Physically and mentally handicapped children need special support. And this also within the school. However, the classic teacher training course does not provide training to cater to the needs of blind or autistic students. So-called “special education” prepares these students: It trains teachers who are able to teach children and young people with special needs and support them through therapeutic measures.
During their studies they deal with various forms of mental and physical disabilities. You will learn how these affect learning success and how you can optimally teach and support the children and young people concerned.
The study of special education at a glance
According to Liuxers.com, the study of special education is possible at many universities and colleges of education. Depending on the federal state, they still offer the old teacher training courses that end with the first state examination or the new bachelor and master courses. In the case of the latter, it should be noted that only the master’s degree entitles you to begin a legal traineeship . In addition, you have to choose a suitable second subject as a later subject in the Bachelor’s degree.
The course is made up of various disciplines. In addition to special education and pedagogy, the curriculum includes sociology , psychology , human medicine and linguistics . The students learn, for example, how to determine special needs and what forms of therapy there are for individual behavioral disorders. They also receive specialist tuition in one or two chosen subjects , such as German , mathematics or music .
In the higher semesters, students usually specialize in two to three main areas of support . You can choose from pedagogy for the blind or deaf or pedagogy for people with behavioral disorders. In internships and practical phases, the students apply what they have learned in practice.
As mentioned at the beginning: Anyone who has studied for a bachelor’s degree must also complete a master’s degree in order to complete the legal traineeship, which is mandatory for the teaching profession. The master’s programs impart further knowledge in the areas of educational sciences and pedagogy. Likewise, the students expand their specialist knowledge in the chosen subjects as well as their didactic and methodological knowledge .
Requirements for studying special education
Anyone who decides to study special education should primarily enjoy dealing with children and young people who require special support. Good school grades in pedagogy, biology or German are a good prerequisite for studying . In the job itself, not only pedagogical skills, but also a lot of patience and stress resistance are required.
After the first state examination or the master’s degree, graduates usually go to the 18 to 24-month preparatory service, the so-called legal clerkship. The trainee teachers sit in on colleagues’ lessons and teach themselves. They are regularly visited and assessed by examiners. In the study seminar, they also receive theoretical support in addition to their practical training. The preparatory service ends with the second state examination. After that, most of the special education teachers enter school service as civil servants or employees .
The everyday working life of special educators is currently in a state of upheaval. In the course of the debates on inclusion and equal opportunities , children with special needs should in future go to school together with healthy children. The special educators then no longer teach at the so-called special or special schools, but at general schools. There they support the children with special needs. In addition to school lessons, the therapy of learning, language and behavioral disorders and advising parents are part of the day-to-day work of a special educator.
The switch to Bachelor and Master also offers students the opportunity to start their career immediately after graduating. In this case, it is not possible to work as a teacher in state schools. However, Bachelor graduates will find a field of activity in early childhood and language support or in family and handicapped assistance . In the course of the changeover to an inclusive school system, there may be other occupational fields in the future, for example as support staff at regular schools.
Advantages of international experience for special educators
A stay abroad is worthwhile in many ways. Other countries have long since introduced the inclusive school form and you have the opportunity to benefit from the experience there. The foreign language skills and intercultural skills that you acquire during one or two semesters abroad can also prove to be extremely helpful for your later professional life. In addition, studying abroad is a unique opportunity for personal development and the chance to make new friends around the world.