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Special Education

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In addition to the College general education requirements, the following courses are required for the major: SPED 223, 244, 310, 318, 323, 326, 333, 335, 340, 344, 350, 354, and 360. Students must earn grades of B or higher in SPED 340 and 350 before taking further upper-level education courses.

Students will also take a total of 15 credit hours of clinical practice (student teaching) at the elementary or secondary (SPED 481) level. Other required courses are EDUC 202, 225, and 237; ELED 232, 304, 308, and 383; SCED 311; PSYC 201 and 242; and HIST 104, 201, or 202. Additionally, students must take one biology class and one physical science class, at least one of which includes a lab experience.

Courses

SPED 223. Teaching in a Diverse Society: Education of the Exceptional Learner. (3) Introduces the educator to the needs and abilities of exceptional students, those with disabilities and those who are considered gifted. Emphasizes growth and development, etiology, learning, and behavioral characteristics of students who demonstrate a need for additional educational services in order to achieve their full potential. The historical, philosophical, and legal foundations underlying instructional programs and services to accommodate learners with diverse needs in the school and community are examined. Techniques for instruction, behavioral management and intervention, special education services, continuum of services, and current issues and trends in the field are analyzed. Prerequisite: EDUC 202.

SPED 244. Learning Characteristics of Individuals with Diverse Needs and Abilities. (3) Prepares the professional educator to approach the study of exceptionalities and individuals with exceptionalities in a systematic and reflective manner. Integrates historical foundations, theories, philosophies, and practices geared toward the education of individuals with diverse needs and abilities in a variety of multicultural settings. Prepares individuals to effectively meet educational, physical, social, and behavioral needs, as well as other learning difficulties encountered by learners with disabilities. Prerequisite: SPED 223.

SPED 310. Educational Design and Management in Diverse Classroom Settings. (3) This course is designed to develop the skills to structure a safe learning environment, establish healthy and culturally appropriate teacher-student relationships, encourage self-motivation for learning, and build successful classroom communities. Students develop a relevant classroom management plan that includes rules, procedures, expected behaviors, and uses problem solving strategies to resolve behavior problems. It introduces students to the tools necessary to conduct functional assessments and the tools to create functional based behavioral intervention plans. Prerequisites: EDUC 225 and SPED 223.

SPED 318. Collaboration and Conference Techniques for Special Educators in Schools, with Families, and in the Community. (3) Prepares the educator to analyze through foundational text, case studies, and community interaction the issues, research, implementation approaches, and recommended practices for employing collaborative models to support the learning of students with diverse needs and abilities. Strategies that facilitate the development of interactive teams, effective communication, conferencing with parents and other professionals, problem-solving strategies, co-teaching, and consultation will be explored. Prerequisite: SPED 223.

SPED 323. Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education. (3) Introduces the educator to foundations of traditional and contemporary assessment approaches for the special needs population. Professional assessment standards, confidentiality, and bias are explored. Emphasis on technical skills and interpretation of individual and group test results, various methods of data recording, and report writing. Performance based, authentic, and portfolio assessments examined. Emphasis placed on current program monitoring and responsiveness to interventions. Current issues in the field are explored. Prerequisite: SPED 223. When offered online, permission of instructor also required.

SPED 326. Math Content and Methodology for the Diverse Learner, P-21. (3) Examination of the pedagogical mathematics content for P-12 students provides a foundation for understanding and implementing mathematics curricula in the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Included are diagnostic and prescriptive teaching methods, materials, and evaluation of mathematics for diverse learners on all levels pre-school through grade 12. A field experience is required, preparing the preservice teacher for implementation of mathematics lesson plans which align to the CCSS. Prerequisite: MATH 121 with a C or better and SPED 223.

SPED 333. Medical and Health Issues and Technology in the Classroom. (3) Provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to provide an effective, safe, and accepting learning environment for children with a variety of health care needs. The course will include strategies for making individual student accommodations, coordinating specialized health care in the school, and recognizing student health problems. Medical terminology will be integrated throughout the course. Students will visit classes with children who have medical and health issues in order to observe the health care needs and special situations encountered by teachers. Prerequisite: SPED 223 and junior standing.

