Aspiring teachers with an interest in special education acquire in WCU’s Inclusive Education program the knowledge and experience to differentiate instruction and manage classrooms of students who have a broad range of abilities and needs. Part of WCU’s nationally award-winning School of Teaching and Learning, the program prepares future teachers to help students master the general education curriculum, whether working solely with exceptional children or in inclusive kindergarten through sixth-grade settings for students with and without disabilities. WCU values inclusion and hosts the University Participant Program, an on-campus living and learning experience for college-aged people with intellectual disabilities.
Coursework prepares future teachers to assess each student’s abilities and needs, and then adjust how they teach so that all students learn. Students take teaching methods courses for mathematics, language arts, science, social studies and digital literacy. They also study child development, types of exceptionalities and behavioral disorders, methods and materials for teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities, and how to collaborate with professionals, community and families. Students complete 50 hours of service activities such as volunteering with schools, agencies or community organizations in which they work directly with people with disabilities or their families. In addition, students work in inclusive public school classrooms with mentorship from dedicated, experienced teachers and guidance from WCU faculty during a year-long internship.
Students who complete the Inclusive Education program are recommended for initial North Carolina teaching licensure in Exceptional Education: General Curriculum for kindergarten through sixth-grade, and eligible, with successful completion of the Praxis exam, for licensure in elementary education. North Carolina’s more than 2,500 public schools hire special education teachers, and charter schools and private schools also may employ graduates. Some students also go to graduate school. WCU’s Master of Arts in Education program enables students to earn licensure in Gifted Creative and Innovative Education, Mild to Moderate Disabilities, or Severe/Profound Disabilities.