathematical ideas, develop concepts, focus on problem-solving processes, and investigate realistic applications. Students learn to use objects, calculators, computers, charts, graphs, and other materials to help them express ideas, and they learn to represent problems and solutions in different ways.

  • Science teachers working with students who aredeaf/hard of hearing are familiar with the major ideas and concepts of earth, life, and physical sciences that form the basis of theories and concepts that explain how the world works. Teachers help students test their own questions and ideas about phenomena and materials in their environment and introduce them to methods of investigation that include predicting, observing, gathering, and analyzing data, and inferring and generalizing toward their own hypotheses. Teachers design projects, field experiences, and experiments that involve students as investigators and that allow them to build on their own intuitive explanations of how the world functions. They set up a rich array of open-ended materials and activities so that children can work with them in a variety of ways, guided by their interests and questions. Teaching science is closely connected with other aspects of the curriculum, such as using mathematics, deciphering history, learning about physical health and development, and using language arts.

  • Social studies teachers working with students who aredeaf/hard of hearing use students' personal experiences and the environment of the classroom or centers to help students understand concepts from the social studies disciplines and to develop the dispositions toward social-studies learning that will ensure success as their studies progress. Teachers know the importance of children's developing the capacity to learn well with others who may come from different backgrounds, and they also know that for all children achieving this competency may take time and assistance from the teacher. Educators skillfully incorporate the ideas from social studies throughout the curriculum.

  • Health, physical education, and leisure teachersworking with students who are deaf/hard of hearingcreate opportunities for students to develop and practice skills and knowledge that contribute to good health. On their own, or in cooperation with specialists, teachers plan, organize, and carry out programs in health education that reinforce the major concepts, ideas, and actions that contribute to a healthful lifestyle and that keep students informed about health-related issues and concerns facing young people today, including nutrition, fitness, sexually transmitted diseases, and substance abuse. Teachers know the key principles of motor development and exercise science and how to apply this knowledge in developing physical education activities appropriate for students with disabilities. In addition, teachers understand that appropriate and stimulating leisure activities and interests can sharpen students' mental and physical skills, build their self-confidence, and improve their interactions with others. Realizing that participation at any level is important, teachers seek community resources to ensure greater access to recreational facilities and to develop and support leisure and recreational opportunities for students with exceptional needs.

  • Transition/vocational skills teachers working with students who are deaf/hard of hearing have a broad knowledge and understanding of the social skills, attitudes, vocational skills, and work habits required for success in various career fields and postsecondary education programs, and they know how to infuse these skills into the curriculum with activities that lead students to acquire and develop lifelong work habits and social skills. They recognize and respond to their students' strengths and limitations and their postsecondary interests and aspirations. They help students formulate their ambitions and express their interests, and they involve students' families in discussions of realistic goals and ambitions. Teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills that empower them to take action. Building on their wide knowledge of community resources and other services, these teachers create a collaborative network of resources for training, and employment.

___f. Meaningful learning 

  • Meaningful work develops when teachers help students delve into topics deeply, drawing upon students' perspectives, experiences, skills, concepts, and knowledge from several disciplines. Teachers create real-world opportunities, for students to experience work in any field at a skilled or professional level. Educators design activities to further students' understanding of important subject matter; they also help students learn how school, community, and work function. At the same time, teachers design and carry out instructional strategies and tasks that encourage students with exceptional needs to understand their own abilities and acquire skills that make them increasingly self-sufficient. Teachers create developmentally appropriate real-world opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and experience, and they design activities to familiarize students with community resources. Teachers seize opportunities to help students form valid and significant connections between schoolwork and daily life, focusing on both the practical applications of knowledge and the universal resonance of certain themes. Because they value student involvement, teachers create active classrooms where learners eagerly participate and share their concerns, frustrations, and successes. Teachers also put a high priority on furthering students' communication skills and their ability to participate in group settings, incorporating the use of various technologies into their instruction, as appropriate, to enhance students' communications skills. Teachers continually play a supportive role with their students, designing learning tasks at which they can succeed and thereby grow in self-confidence.

___g. Multiple paths to knowledge 

  • Teachers use a broad range of instructional techniques and activities that enable all students to achieve success. They also know that not all students learn in the same way. Thus, by observing their students or asking them directly, teachers recognize which strategies work best, which approaches make students feel most comfortable, and what support their students need to continue growing as learners. Therefore, teachers create learning situations in which all students feel safe exploring different approaches and response formats.

  • Because they understand student differences, teachers remain flexible and draw on a variety of meaningful examples to clarify tasks. They vary the pace or change the focus or method of instruction as needed to facilitate learning. They monitor their students' responses to instruction and modify activities, strategies, approaches, and materials until they find the right match for individual learners. Teachers create multiple activities to help individual students achieve success by focusing on realistic participation and attainable results.

