TOP Special Education Teacher Interview Questions and Answers
What language arts programs are you familiar With/have experience with?
I am familiar with quite a few language arts programs. I have experience with readers/writers workshop, houghton mifflin (journeys), mcgraw hill (treasures), PCI reading program (non-readers/ specifically targets autism), autism and reading comprehension program (joseph porter) Orton Gillingham, Wilson, and International Association of Dyslexia written curriculum program. I am also familiar with SPIRE and explode the code.
What math programs are you familiar With/have experience with?
I am familiar with several different math programs. I have experience with Houghton mifflin – GoMath, Saxon math programs. I’ve worked with the Invision math program as well as the Everyday Math program. I also have experience the touchmath program and have found it extremely beneficial to aid students that require support in basic math computation skills.
What are some strategies you use to help a general education teacher modify curriculum and differentiate instruction?
Graphic or advance, organizers, semantic maps, mnemonics, chunking, visualizing strategies, study guides, highlighting/underlining are just some of the strategies that I would suggest using when working with a teacher to identify ways to modify curriculum. I would also suggest breaking down information into smaller chunks. I would also assist the teacher in levelling assignments making sure that the work stays within the students zone of proximal development. I will always make sure the general education teachers know that I am a resource for them and they can use me as a resource whenever they need.
What would you tell a general education teacher when he/she says a student is struggling and needs to be referred for special education.
If an educator wants to make a referral, I would first ensure that the appropriate data has been collected and proves that this child is demonstrating deficits that may require special education services. I would discuss the response to Intervention model and ensure that the appropriate tiers of instruction have taken place in the classroom to ensure that student difficulties are not a result of inadequate instruction. For example Within Tier 5, all students receive high quality, scientifically based instruction provided by qualified personnel to ensure that their difficulties are not due to inadequate instruction. All students are screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioural baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Students not making adequate progress in the regular classroom in Tier 5 are provided with increasingly intensive instruction matched to their needs on the basis of levels of performance and rates of progress. This includes differentiated instruction of content as well as in a small group setting. If students are nor making progress at this level then they move to tier 8. At this level, students receive individualized, intensive interventions that target the students skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services.
What types of assessments do you use?
Formative Assessment occurs in the short term. as learners are in the process of making meaning of new content and of integrating it into what they already know. Examples: a very interactive class discussion; a warm-up. closure. or exit slip-“ticket; a on-the-spot performance: a quiz.
Interim Assessment takes place occasionally throughout a larger time period. Feedback to the learner is still quick. but may not be immediate. Interim Assessments tend to be more formal. using tools such as projects. written assignments. and tests. Examples: Chapter test: extended essay; a project scored with a rubric. Summative Assessment takes place at the end of a large chunk of learning. with the results being primarily for the teacher’s or school’s use. Students/parents can use the results of Summative Assessments to see where the student‘s performance lies compared to either a standard (MEAPE/MME) or to a group of students (usually a grade-level group. such as all 6th graders nationally. such as Iowa Tests or ACT). Teachers/schools can use these assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses of curriculum and instruction. with improvements affecting the next year’s/term‘s students.
How do/would you deal with a challenging parent? Provide a specific example (if possible) of when you had to deal with a challenging parent?
It is important to maintain communication with parents so that when a problem does arise you can immediately address it as opposed to letting it worsen or escalate. It is important to listen carefully to parent concerns. empathize with parents. and help determine a solution to the problem. I have had experiences working with some challenging parent situations. I had one parent express concerns about the level of homework that was being sent home. This particular parent expressed to me that her son (a student with special needs) was refusing to complete his homework at home and as a result was not able to practice important skills at home. She believed it was because the homework was too hard. I invited her in for a meeting and showed her work samples of the child completing classroom assignments that were of equal and/or more challenging work level. I wanted to show her these to demonstrate that her child was in fact capable of completing this work and that this work refusal was probably the function of some behavior. We discussed some possible options and what I suggested to her was a homework contract. I created the homework contract and sent it home for his mother to use everyday. It was a very effective system that worked for this student and the parent conflict was resolved.
What do you know about readers/writers workshop?
Basically it is a way of teaching reading and language arts as an active. student-centered process that gives students. individually and in groups. much of the responsibility for making decisions about what will be studied and why. It is also an approach that emphasizes the social and collaborative nature of learning Collaboration in the workshop entails sharing responses. ideas. drafts. and finished written products through conferences with the teacher. conferences and journal exchanges with peers and the teacher. and with members of the student’s wider. non-classroom. community such as parents. Collaborating to make meaning. rather than summarizing or reiterating teacher-held interpretations. is the function of small-group discussion and whole-class discussion. The teacher in these classrooms takes on many roles including that of a learner who. in collaboration with students. constructs meaning through reading. writing. speaking. and listening.
Describe how you prepare students for state/standard (in my case NJ ASK) test?
The best way to prepare students for the NJ ASK is to be teaching to the New Jersey state standards. in rich and engaging ways. with students throughout the year. However. there are specific strategies that I believe are important to help students become successful on these assessments. I like to create assessments in similar formats to the NJASK assessment so they are familiar with that particular style and format. I review basic skills frequently to ensure students correctly answer the questions considered “easy” according to state standards. I incorporate the use of mnemoonics for example TGICRB
(“Thank Goodness I Can Read Better”) where “T” stands for take your time. “G” stands for go back to find answers. “I” stands for italics are important. “C” stands for check your work. “R” stands for read all choices. and “B” stands for bubble scantrons correctly. Another strategy I use is teaching students I identify and highlight keys words. I also teach them to understand identify extreme words such as “always” or “never” which usually make a statement false. identify vague words such as “usually” or “generally” which often make a statement true. Finally. 1 model the thinking process used to predict test.””examination questions based on class notes. textbook. the course syllabus. etc. I believe that some test preparation is important but I also believe it should not dominate the curriculum/majority of teaching on an average school day.
How do you use technology in the classroom?
I incorporate a variety of different technology into my classroom. First and foremost l have experience with both the SMART technology program and Active lnspire technology programs. I was fortunate enough to attend a SMART conference where I learned from the individuals of SMART technology how to enhance lessons and use SMART technology to create enriching interactive curriculum to use everyday. I also use video clips from youtube. 1 play songs/raps about material to keep students interested.
I am very fortunate to currently work somewhere that I have access to a lot of technology. My student need routinised schedules and each one has their own individual iTouch where we keep their daily schedules. Students can see exactly where they are and can check off each activity as it happens using the errands app. I have my own personal iPad that I bring to school to enhance instruction as well. I use it as a tool for my centers. 1 have a variety of educational apps that I use that are related to specific content. I also have recently discovered QR codes. Where students use iTouch./lPad to scan a code and something related to content pops up. I also use technology for reward purposes. Students can gain access to computer/smartboard/iPad/iTouch’s for rewards as well if that is a potent reinforcer for that particular student.
How do you differentiate instruction?
- 1 differentiate instruction in a variety of different ways. First and foremost I try to incorporate a visual. auditory. and kinesthetic component into every lesson to appeal to all the different learning styles of the students.
- I also differentiate instruction by leveling instruction/tasks/assignments based on student ability. For example: (Present greater than/less than lesson) differentiated based on different levels low/medium/high. I determine student ability using ongoing assessments that are done frequently.
- Another way I differentiate instruction is through flexible grouping. l incorporate small group reading and math instruction throughout the day where students can learn using smaller groups of direct instruction that better meet their individualized levels. Students are paired in groups based on their current levels.