REVIEWED BY NUMBERDYSLEXIA’S EXPERT PANEL ON AUGUST 31, 2022
Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of all students. Children spend half of their day for years in school and get highly influenced by their educators. In the case of special education, in order to meet the individualistic needs of the students, it is essential for teachers to consciously set goals that help them with fulfilling their responsibilities with utmost care.
Not just for individual sessions, but also in inclusive classrooms where special students are placed with their other peers, it becomes quite crucial to follow and maintain the development path as required.
Being accountable for the learning progress of special students, special education teachers must set goals as these goals will give both the teacher and student a sense of direction as well as a track to follow in their journey of learning.
Below in this post, there are some examples of the goals to help special educators in designing their own considering the different requirements and needs of the child.
Special education teacher goals
Special education teacher goals are basically targets set for the teacher and child to reach a certain point, resolve a certain issue or cater to a certain challenge being faced by the child. These are also centered around the child’s learning and growth based on academic, behavioral, technical, social, and functional aspects and so on. Some examples of goals for special education teachers are given below.
1. Meeting Individual Needs and challenges
The teacher aims to meet the individual and specific needs of a child facing difficulties in learning. For instance, for a child with deficits in speech, the goal is to deliver speech and language therapy sessions once a week to reach a point where the child shows improvement in the same.
2. Enhance functional skills
Often children with special needs struggle with most basic functional skills. The goal here focuses on working to make the child independent to perform their daily chores. These could include letting the child walk up to their classroom themselves and identifying it, or buttoning their own shirt.
3. Facilitating and providing Accommodations
Special education teachers aim at ensuring that students with special needs are provided enough and appropriate accommodations in classrooms such as modified work and assignments, allowance of needed devices, extra time on tests, and so on.
4. Foster Relationships
Building a warm and wholesome relationship with the child is necessary as it helps students to find confidence, support, and comfort. It also motivates students to try their best to work on themselves and seek help with minimum hesitation. Special education teachers also build good working relationships with parents as they contribute as well. For instance, goals to engage in fun activities once a month outside the work environment with the child can be included.
5. Track Progress
The progress of students with special needs should be tracked on a regular basis. Students and their skills developed during providing special services should be assessed and feedback about the student’s performance shall be laid out. This is important for knowing whether or not the interventions work and what should be modified in the same. Checks every third week, roadmaps, and review cycles can be examples of these.
6. Improve classroom adjustment
For children with special needs placed in a general or inclusive classroom, it can be challenging to adjust to the environment and cope with other students. For this, special educators must develop adjustment and coping mechanisms for the students to adapt to their classroom environment.
7. Enhance social skills
Due to challenges faced by students in learning, their confidence may take a toll and restrict them to reach out or make friends in their classrooms. Inability to learn and so certain things may also bring down their mood significantly leading to avoidance of any social relationships.
8. Focus on emotion regulation
Emotion regulation is as important as making interventions in academics and other challenges faced because they are affected significantly by other factors. Special Educators should include emotion regulation works such as self-esteem building, coping mechanisms, life skills, decision making, and so on.
9. Collaborate with General Educator
It is important for the special educator and general educator to collaborate and work closely for the beneficial development of the student, contributing to their growth. Here, the goal is to meet, plan and come up with strategies together every now and then. A cycle can be maintained for the same.
10. Maintain Paperwork
Maintaining legal work and formalities is another goal of special educators to ensure that their education is hustle-free and even transition is smooth.
To reach any desirable target, goal setting is the first step. Setting goals by special education teachers is a vital step for providing students the special services and resources they need to prosper and grow with their difficulties. Goals are helpful in many ways, for one, they provide direction. Setting goals specific to the difficulties faced by the student paves way for catering to those particular challenges and eventually helping them improve. If there is no set idea of where to reach, and how to reach, then it would lead to challenges in fulfilling and meeting the requirements of parents, students, and other school authorities.
These goals are also important as they help the teacher track the progress and improvement of students. By setting a goal and reviewing the journey taken to accomplish it, teachers can understand the shortcomings or challenges faced and work on the same in a better manner. Monitoring the progress of students becomes easier if a particular goal is set.
It has also been found that participation in goal setting improves self-efficacy and also promotes motivation. When there is a goal, teachers and students are both motivated towards achieving it and are inspired by what they see and imagine as having accomplished it.
Teacher goals vs special education teacher goals: What’s the difference?
General education teachers and special education teachers often collaborate and work on parallel aspects and share similar duties. Children with identified special needs spend a significant amount of their time in a general classroom and so, the teamwork of both educators is what makes their learning process fruitful. One goal that stands to be the same for the general teacher and special education teacher is the growth, wellness, and success of each child. However, specific goals can be different for them.
A general education teacher’s goal can center around the completion of a lesson plan around a particular time in the month, enhancing class engagement and participation, setting assignments and tests, delivering comprehensive material, and maximizing knowledge and skill for the students in class.
On the other hand, the goals of special education teachers center around catering to the individual’s special needs of the child facing learning difficulties. These may look like working on functional, behavioral, and social skills, emotional regulation, specific speech therapy, accommodations, class adjustment, and so on. These goals only focus on the holistic development of the child, interventions to target the specific challenges being faced and not merely its academic success.
Special education teachers and general education teachers, both play an important role in special and inclusive education. They influence not only academics and education but also their crucial and initial years of development. It is important for special education teachers to formulate their goals appropriately and specific to the individual needs of the students. These goals help teachers and students to follow a directed path of learning and growth for developing skills, knowledge, and interventions for the challenges faced by the students.