Holistic Special Education, a new concentration in Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Master’s in Education teacher certification program, was approved by the New Hampshire Board of Education January 16.
The new program prepares students for a dual state certification by studying both elementary and special education. With this degree, a graduate will be ready for a job as a special education educator, as a general classroom teacher, or both.
Employment demand for such teachers is strong. Special education is an educational “critical shortage area” in New Hampshire, which means there are far too few qualified educators in the state. It’s a nationwide phenomenon, exacerbated by new, more stringent No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards.
The standard approach to special education in the past has been to sharply divide teaching responsibilities between general classroom teachers and special education teachers, said Teri Young, faculty in AUNE’s Department of Education. That has changed with the federal NCLB law. NCLB places many more requirements on the classroom teacher to plan for and include children with special challenges in all general classroom instruction. “The new AUNE program is meeting the needs of the teacher of the future,” Young said.
AUNE’s elementary teacher certification program is already rooted in the philosophy of integrated learning and inclusion—teaching children of all abilities and challenges. The AUNE faculty has long experience in teaching differentiated instruction; its strategies and approaches are interwoven through all of the education courses. “It’s in our DNA,” said Jane Miller, director of the Elementary Teacher Certification and Early Childhood Teacher Certification program. “The best teacher can meet a wide range of needs, and we are teaching that already.”
Students in the Holistic Special Education concentration will take the required courses for the Master’s in Elementary Education and a set of additional courses to address preparation for special education.
AUNE’s Elementary Teacher Certification and Early Childhood Teacher Certification master’s degree program typically takes sixteen months to complete. In addition to Holistic Special Education, there are two other concentrations: Arts and Humanities, and Science and Environmental Education.
Applications to the program are open, and the first students will matriculate in fall 2013. Find out more about the program here.
A visiting day for the Elementary Teacher Certification and Early Childhood Teacher Certification program, including all concentrations, will be held on February 21.
“Can We Do Better? Alternative Approaches to Special Education,” a professional development conference scheduled for May 22, 2013, will highlight the new concentration’s philosophical approach and upcoming courses. Stay tuned for more information.