Effective Teaching Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Effective Teaching Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities


CPSE 452

Effective Teaching Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Fall 2010

Instructor:Gordon Gibb, PhD

Office:340G MCKB



Office hours:MTh 3:00-3:50 or by appointment, open door policy

Course Description

Students will design and implement teaching strategies and instructional planning to meet the educational needs of students with mild/moderate disabilities.

Required texts:

Prater, M.A. (2007) Teaching Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Gibb, G.S. & Dyches, T.T. (2007) Guide to writing quality individualized education programs (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Special Education Programs Mission Statement

We maximize the potential of diverse learners with individualized educational needs to elevate their quality of life. We accomplish this by supporting the mission and aims of a BYU education as we integrate teaching, research, and service. Specifically we:

  • Prepare competent and moral educators who select, implement, and evaluate research-based effective teaching practices and appropriate curriculum for learners with special needs.
  • Prepare master special educators who provide leadership in problem solving and collaborative relationships with professionals and families.
  • Add to the knowledge base of special education and related disciplines through research.
  • Serve and advocate for learners with individualized educational needs and others who support them.

Conceptual framework for this course

Moral endeavor at Brigham Young University is established upon principles of eternal and unchanging truth contained in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Prophets of God proclaim that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”1

Teaching is a moral endeavor that recognizes and responds to the divine destiny of each student. Moral teachers ensure that students master the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to realize their divine potential for growth and achievement. Therefore, teachers:

  1. Recognize and cultivate the individual worth of each student
  2. Embrace and apply proven instructional practice
  3. Establish and maintain positive, supportive learning environments
  4. Value and enact respectful interpersonal behavior and responsible citizenship.

Four assumptions guide our work:

  1. All children can learn.
  2. Schools exist to advance student learning.
  3. Teachers are accountable for student learning.
  4. Accountability is measured by data.

Course Objectives: Course Outcomes mapped to INTASC and CEC Standards and CPSE Program Learning Outcomes

Core Course Outcomes / INTASC Standard
#3 Learner Diversity
#4 Instructional Strategies
#7 Planning Instruction
#10 Community / CEC Core Standards
#3 Individual Leaning Differences
CC3K5Differing ways of learning of individuals with exceptional learning needs including those from culturally diverse backgrounds and strategies for addressing these differences.
#4 Instructional Strategies
GC4K3 Advantages and limitations of instructional strategies and practices for teaching individuals with disabilities
#5 Learning Environments and Social Interactions
CC5K1 Demands of learning environments
GC5K2 Adaptation of the physical environment to provide optimal learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities
CC5K3 Effective management of teaching and learning
#7 Instructional Planning
CC7K2 Scope and sequences of general and special curricula
CC7K3 National, state or provincial, and local curricula standards
CC7S1 Identify and prioritize areas of the general curriculum and accommodations for individuals with exceptional learning needs
#10 Collaboration
CC10K2 Roles of individuals with exceptional learning needs, families, and school and community personnel in planning of an individualized program. / CPSE Program Learning Outcome
Describe educational characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities. / #3 / CC3K5 / Teaching
Describe the components of the IEP process and curriculum scope and sequence standards. / #10
#7 / CC10K2
CC7K2 / Professional Practice
Describe the process of writing goals, objectives and developing a task analysis. / #4 / GC4K3 / Teaching
Discuss the components of writing effective lesson plans. / #4 / CC5K3 / Teaching
Describe the effective teaching cycle, student response rates, praise, and corrective feedback. / #7 / CC5K3
CC7K3 / Teaching
Identify models of collaboration with parents and general education. / #10 / CC10K1
GC10K2 / Collaboration
Discuss differentiated instruction and classroom accommodations for students with disabilities. / #7 / CC7S1
CC5K1, GC5K2 / Teaching
Recognize examples of student-mediated strategies and how they can best be included in teacher-directed lessons. / #4 / GC4K3 / Teaching
Demonstrate an understanding of how to teach learning strategies and academic skills. / #4 / CC5K1
GC4K3 / Teaching
Demonstrate how to incorporate learning strategies in content area instruction. / #4 / CC5K1
GC4K3 / Teaching
Discuss appropriate technologies to support instructional planning and individualized instruction. / #7 / CC7S1 / Teaching
Describe how to design and collect data on informal curriculum based assessments. / #7 / CC7K2
CC7K3 / Assessment
Discuss the role of the special educator in writing IEPs and conducting IEP meetings. / #10 / CC10K2 / Collaboration
Demonstrate the collaborative role of the special educator with families and school and community personnel in planning of an individualized program. / #10 / CC10K2 / Collaboration

Course Expectations

  1. Students will adhere to the BYU Honor Code.
  2. Students will attend every class and actively participate in discussions, activities, group work and service/experiential learning. Late arrivals or early departures are inappropriate.
  3. Students will be respectful of all members of the class, including turning off cell phones, beepers, and other electronic devices during class time.
  4. Students will complete and submit all assignments on time. Written work should be typed, edited, and spell-checked.


Assignments will be completed individually or in groups as indicated below and on the course schedule. All members of cooperative teams are expected to participate fully in group assignments. Your participation as a part of a cooperative team is an indication of your professional abilities.All assignments have an associated completion and grading rubric posted on Blackboard.

