In this course, teacher candidates are introduced to topics/core content related to both Special Education and Mental Health and Well-Being. Teacher candidates will consider Special Education from the perspective of the general classroom teacher. From this perspective, special education is not "special" but is effective teaching that benefits all students in the class. Teacher candidates will consider Mental Health as pertaining to students' resilience, social/emotional well-being and mental wellness.
This course is designed to promote critical and reflective thinking and learning about topics related to supporting a diverse range of learners, including students identified as requiring special education support. Specifically, this course will support teacher candidates to: (1) examine their own beliefs and practices related to supporting student learning, (2) understand and utilize a strength-based approach and teaching strategies for differentiation, accommodation, and modification to plan for and assess learning needs, (3) understand the relationship among mental health, well-being and achievement and view student well-being as inclusive of physical, cognitive/mental, social and emotional well-being, (4) identify ways to support students' mental health and well-being and identify students who require more intensive intervention (4) develop the capacities to work with families and other professionals in support of students, (5) demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and confidence necessary to effectively promote success for students with a broad range of experiences, needs and abilities, including students with exceptionalities, (6) develop the knowledge and skills pertaining to First Nation, Métis, and Inuit ways of thinking about the kinds of differences associated with special education needs. This course will pay particular attention to current research in planning for inclusion through Universal Design for Learning (UDL), differentiated instruction (DI), and response to intervention (RTI) and how these can inform teachers' responses to students; various ways of being, learning, and showing understanding in the classroom.