Special Education

Support Students in Need

Special education needs exceptional teachers. Take on this challenge, and find yourself in a field of passionate, compassionate professionals. Experience various classroom environments and learn to be comfortable with any student in your future classroom. Help society understand the needs of individuals with disabilities with a job that impacts lives.

Explore Special Education

As you grow into your teaching education, you will work with your professors to further develop your passion for helping students with disabilities.

What's the Difference? 

  • Attend classes, meetings and labs within a preK-5 elementary school located right on our campus.
  • Learn from DWU’s amazing professors; our low student to teacher ratio provides valuable one-on-one time with your mentors.
  • Complete more than 300 hours of classroom experience.
  • Design your unique one-semester student teaching capstone.

Special Education Courses

You will take a wide array of courses providing you with both the fundamentals of classroom teaching and the specific knowledge needed within your chosen specialty. Special Education students takes classes like:

SPD 470 Student Teaching in Special Education
3 Hours
Candidates will student teach for 75 school days under the supervision of a certified special education teacher. Candidates are assigned to a school district and supervised by a certified teacher at the elementary level (K–8) and at secondary level (5–12). The student teaching will be divided in half at each level. During this period, they will fulfill obligations and responsibilities similar to those of the cooperating teacher. This course is part of the professional semester and is taken with a two-credit seminar, which is part of the 16 hours for degree candidates. Candidates also meet during the professional semester for seminar requirements. This course is offered Credit/No Credit only. The DWU Student Teacher Handbook and seminar syllabus serve as the course syllabus. Prerequisites: Completion of all coursework required for graduation, 2.6 GPA, admission from the education department faculty, submission of passing Praxis II examination scores for the required tests and approval for student teaching placement. Corequisite: EDU 475.
SPD 206 Introduction to Exceptional Students
3 Hours
This course defines and examines the nature and needs of exceptional learners, including those with documented disabilities as well as giftedness and those with multicultural heritages. Special education foundations and legal mandates will be discussed. Appropriate accommodations and teaching methods designed to meet the needs of the range of students included in a typical classroom will be examined. The role of teachers, parents and other relevant personnel will be investigated in relation to programming for struggling learners. Students will research a specific educational challenge and complete observation hours in a school setting. Prerequisite: EDU 201 or Corequisite EDU 201 or instructor permission.
EDU 412 Adolescent Learners' Needs
3 Hours
This course will help prepare candidates to teach at the middle grade level. The course will develop an understanding of the middle school concept and the instructional strategies that support that concept. Field experience at the middle level will be required. Prerequisite: EDU 201.
EDU 311 Educational Psychology
3 Hours
This course will examine theories of learning and how they may be applied to the classroom. It will include the study of cognitive development, motivation and learning, how knowledge is constructed, constructivism, individual differences in learning, and learning environments. Prerequisites: EDU 201. Non-education majors must have consent of the instructor.
EDU 220 Technology for Teachers
1 Hours
This course provides a foundation for integrating technology into the classroom. A primary goal is the development of a mindset intent on exploring, identifying, engaging and applying current, emerging and future technologies in the teaching/learning process. Students enrolled in the course will consider the appropriate relationship of technology to standards and ethical issues. They will design and present technology-enhanced lessons and become skilled, confident users of digital and electronic resources.

Get to Know Your Professors

Become a teacher and learn from our fabulous teachers! Our low student-to-teacher ratio offers valuable one-on-one interaction with professors.

Ashley Digmann, Ed.D.

Education Department Chair

Melissa Weber, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Education | Master of Arts in Education Coordinator

Mindy Childs, M.Ed.

Assistant Professor of Education

Stephanie Gelderman, M.S.

Assistant Professor of Education

Tressa Wede, M.Ed.

Assistant Professor of Education

Student Teaching

Don't worry about being on your own. Experience a full semester of student teaching before you graduate! You’ll complete at least 300 hours in the classroom in our program, so you'll start your career after college with confidence. Engage in classroom activities with local students and learn with your peers under faculty supervision.

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            Elementary Education

            You will never feel younger than when you spend your days among students in the elementary grades.


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