1. Case Study (Individual)

Each student will write a case study that describes a hypothetical student with mild-moderate disabilities. These case studies will be used to complete group planning and teaching assignments.

2. Curriculum Map (Group)

  • Create a curriculum map using the Utah Core Curriculum for math. Your map should address the learning needs of the students described in the case studies for your group.

3. Unit Task Analysis (Group)

  • Choose one unit in your curriculum map. As a group, task analyze the unit into 4-6 (as appropriate) learning objectives. All objectives will be written in the prescribed format.
  • Choose one learning objective to task analyze into 4-5 daily lesson objectives.

4. Curriculum Based Assessment (Group)

Students will develop a curriculum based assessment to assess one learning objective in your case study. The CBA should address the core curriculum standards for the unit.

5. Direct Instruction Lesson Plan (Individual)

Each student will choose one daily objective from your task analysis and use it to develop a direct instruction lesson plan. The direct instruction lesson plan should be written to address the needs of the students described in the case studies for your group. Each student will present the lesson to the members of their group.

6. Crime Model (Group)

Work as a group to evaluate a general education classroom using the crime model. Suggest accommodations for each student in your individual case studies.

7. Learning Strategy (Individual)

Each student in the group will develop a lesson plan for teaching one learning strategy. The learning strategy will address a learning need of the student described in your individual case study.

8. Written IEP (Group)

Work as a group to develop an IEP for one student in your case study. You will present your IEP in a mock IEP meeting.


A grading sheet will be attached to an assignment folder for each student. Grades will be recorded throughout the semester on this grading sheet. Some grades will come from self-assessment by students and some grades will come from evaluation by the professors. The grading sheet will be used to calculate final grades.


Grading Criteria

Group Planning Assignments Submitted on Time / Study Guide Reflections / Areas Mastered on Final Group Planning Assignment
A / 6-7 / 7-8 / 7-8
B / 5 / 6 / 6
C / 4 / 5 / 5
D / 3 / 4 / 4


Course assignments and information can be accessed on BYU’s blackboard page for this course, CPSE 452. We will communicate with you by posting announcements and sending group and individual emails. As a BYU student, each of you has access to an account. You are expected to learn how to use Blackboard to access information for this course. You are expected to access group announcements and your email on a daily basis to ensure that you receive updates about the course.

Late Work

All assignments are expected to be submitted at the beginning of class on the due date. According to University Policy, assignments will not be accepted after the last day of semester classes.


Each student is expected to maintain a positive and professional attitude in this course. Expectations include regular attendance, arriving on-time, being prepared and completing work assignments by due dates, collaborating and participating willingly, and staying until the appointed departure time. Please work with the professor if you will need to miss time in class. If there is a concern in any of these areas or other areas of professionalism, a Professional and Interpersonal Behavior Rating Scale (PIBS) will be completed by the professor and submitted to the program coordinator. The PIBS is used to make decisions about eligibility to continue in the Special Education Program.

Honor Code

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Academic Honesty

The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to be honest. Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life’s work, but also to build character. President David O. McKay taught that “character is the highest aim of education” (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim. BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.


Writing submitted for credit at BYU must consist of the student's own ideas presented in sentences and paragraphs of his or her own construction. The work of other writers or speakers may be included when appropriate (as in a research paper or book review), but such material must support the student's own work (not substitute for it) and must be clearly identified by appropriate introduction and punctuation and by footnoting or other standard referencing.

The substitution of another person's work for the student's own or the inclusion of another person's work without adequate acknowledgment (whether done intentionally or not) is known as plagiarism. It is a violation of academic, ethical, and legal standards and can result in a failing grade not only for the paper but also for the course in which the paper is written. In extreme cases, it can justify expulsion from the University. Because of the seriousness of the possible consequences, students who wonder if their papers are within these guidelines should visit the Writing Lab or consult a faculty member who specializes in the teaching of writing or who specializes in the subject discussed in the paper. Useful books to consult on the topic include the current Harcourt Brace College Handbook, the MLA Handbook, and James D. Lester's Writing Research Papers.

Statement on Diversity

The McKay School of Education and Brigham Young University are committed to preparing students to serve effectively in a diverse society. In this course students will learn methods and material that may be adapted to various settings and contexts. Students are expected to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively apply the course content when working with individuals and groups with varying abilities and backgrounds.

Preventing Sexual Harassment

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education and pertains to admissions, academic and athletic programs, and university-sponsored activities. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment of students by university employees, other students, and visitors to campus. If you encounter sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 801-422-5895 or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours), or or contact the Honor Code Office at 801-422-2847.

Students with Disabilities

BrighamYoungUniversity is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the UniversityAccessibilityCenter (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the SSD Office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against of the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-282 ASB.

Additional Suggested Readings

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2003). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals.Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Howell, K. W., & Nolet, V. (2000). Curriculum-based evaluation: Teaching and decision making (3rd ed.). Stamford, CT: Wadsworth/Thomas Learning.

Lloyd, J. W., Forness, S. R., & Kavale, K. A. (1998). Some methods are more effective than others. Intervention in School and Clinic, 33, 195-200.

Prater, M. A. (2003). S/he will succeed: Strategies for success in inclusive classrooms. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 35(5), 58-64.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.