Special education is one of the most rapidly growing careers in the United States, Canada and many other countries. (I had special education teachers myself when I was in high school; I am what you call I high-functioning autistic. It is amazing that such a person can write an article such as this one.) This article will deal specifically with international careers in the field of special education.
Handicapped children live in every nation in the world, so an individual who has a certificate in special education can find a job almost anywhere that he or she searches. According to the State Department, there are two main types of special education jobs open to the international teacher: that of the general teacher, and that of the tutor who works with children living in areas where the special education programs at the schools are not enough to suit their needs.
The Department of State has two teaching programs for those who would like to go into special education abroad. One is the FAST TRAIN (Foreign Affairs Spouses Teacher Training Project) program, which began as a collaboration among three different institutions: the Office of Overseas Schools (part of the State Department), the Virginia State Department of Education and George Mason University. Special education is one of two certificate programs offered by FAST TRAIN (the other being in international business). A training program for tutoring the learning disabled is also available each fall from the Lab School of Washington, a small private school for disabled students in all grades.
The FAST TRAIN program
At FAST TRAIN, the training program for becoming a special education teacher abroad is one that leads to an M.Ed. (Master of Education) degree. It consists, first, of five core courses with a total of twelve credit hours:
- Education and Culture: teaches how to analyze educational contexts and extend strategies to address “puzzlements” in the practices of students
- Inquiry into Practice: fosters “systematic and thoughtful inquiry” into the practices of the classroom
- How Students Learn: how to increase the ability of students to learn by studying a variety of learning systems and understand each student “in the context of the learning process itself”
- Designing and Assessing Teaching and Learning: developing strategies in the curriculum and teaching process in response to what the students both need and in what they are interested; also covers the ways of knowing brought by teachers into the classroom
- Educational Change: examines the various factors that influence changes in educational systems on all levels, from federal to classroom; helps students reflect on their own learning experiences
Then there are numerous specialization courses which total eighteen credit hours, divided among the following areas of concentration:
- Applied Behavior Analysis: The titles of five of the seven courses in this area include the course name followed by a colon (Principles, Procedures and Philosophy; Empirical Bases; Assessments and Interventions; Applications; and Verbal Behavior).
- Assistive Technology (There are two programs in this area, each including a slightly different set of courses.)
- Teaching Students with Autism: Students with this condition typically have a limited ability to relate socially to other people but may possess special skills such as an ability to memorize various lists (I memorized all the states, capitals, U. S. presidents and chemical elements when I was eleven!).
- Visual Impairments Licensure, PK-12
- Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum Concentration
- Students with Disabilities who Access the Accepted Curriculum Concentration
Some of the courses are offered only during the spring, summer or fall.
Lab School of Washington
The lab operates under the belief that each student, despite his or her handicap, is capable of achieving great things and gears every aspect of its teaching process towards accomplishing that end. There is a global learning program here in which students discover discover the food, music and customs of other nations and study poets and other writers from around the world. A study program is also included, and students have gone to China, Ecuador, France and other places.
Written By Treasures