The online Master of Education in Special Education general education concentration, which can lead to an endorsement in the special education general curriculum, is designed to prepare graduates with the professional knowledge and skills needed to work in a variety of settings.
- General education classrooms (where children with special needs are being collaboratively taught)
- Resource, modified resource or collaborative resource rooms
- Self-contained settings or classrooms in varied urban, suburban or rural areas
- Residential programs
- Various community environments
Special training is provided in teaching reading and language, behavior management, and the use of interactive strategies that teach positive social skills. Candidates are prepared to work with students in completing a variety of transitions, such as from special education to the general education classroom or from high school to employment and independent living.
Through online course work, the general education concentration encompasses broad concepts of education, research, development, related disciplines and special education to build a foundation of professional knowledge and understanding. Specialized courses develop the intensive diagnostic, remedial, decision-making and consultative skills and understandings required of a professional in a special education-general education setting, including the ability to recognize educational and social problems, to formulate effective individualized instructional interventions using a variety of methodologies and modifications, to incorporate accommodations and transitions into program plans and to consult productively with appropriate personnel in the development of maximum educational opportunities for students with high-incidence disabilities. In addition to course work, candidates will create an electronic portfolio that will showcase their knowledge, skills and dispositions in the special education general curriculum.
The program offers candidates the opportunity to complete clinical placements in their own classroom or school with approval from VCU faculty and supervision by trained personnel. Placement opportunities for clinical experiences include a range of public and private schools and mental health programs that allow graduate students to select field experiences that are consistent with their professional goals. Previous teaching experience is valued, but not required. Students will have the opportunity to complete a practicum in addition to the externship. When students complete the program, they are eligible for licensure by the Virginia Department of Education with an endorsement to teach students enrolled in special education, general curriculum in grades K-12. Candidates are offered the option of taking a full-time or an on-the-job externship for a semester.