___h. Social development 

  • Recognizing that social skills contribute to successful learning in groups and that social interaction is crucial to communicative and cognitive development, teachers establish a classroom climate in which both verbal and nonverbal communication enhance social interaction and the development of social skills. Moreover, they build a sense of social responsibility in their students by encouraging actions to support the common good and by helping students understand other viewpoints.

  • Along with nurturing their students' social and functional skills, teachers work actively to build in their students a sense of their own significance, power, and competence. They create an environment that enables students to believe they can, to a large extent, determine their own future, and they teach students to advocate for themselves when faced with discrimination or other barriers to participation in education, work, or community life.

  • Teachers nurture in students the development of sound democratic values, including concern for the rights of others. They help students understand how they relate to family members, their community, country, and the world.

  • Teachers play a role in shaping positive character traits in students, including honesty, tolerance, loyalty, responsibility, and the habit of persistence. In addition, they design activities that help students think about ethical dilemmas and issues--especially those involving people with disabilities--from a variety of perspectives, guiding students away from concern solely about themselves to an awareness of the needs, views, and rights of others.

Supporting student learning

___i. Assessment 

  • Teachers adeptly use multiple evaluation methods, both informal and formal, to judge the effectiveness of their teaching, to customize assessments for individual students, to help with placement decisions, to help students and parents understand and celebrate progress, and to respond to the public's need for accountability. They advocate for including students with exceptional needs in "high stakes" testing and assessments, whether in school- or district-wide accountability efforts, and for developing specialized measures to ensure that these students are assessed appropriately. They are adept at selecting, designing, and documenting test accommodations for students with disabilities.

  • Teachers are careful to establish clear and succinct criteria for instructional goals, thus enabling students to understand classroom assessment norms. They help their students learn to judge their own work and, in many cases, the work of others. They encourage students to set high and attainable goals for themselves, and they select strategies that help students reach those goals, teaching them to evaluate their own progress and develop the habit of self-assessment and to practice making decisions on the basis of their conclusions.

  • Teachers know that student evaluation must also include careful, systematic analysis of the reciprocal relationship between students and their environment.

  • Teachers work collaboratively with families and with a full range of school personnel and others on issues of student assessment.

___j. Learning environments 

  • The learning environment constructed by teachers fosters a sense of community, independence, and caring. Educators apply principles of fairness in a sensitive manner, recognizing competence, effort, and performance, providing students with learning activity options, and allocating time, learning opportunities, or other resources fairly and appropriately.

  • Teachers hold high expectations for all students and communicate their belief that all students can and will participate and learn.

  • Teachers use many strategies to promote conceptual understanding and to encourage innovation, creativity, independent inquiry, and student engagement, making it a point to provide consistent recognition for a wide variety of student accomplishments and positive behaviors.

  • Teachers involve their students in setting clear expectations for behavior, and they uphold these expectations fairly and consistently.

  • Teachers maintain an open, productive, and enriching learning environment by using a well-developed repertoire of strategies, skills, and procedures that allows their classroom to function smoothly and enables them to change directions effectively when it does not.

  • Teachers actively pursue positive interactions among all students, which lowers these risks by demonstrating respect for others, encouraging students to accept one another as capable individuals, and promoting support for their students within the school community.

  • Educators create safe learning environments that engage students, recognize individual differences, encourage choice and expression, and promote inquiry and the independent pursuit of learning.

___k. Instructional resources 

  • Teachers recognize that many technologies have the potential for providing alternative pathways for learning, communication, and independence. Aware of the latest technologies and products for students with exceptional needs, teachers know how to integrate these tools into their classrooms and how to use them to help students improve their academic performance.

  • Teachers enlist the knowledge and expertise of their colleagues and others to provide students with rewarding learning experiences. They also have an expansive view of the learning environment, seeing their local community as an extension of the school.

___l. Family partnerships 

  • Teachers know how to engage parents in their children's educational programs and work with them to promote their children's growth. Through regular interaction, teachers establish rapport with families and gain understanding about students. Based on this relationship, teachers work with families to help children develop good learning habits and study skills, finish assignments, set goals, and improve performance.

Professional development and outreach

___m. Reflective practice 

  • Teachers are systematically introspective and analytical as they make adjustments to strengthen their instruction and improve student outcomes. By tailoring their instruction to the needs of individual students, teachers increase the prospects of success for themselves and their students.

  • Teachers seek input from a variety of sources, including colleagues, allied professionals, families, and students, and they work actively within the school and the educational community at large to keep abreast of useful new materials, teaching strategies, and research.

___n. Contributing to the profession and to education 

  • Teachers participate in a range of school, district, and community efforts to advance teaching and to improve education. They may serve as mentors or coaches, helping novice teachers and colleagues increase their understanding and skills related to the education of students with exceptional needs. In addition, they serve as advocates for students, and they strive to implement necessary changes within and beyond the walls of their individual classrooms.