If you are new to teaching special education classes or have recently switched to teaching that challenging group of kids, it is important to be aware of the different details that you might be evaluated on when it is your turn to be observed. For instance, how well you manage the classroom and the methods with which you do so are likely to be noticed and documented. If you are nervous or a bit unsure about what to expect from the evaluation, it's a good idea to consider the following information.
Your Overall Management Of The Room And Students
Given that special education is an all-inclusive description that describes students with a wide variety of health and mental challenges, you are undoubtedly aware that it is often necessary to modify the way you interact with your students. For example, if there is a child on the autism spectrum who requires repetitive behavior in order to function adequately, you will undoubtedly interact with him or her differently than you might with a child with ADHD or a hearing deficit.
Your evaluation will therefore identify which steps you take to meet the unique learning needs of your students. As part of that, any weak spots will be documented and constructive criticism as to how you can more effectively meet the needs of your students. Your critique is then likely to address you specific teaching methods, as explained next.
The Teaching Methods You Use
Although there are five primary teaching methods in use today, they are not all equally appropriate for all special needs students. For instance, the lecture method using verbal communication is not appropriate for the hearing-impaired child who is not yet adept at reading lips. In that instance, the obvious solution is to be fluent in sign language, but if you are not, flash cards, visual learning and environmental changes as needed are quite helpful. Incorporating them into your teaching practices without ignoring the needs of your other students is often part of your assessment.
Another example of that is seen with autistic children as they often mimic behavior. In that instance, peer interaction is a good choice and documentation as to how well you permit that may be part of your critique. Essentially, your ability to change teaching methods throughout the day to better meet the needs of your students is of great interest to many administrators, so that determination will usually be documented.
In conclusion, classroom observation is an ideal way for administrators and teachers alike to notice, document, and implement positive changes to the educational process for students of all ages, including those requiring special education services. Therefore, classroom observations play a crucial role in the education process and the above items are just a few of the items that might be assessed during your evaluation.