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Four Areas of Practice (K-12)

Explore the four areas of practice (K-12): assessment, collaboration, instruction, and social/emotional/behavorial.



Assessment plays a foundational role in special education: It allows teachers to identify individual students’ strengths and needs. Special education teachers need to be able to administer and analyze assessments in order to provide necessary services and develop individualized education programs. Not only do assessments help special educators identify the strengths and needs of their students, but they also help parents better understand the needs of their children.

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For special education teachers, constantly working with a wide range of people—other teachers, school staff, families, and caregivers―is more than part of the job description. Working with these various groups and collaborating with them is essential and ultimately provides many benefits for the children we work to support. Implementing collaboration practices builds effective relationships and creates a better understanding of students’ needs, which allows them to succeed.

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A special education teacher’s instruction should focus on learning goals, being explicit and flexible, and using various learning tools such as technology. When instruction is well designed, strategic, and adaptable, special education teachers have the skills to improve student learning.

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All special education teachers want their students to feel comfortable and learn while they are in the classroom. To achieve this, a special education teacher needs to establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment. If a learning environment like this is created, then it will serve as a strong platform to successfully implement all the other HLPs.

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