ESE601: Students With Exceptionalities in the School Setting

ESE601: Week 1 – Discussion Forum

Week 1 – Discussion Forum

Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.

The grading rubric is based on 10 points, and the discussion is worth 3% of your grade.

Explaining it Clearly (Scenario) [WLOs: 2, 3] [CLOs: 1, 4]

Let me introduce you to Mr. Franklin. Imagine that you are walking into your very first classroom or learning environment as a trained special education professional. You will be working closely with Mr. Franklin, a general educator who has been in the education field for over ten years. In your “co-teaching” environment, both you and Mr. Franklin will be delivering instruction to the entire group of learners, which is comprised of 28 students. Seven of the students identified as having specialized academic or behavioral support needs. This type of classroom is considered an inclusive setting, where students of the same age are educated together with multiple types of differentiation of the instruction occurring based on the students’ individualized needs. In an inclusive environment such as this, there will be some students who are formally identified as students with exceptionalities, having specialized academic or behavioral needs.


Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum,


As you navigate this scenario, consider how you can apply these concepts and critical terms to your chosen path or learning environment in the field of special education. Points to ponder as you begin…

  • P-12: Consider the state or educational standards your district follows or the Common Core State Standards.
  • Early Childhood: The National Association for the Education of Young Children or your local education standards.
  • Post-secondary: Adult learning or training environments (e.g., educational, military, corporate environments, etc.) and standards aligning with professional learning.


Before the instructional time officially begins, you meet with Mr. Franklin to discuss each of your roles within the co-teaching environment. It was discussed that Mr. Franklin will be expert of the instructional content and your role as the specialist will be to help students access the information at their own levels.

During this meeting, Mr. Franklin admits that he has never been partnered with someone who understands students with “special needs” or exceptionalities. He states he does not understand what is expected specific to the students with specialized learning needs. He asks you to explain some of the terms and acronyms he has heard before because he is not sure what they mean, including the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the individualized education program (IEP).

Take Action

Initial Post: Write and Post. After reading the scenario above introducing Mr. Franklin, your initial post should address the following:

  • Clearly define at least five terms specific to academic and legal concepts that apply when working with exceptional learners.
  • With each definition, provide an example that includes support from the readings and the Instructor Guidance from Week 1.
  • Define and explain each of these terms in a way that Mr. Franklin will understand along with providing authentic examples to support the definition you have provided.
  • State specifically how the terms may impact the practice of your co-teaching work with Mr. Franklin.
  • Discuss how these definitions impact your chosen path or learning environment in terms of the field of special education.

Guided Response

Respond to at least two colleagues or your instructor by Day 7 of this discussion. Discuss with your peers how their ideas and suggestions will assist with Mr. Franklin’s work and also your collaborative efforts in a co-teaching inclusive environment. How will understanding these terms and concepts ultimately help exceptional learners? You are encouraged to provide additional resources that will assist with your explanation.

Consider selecting someone different to respond to than you did last week. Distinguished responses will

  • Include a question about your colleague’s response.
  • Offer an additional resource that supports this week’s topics.
  • Discuss your colleague’s point of view.
  • Share your own related personal or professional experiences.
  • Support your statements and responses with scholarly resources.

Though two replies is the basic expectation, for deeper engagement and learning, you are encouraged to provide responses to any comments or questions others have given to you, including the instructor. Responding to the replies given to you will further the conversation and provide additional opportunities for you to demonstrate your content expertise, critical thinking, and real-world experiences with this topic.

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