Special needs education can be defined as a collection of processes of equipping learners with knowledge and skills, while considering their individual learning requirements (Friend 102). The interview was conducted on a professional in the field of special needs education. He was chosen for the discussion because he was quite experienced in teaching learners with unique learning requirements. It was conducted in an integrated school, where the professional was working. After he was requested for an interview, he stated that his office could be the best venue because he could use resources to demonstrate various aspects of special needs education. When he was being interviewed, his office was well arranged. Moreover, it was typified by adequate lighting.
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Interview with a professional
With regard to the interviewee’s education background, he went to ABC Primary School between 1990 and 1997, where he attained a mean grade of A. In 1998, he went to CBA College of Special Education. He majored in hearing impairment. This was for the reason that there were many children in his locality that had hearing problems, and he wished to help them. He attained a distinction. After college, he voluntarily worked in the XXY Home for the disabled from where he gained some insights in relation to handling children with special needs, especially those with hearing problems. He worked there for two years.
In 2003, he joined the (insert the name of the university) to continue with his studies. He studied counseling psychology at the university. It took him three years to complete his studies. In addition, the interviewee said that he had attended many workshops where he received training with regard to dealing with special learners. After completing his undergraduate studies, he worked in a school for the deaf, and he was in charge of learners who were unable to hear.
He was also the patron of the music club. While in college, he was in charge of student affairs. During his study at the university, he was the chairperson of the students’ governing council. This helped him to develop leadership skills. Currently, he is working in an integrated school, where there are both normal students and those with different learning needs.
When he was asked how he deals with learners with unique learning needs, he stated that he handles them in a classroom situation, where he utilizes curriculum-based materials to meet their academic requirements. He pointed out that the school has students who are totally deaf, and others have mild hearing problems.
The interviewee plays the role of a class teacher, where he identifies students with special needs and offers guidance and counseling. In addition, he involves the department of special needs education so that they are offered more help. It is critical to note that the interviewee has encountered many challenges since he started handling children with unique learning needs. First, in the XXY Home for the disabled, there were inadequate learning facilities and equipment for children with learning difficulties.
Another challenge he encountered was negative self-conceptualization of students. This was the case due to society’s perceptions. During his voluntary teaching, there was poor remuneration. Currently, learning facilities in his institution are over-utilized. This is for the reason that there are many learners with hearing problems, yet there are relatively few materials. Ignorance of parents is another challenge that he faces. Some parents and guardians do not take their children to school at the right age. Finally, there is a bigger number of learners with exceptional needs compared with teachers in the school.
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In relation to rewards, the interviewee was given a trophy for being the most dedicated teacher in the XXY Home for the disabled. In addition, he has been awarded a certificate for being the most hardworking teacher in his current organization. This implies that education professionals are poorly motivated because the interviewed candidate could have received more rewards since he played many roles. Higher levels of motivation in the workplace can result in remarkable improvements in performance outcomes.
The interviewee collaborates with other teachers and other school members. First, he usually calls parents to come and discuss issues affecting their children. With regard to teachers, he consults them vis-a-vis monitoring and solving problems that affect students. He seeks assistance from other school members, such as the principal, in case there are learning resources that are needed. When he was asked how he could advise a future special needs professional, the interviewee stated that he would advise him or her to have high levels of determination.
The professional and RTI
With regard to the extent to which the school has implemented RTI, he said that teachers engage students and parents to ensure that excellent learning outcomes are achieved. Other stakeholders need to help them in the development of teaching and/or learning materials, such as notes and lesson plans. The school has not done much in utilization of the RTI model to help students.
About the roles he plays in implementing RTI, he has not been actively involved in responding to interventions. However, he has been assigned the responsibility of facilitating small groups in reading and training students on how to be independent in cleanliness.
Regarding evaluation, he stated that he collects data about learners to determine those who are academically weak in the initial process. In ongoing assessments, he develops materials for evaluating learners. As students move from one tier to another, he utilizes the data that he collects to monitor their progress. Regarding how learners qualify for special education services, the interviewee said that he utilizes their data to determine those who have unique needs.
In the aspect of assessment, the interviewed candidate stated that the school uses both diagnostic tools and curriculum-based measures (CBM) instruments. In addition, the school makes good use of behavior implementation tools and early childhood screening tools.
Despite the fact that the school has some facilities to meet the unique requirement of learners, the interviewee contended that there are many challenges that are encountered in each tier. In the first tier, i.e., core instructions, knowing learners who need interventions has been a challenge. This has been the case because some students fear explaining their problems. In the second tier, i.e., group interventions, developing new methods of handling the identified learners has been a problem. In the last tier, i.e., intensive interventions, building consensus has been a problem, especially for learners who do not accept that they need special attention.
In conclusion, four things were learned from the interview. First, good knowledge about special needs education is important in meeting individual requirements of learners. Second, for learners to be educated effectively, institutions of learning should have enough learning materials. Third, in the context of special needs education, RTI measures go a long way in ensuring that teachers produce the best performance outcomes. Fourth, for professionals in the field of special needs education to teach efficiently, they need to undergo the right training, and be motivated at the workplace.
Friend, Marilyn. Special education: Contemporary perspectives for school professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Higher Ed, 2013. Print.