Penn State Launches Teacher Training for Special Needs Students


Pennsylvania State University is launching a new teacher professional development program aimed at helping teachers address the needs of disabled students in general education classrooms. With Internet-delivered video lectures and online collaboration tools for participants, the program is open to current and prospective teachers around the country.

According to the university, "Nationally, nearly 7 million schoolchildren have a disability. Between the federal No Child Left Behind Act and PDE mandates, half of these students spend most of their day in a general education classroom. This presents challenges to the teachers responsible for their education, but who often lack adequate specialized preparation."

The program, called "Evidence-Based Practices for Inclusive Classrooms and Differentiating Instruction" (EPIC), is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network, the Penn State College of Education's Special Education program, and Penn State Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE). It includes a series of courses, beginning this fall, that can be taken for credit or as non-credit professional training to help with preparation for working with disabled students or to help teachers meet certification requirements.

"EPIC will help teachers find innovative ways to educate every child in every classroom," said Edward Donovan, director of Health and Education Programs for CAPE, a unit of Penn State Outreach, in a statement released last week.

David McNaughton, Penn State associate professor of special education, is the lead faculty member for the program and will teach the first course in the series, which begins Nov. 3, titled, "Foundational Skills for Working with Students with Special Education Needs in General Education Classrooms." Charles Hughes, professor of special education and co-author of the upcoming book Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties: Making Instruction Effective and Explicit, will also be teaching two courses in the series.

Further information on the program can be found here. Registration information for the program can be found here.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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