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Principals Diary

Impress your management with the task list in principals diary. An Exclusive Diary especially designed for Principals / Directors / Head of Schools / Coordinators / HOD's

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December 2009
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    Recruiting and hiring a qualified special educator is a big challenge for busy school administrators. The shortage of qualified special educators further makes the task more difficult. A successful implementation of inclusive education requires the appointment of a highly qualified special education teacher in the school for providing quality education and support services to children with disabilities. Therefore, hiring qualified and well-trained special education teachers is indispensable for providing a continuum of support services to children with disabilities in schools. Highly qualified special education teachers will not be only more effective teachers of students with disabilities but they also are more likely to stay, thereby reducing turnover and providing continuity.

    Effective Hiring Practices

    One of the most important responsibilities of school administrators is hiring the best teachers they can find. However, hiring highly qualified teachers is easier for some schools than others. It depends on the vast knowledge of school principals about inclusive education. Evaluating whether a particular special education teacher is “highly qualified” or a suitable match for a particular position may be daunting to principals, who often have questions about special education training programmes or certification and the desirable attributes of applicants. The more the principal understands about inclusive education and the special needs of students with disabilities and how it operates in the school and district, the easier it will be to evaluate applicants’ qualification, training, and their responses to the interview questions. Applicants are also interested to join the school where the principal and other staff is knowledgeable about inclusive education and committed to support special education programmes in school for bringing inclusion of children with disabilities.

    Below is an interview guide that can assist school administrators to assess the qualifications of special education teachers who had applied for this post in school. It will help in framing important questions to be asked from the applicants at the time of interview. It will enable you to hire a highly qualified special education teacher in your school.   



    Areas to assess                    

    Examples of questions

    Things to look for

    Experience and preparation for position

    ·         Please describe your preparation for this position.

    ·         Formal preparation experiences

    ·         Field experiences

    ·         Other

    Educational qualifications

    ·         What course of special education teaching you have done?

    ·         What was the duration of the course?

    ·         What specialization you hold in special education teaching?

    ·         From which institute you have completed your course?

    ·         Certification(s) in area(s) in which they teach and/or

    ·         Is currently enrolled in program/courses to obtain certification

    ·         Was the institute recognized by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), (or through other agencies in case of other countries)


    ·         What kind of training have you received?

    ·         Have you received any in-service training?

    ·         Which workshops you have attended for strengthening your professional skills?

    ·         Institute from which training is received and

    ·         Duration of training received

    ·         Knowledge on training for handling technological equipments

    Teacher Dispositions

    ·         How would your students describe you?

    ·         Tell us about yourself and what you bring to this position?

    ·         What was your biggest challenge in your last job (or internship) and how did you address this challenge?

    ·         Caring, respect, dedication, commitment to students

    ·         Interest in continued learning, motivation, thoughtful practices

    Teacher Roles

    ·         Describe your ideal teaching position

    ·         What do you view as the role of the special educator?

    ·         What concerns do you have about filling this role

    ·         Applicant is a good fit in terms of experience, preparation, and view of their roles

    View of special education

    ·         What are characteristics of effective programs for students with disabilities?

    ·         Considers where student is in general curriculum and involves collaboration with others

    ·         Looks for the student’s suitability

    ·         Provides training on the basis of students’ needs on individual basis

    ·         Involves adapted teaching procedures and materials

    ·         Includes ongoing assessment of student performance

    Understanding students with disabilities

    ·         Describe the needs of a student with disabilities that you have worked with over a period of time

    ·         Shows specific understanding of student needs, such as language and communication, academic, behavioral, medical needs, social needs and emotional needs

    Understanding diversity and working with family

    ·         How you address the needs of students from diverse backgrounds

    ·         How do you provide counseling and practical support to the families of students with disabilities

    ·         How you collaborate with families?

    ·         Shows an understanding that how an individual and family may differ (e.g. values, perspectives, way of behaving)

    ·         Discusses suggestions for adapting instruction for students from different backgrounds

    Assessment and evaluation of students’ learning

    ·         Describe specific strategies you have used in the assessment of student learning

    ·         Knowledge about ongoing assessment

    ·         Use of frequent assessment to inform how well instruction is working and what changes might be needed

    Collaboration or co teaching

    ·         Tell me about your experiences of collaboration with general educators

    ·         Please give an example of a 1) situation that worked well, and 2) any challenges that you encountered.

    ·         What are various ways that you might collaborate and/or co teach with general educators?

    ·         Willingness to collaborate

    ·         Knowledge about collaboration

    ·         Specific ideas for working with general educators

    ·         Specific skills of collaboration

    ·         Flexibility

    Instructional strategies

    ·         What type of teaching strategies have you used in your teaching?

    ·         How do you decide which teaching strategies to use?

    ·         Is familiar with a range of teaching strategies

    ·         Selects teaching procedure based on research

    Individualized Education Programmes (IEP)/ Transition planning

    ·         What components are included in an IEP?

    ·         Describe how you would facilitate an IEP meeting.

    ·         How would you incorporate transition planning in the IEP?

    ·         Awareness of IEP requirements

    ·         Importance of being prepared

    ·         Evidence that they value parent input

    ·         Awareness for transition plans for students age 14 and above

    Students behaviour

    ·         How would you approach working with a student who regularly disrupted a class and refused to cooperate?

    ·         Importance of assessing environmental factors

    ·         Systematic approach

    ·         Importance of relationships


    ·         Describe how would you establish a positive working relationship with paraprofessionals.

    ·         Importance of communication

    ·         Specific ideas for working with paraprofessionals

    Assistive technology

    ·         Describe any experiences or training that you have had with using assistive technology.

    ·         Is aware of and understands how assistive technology can be used

    Interviewee’s questions

    ·         We have spent a lot of time asking you questions; what questions do you have?




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