SPED 335. Transition in School, Work, and Community. (3) Prepares the special educators to develop the knowledge and skills needed to best prepare individuals with disabilities for their roles in their education, community, and adult life. Students will pursue this through current professional journals and literature and through field experience observational visits to community service providers and sites. Students will demonstrate competencies in such areas as knowledge of current legislation related to transition, understanding and identifying theoretical perspectives and conceptual models, collaboration, transitional planning, advocacy, quality of life issues, service provider options, family perspectives and issues, person-centered planning, vocational and career education, early intervention, self-determination, and best practices and current research-based approaches. Students will approach special education as a whole-life and whole-person field. Prerequisite: SPED 223.

SPED 340. Field Experience in Special Education. (3) Prepares the future special educator to observe instruction that implements appropriate curriculum content, adaptations and modifications, behavior management, and classroom technology. Provides the opportunity to reflect on classroom interactions and deepen understanding of the role of key stakeholders within the classroom setting. The student's performance in the classroom will demonstrate knowledge and skills from previous coursework. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

SPED 344. Methods of Instruction for Learners with Diverse Needs and Abilities. (3) Methods of educating children and youth who demonstrate learning problems related to a diagnosis of disabilities and the need for special education. Includes teaching methods and strategies, making classroom and individual student accommodations, and review of commercial and teacher-made materials and pre-teaching experience in educational settings for students with learning disabilities. Prerequisites: SPED 244 and consent of the instructor.

SPED 350. Advanced Field Experience in Special Education. (3) Provides the student with direct experience in the classroom and in the education of learners with diverse needs and abilities. Provides the opportunity for observation in the school setting and interactions with professionals currently in the field. The student is responsible for the instructional needs of both small and large group activities and one-to-one educational experiences. Prepares the future special educator to design instruction that implements appropriate curriculum content, adaptations and modifications, behavior management, and classroom technology and to demonstrate the competencies of the Council for Exceptional Children for effective instructors of students with disabilities. Provides the opportunity to reflect on classroom interactions and deepen understanding of the role of key stakeholders within the classroom setting. The student's performance in the classroom will demonstrate knowledge and skills from previous coursework. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

SPED 354. A Collaborative Approach to Curricular and Instructional Adaptations. (3) This course is designed to develop necessary skills of future special educators and future general educators to enable them to productively adapt curriculum and instruction to optimize the potential of all students with disabilities. Students will be introduced to the current best practices and research-based methodologies of curricular adaptations, including accommodations and modifications. Using a developmental sequence approach to diverse learners and their needs, students develop a broad view of interventions and innovative practices as they relate to curricular methods, materials, and media in a variety of learning environments. Students will demonstrate a critical approach to instruction as it impacts the life-long process of learning. This class incorporates collaboration, ethical practices, state standards, learning strategies, and individualized education as they apply to the academic, physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral needs of learners with diverse needs and abilities. Prerequisites: EDUC 225 and SPED 223.

SPED 360. Special Education Law and Process. (3) This class introduces the student to the laws, regulations, and key court cases that impact students with disabilities. It also introduces the student to the critical role of the special educator in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the individualized education program. Prerequisite: SPED 223.

SPED 390. Seminar in Special Education. (3) A study of the legal and ethical aspects of special education and services for individuals with disabilities. Translates theory into practice through student research and reflection about issues concerning learners with diverse needs and abilities in a variety of multicultural settings. Special educators must engage in a continuous process of critical and reflective analysis assessing current issues in the field such as, but not limited to, student programming and cultural perspectives, collaborative designs, philosophical differences, professional development, coordination and integration of theory and pedagogical practices, curriculum standards and instructional strategies, and ethical and professional practice. Prerequisite: junior standing in the division.

SPED 481. Clinical Practice in Special Education. (15) Provides the student with direct experience in the classroom. The student is responsible for assessing, planning, and implementing the instructional interventions for learners with diverse needs and abilities, monitoring and documenting student progress, as well as managing the day-to-day operational procedures for the classroom, eventually assuming all the duties of the mentoring teacher for the entire academic day. The student-teacher designs and implements both an interdisciplinary instructional unit plan and a case study incorporating a functional behavioral assessment and a behavioral intervention plan. Prepares the future special educator to design instruction that implements appropriate Common Core curriculum content, adaptations and modifications, behavior management, and classroom technology and to demonstrate the competencies of the Council for Exceptional Children for effective instructors of students with disabilities. The student's performance in the classroom will demonstrate knowledge and skills from previous coursework. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisite: senior standing, acceptance into the division, and completion of required coursework.