B.A. in Special Education Areas of Study
The content of the WGU Bachelor of Arts in Special Education derives from research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable teachers to perform effectively in diverse classrooms. The program content and training processes are consistent with the accountability intent of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified teachers. As described in the federal legislation, a highly qualified teacher is one who not only possesses full state certification, but also has solid content knowledge of the subject(s) he or she teaches. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) appropriate and rigorous subject-matter preparation, (b) scientifically based pedagogical course preparation, and (c) clinical field experiences in which teacher candidates are supervised by trained coaches.
The general education courses focus on basic subject matter knowledge that is typically included in baccalaureate level programs. Evaluation of your previous college transcripts may clear assessment requirements for some areas of the liberal arts domain, which could shorten your program of study by removing assessments. To waive or clear a course, the transcript must show that you have taken equivalent classes in the content areas and passed those classes with a C grade or higher at an accredited institution of higher education.
Health and Fitness
This course focuses on the importance and foundations of good health and physical fitness, particularly for children and adolescents.
Foundations of College Mathematics
This course focuses on basic numeracy and calculation skills, basic algebra skills, basic geometry principles, and basic data and probability skills.
This course focuses on the application of grammatical standards and reading skills.
English Composition I
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments.
U.S. Government and Constitution
This course includes major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.
English Composition II
Mathematics for Elementary Educators I
This course covers important topics in problem solving, set theory, number theory, whole numbers and integers.
Mathematics for Elementary Educators II
This course takes topics in problem solving, set theory, number theory, whole numbers and integers and generalizes them into algebraic reasoning.
Mathematics for Elementary Educators III
This course takes topics statistics and measurement and covers geometry from synthetic, transformational, and coordinate perspectives.
Elements of Effective Communication
Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
These courses focus on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.
Introduction to Biology
Topics in these courses include cell structure and function, bioenergetics, DNA structure and function, protein synthesis, cell reproduction, taxonomy, evolution, and ecology.
Survey in U.S. and World History
The content in these courses include major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.
General Education Social Sciences
These courses includes topics in social science theory and method; human development and behavior; modern economic, social, and political institutions; and geography and human cultures.
Collegiate Level Reasoning and Problem Solving
This course includes topics in 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.
Integrated Physical Sciences
These courses provide a comprehensive overview of the basic principles and unifying concepts of physics, astronomy, chemistry, and earth sciences.
Teacher Education Foundations
Courses focused on teacher education serve to provide a strong background in the academic knowledge needed to be successful teachers knowledge about children, learning theories, educational philosophies, educational law, metacognition, motivation, assessment, and management.
Fundamentals of Foundational Perspectives in Education
Students will learn the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education while reflecting on educational issues impacting today’s educators.
Students will explore multiple genres, historical perspectives, cultural representations, and current applications of children’s literature.
Fundamentals of Educational Psychology
Students will learn the major theories of typical and atypical physical, social, cognitive, and moral development of children and adolescents. Information processing, brain research, memory, and metacognition will also be covered.
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.
Students will learn how to make appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments.
Teacher Education Diversity
Courses focused on diversity serve to broaden and deepen students’ understanding, experience, and critical thinking skills with regard to cultural differences and cross-cultural interactions.
Cultural Studies and Diversity
Students will learn strategies to become more culturally aware in their personal and professional relationships. They will analyze the role of culture in today’s world, develop culturally-responsive practices, and understand the barriers to and the benefits of diversity.
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.
Special Education, Law and Legal Issues
Psychoeducational Assessment Practices and IEP Development and Implementation
Behavioral Management and Intervention
Instructional Models and Design, Supervision and Culturally Responsive Teaching
Courses focused on preclinical experiences help students engage in early field experiences with a focus on connecting theory to practice, understanding the professional responsibilities of teachers, and developing strategies that positively impact the learning of a diverse population of students. Students will complete both video-based observations and in-classroom observations.
Introduction to Preclinical Experiences
Students will utilize video observations to reflect on a wide range of educational considerations so that they can develop the tools necessary to be prepared in the classroom. Students will document at least 40 hours of video observation.
Preclinical Experiences in Elementary and Special Education
Students will 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 reflect on and document at least 60 hours of in-classroom observations. 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, a completed resume, philosophy of teaching, and professional photo.
Instructional Planning and Presentation
Courses focused on instructional planning and presentation assist students into developing the instructional strategies that lead to effective instruction. A major focus is turning the written lesson plan into effective classroom instruction.
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 for Elementary and Special Education
Students will continue to build instructional planning skills with a focus on selecting appropriate materials for diverse learners, selecting age- and ability-appropriate strategies for the content areas, promoting critical thinking, and establishing both short- and long-term goals.
Elementary Education Methods
Courses focused on elementary education methods prepare students for developing strategies to teach the various subjects found in today’s classrooms. Students with a solid understanding of the methods presented in each course will transition into effective elementary teachers.
Elementary Reading and Literacy Methods
Students will learn how to teach reading and literacy instruction in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Language Arts Instruction and Intervention
Students will learn how to teach language arts instruction in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Elementary Mathematics Methods
Students will learn how to teach mathematics in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Elementary Science Methods
Students will learn how to teach science in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Elementary Social Studies Methods
Students will learn how to teach social studies in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Elementary Visual and Performing Arts Methods
Students will learn how to teach visual and performing arts in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Elementary Physical Education and Health Methods
Students will learn how to teach physical and health education in the elementary classroom by utilizing research based instructional practices.
Demonstration Teaching is a full-time, in-classroom supervised experience required of all teacher candidates. It is the culminating experience of the program and all academic requirements must be complete before beginning. Additional requirements include a cleared background check, passing scores on state and WGU required content exams, and demonstration of satisfactory teacher dispositions.
Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Elementary and Special Education
A WGU clinical supervisor (an experienced educator who lives and works near your teaching location) will observe your teaching on multiple occasions – at least six observations are required – and evaluation will be completed according to a published checklist and rubric. The clinical supervisors submit the results to WGU for review and recording.
Teacher Work Sample
The WGU Teacher Works Sample requires teacher candidate to plan and teach a multi-week, standards-based instructional unit that showcases a collection of content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills.
Professional Portfolio in Elementary and Special Education
Students will create and online teaching portfolio to demonstrate competency of the Demonstration Teaching experience. The portfolio is a way to show colleagues and potential employers the skills that have been developed throughout your Demonstration Teaching experience.
Cohort Seminar in Elementary and Special Education
Students will participate in a weekly cohort call to collaborate with a cohort facilitator and fellow students to discuss progress and best practices for completing the Teacher Work Sample, Observations, and Portfolio.