Standard 4: Content Knowledge
 

 
The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structure of the discipline.

 

During student teaching, I have focused on creating content for the functional 

skills class that is both age-appropriate and high interest.  I feel that this will always be 

an important and difficult goal in secondary Special Education.  Students are preparing 

for adult lives as they transition from high school to post-­high transition programs.  It is critical that

I keep this in mind during all academic subjects because students have so much work to do 

before completing school.  In order to understand what students would need to know to 

be successful in a post-­high program, I went to the district’s post­-high program and 

interviewed the principle in order to find out her expectations for students.

My educational experiences have also given me an in-­depth appreciation for 

content knowledge. My previous academic experiences as an undergraduate and 

graduate student before pursuing a teaching degree have enriched the content 

knowledge I am able to bring to the classroom.  I have a strong Liberal Arts background 

at both the undergraduate and graduate level which has provided me with a broad 

inquiry-­based education and uniquely suited me to tackle the challenges of Special 

Education.   

In my student teaching classroom, I had to be cognizant of learner differences 

and the impact this made on my instruction.  I had to think of multiple ways to present 

concepts and information.  For example, in English all of the sight words are presented 

orally, written, and in ASL.  My science lessons  were presented with videos, articles, 

and orally. In order to engage all learners, I have pushed myself to use a variety of formats to

introduce information.

Language is critically important.  I have been working on respectful language.  To 

this end, I do not call my students “kiddos” or “kids,”  and I do not refer to “my” class or 

“my” students.  For classroom management, I made it clear that we would be working 

on professional and courteous behavior that would not only support learning but also 

employment. 

Now, having experienced classroom teaching with and without  in-­depth 

pedagogical foundations, I am able to fully appreciate the different experiences.  

Educational foundations in Vygotsky, Maslow, and Piaget, among others,  have 

provided me with insight into the instructional process that I did not have previously.  I 

am better able to assess materials and am more effective in my responses to roadblocks 

and difficulties.