Exemplary Practices for Students with Special Needs

While the eight teaching practices from the Principles to Action are best practices for enhancing the understanding of the general population of students, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) provides recommendation that specifically target diverse learners. The CCSSO document, InTASC: Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers 1.0 (CCSSO, 2011, 2013), has a framework based on four domains of teaching, and within each are progression indicators, specific teacher performances, and knowledge needed to improve instruction. The progression indicators include:

1. The Learner and Learning

Standard #1: Learner Development

The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.


Standard #2: Learning Differences

The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.


Standard #3: Learning Environments

The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

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Standard #5: Application of Content

The teacher understands how to connect concepts and uses differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem-solving related to authentic local and global issues.

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  • 3. Instructional Practice Standard # 6: Assessment

The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.


Standard #7: Planning for Instruction

The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.


Standard #8: Instructional Strategies

The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.

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  • 4. Professional Responsibility

Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/ her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.


Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration

The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.


  • [1] Content Standard #4: Content Knowledge The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s)he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the disciplineaccessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
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