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Unit information: Special Educational Needs in 2015/16

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Unit name Special Educational Needs
Unit code EDUCM0057
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Lythgoe
Open unit status Not open


  • Creating inclusive learning environments: the role of the teacher
  • Theories of learning and teaching
  • The teacher as leader
  • Becoming a reflective practitioner (Reflective Journal/RJA);
School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is solidly based in participants developing professional practice. It is principally school-based, allowing students to consider the theoretical underpinnings of learning and teaching their subject and to consider these ideas by evaluating targeted interventions for individual pupils with specific needs. It provides the basis of practical experience on which students professional development can be built through their developing careers, and is intended to prompt reflection on the wider professional responsibilities of teachers.

The unit further supports the development of participants skills in planning, teaching and evaluating lessons, and in personalisation of learning. It helps them develop their skills in assessment of pupils learning and in using that assessment to inform their teaching. It supports them in considering how to use their existing subject knowledge effectively and in understanding pupils different ways of understanding. The unit also offers the principal introduction to research ethics, complementing the more general professional ethics covered elsewhere in the programme.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • Plan, teach and evaluate lessons in their specialist subject with a particular focus on issues of inclusion and pupils with specific learning needs.
  • Assess pupils learning and use this assessment to inform their future teaching.
  • Communicate with pupils and use their subject knowledge effectively to promote pupil progress in learning.
  • Draw on research into teaching of their subject to improve their teaching, especially focussing on issues of inclusion.
  • Understand key educational issues which arise in their experiences.
  • Demonstrate understanding and awareness of their wider professional responsibilities beyond the curriculum.

Teaching Information

Teaching will take a variety of stimulating formats, including, inter alia, seminars, lectures, workshops, laboratory sessions, practical classroom experience of teaching, personal tuition with university- and school-based staff, and private and group study. Much of this study takes place during the school placement, and this experience provides an essential source of reflection and stimulation for the learning activities.

Assessment Information

Participants will carry out a range of formative activities during the year, which will provide feedback on the key issues addressed by this unit.

Participants will then complete a summative assessment task, drawing on their experiences. This will include documentation of planning, teaching and evaluation activities to illustrate their skills in a chosen topic. The task will be the equivalent of a 5,000 word assignment, but will take a variety of formats according to the varying needs of different subjects.

Participants will be encouraged to explore the interventions and progress of students with the same specific learning need, and evaluate the support provided for them. The unit is designed to inculcate a deeper understanding of ethical considerations in practice-based research.

Participants will also be required to achieve a satisfactory standard in their practical teaching. This will be assessed through observations by tutors during the school placement.

Reading and References

Alderson, P. and Morrow, V. (2004) Ethics, social research and consulting with children and young people, Ilford, Barnardos.

DfES (2002) Inspecting post-16: English for Speakers of Other Languages and English as an Additional Language  With Guidance on Self-Evaluation. London: Office for Standards in Education.

Ekins, A. & Grimes, P. (2009) Inclusion: Developing an Effective Whole-School Approach. London: OUP. (available as an e-book)

Moon, J. A. (2000) Reflection in Professional Practice Ch 4  the work of Donald Schon in J. A. Moon, Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: Theory and Practice, London, Kogan Page

TDA (2009) Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities  Training Toolkit. Manchester: TDA Publications. (available via Blackboard and online)

Tunnicliffe, C. (2010) Teaching Able, Gifted and Talented Children  Strategies, Activities and Resources. London: Sage.