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New program will equip educators to teach special needs students

It is estimated that one in four classrooms have four or more students with special needs and some 10 per cent of the school population are learners with identified special needs.

“The challenge of enabling learners with special needs has never been more evident,” said Trinity Western University education professor Ken Pudlas.

“Children who have special needs are often at the margins. Why wouldn’t we try to help enable them to learn, to remove barriers to their success?”

“This degree is for teachers already in the system who want to empower themselves to more effectively meet the needs of all students, even those with exceptional needs,” Pudlas said.

Pudlas has designed a new Masters of Arts in Education Studies — Special Education, which will be offered at the university beginning in July.

It received approval from the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education last week.

The program will help teachers who wish to improve their capacity to fulfill the ministry mandate to maintain inclusive classrooms that “enable all learners to meet their individual potential” and will increase the number of educators with the skills to provide assessment services.

“TWU’s school of education has always had a commitment to ensure all learners are included and supported in their educational journey by teachers who have prepared to understand, appreciate and address diversity,” said Kimberly Franklin, the dean of TWU’s school of education.

The school already requires all education students to complete a course in special education preparation.

“Our students are consistently inspired to further their learning after taking this course and many choose to do a minor in special education as one of their teachable subject areas,” Franklin said.

“We are looking forward to providing a high quality master’s level program to support teachers in their desire to continue to grow and develop in this area.”

It is based on a cohort model in which students form a cooperative learning community and by sharing challenges and solutions, they can enhance their own ability to meet students’ diverse needs.

The program has space for 15 students.

For more information or to apply, email school.education@twu.ca or phone 604.513.2072.

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