The curriculum of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education program is designed to provide you with the abilities to effectively teach students with varying levels of hearing loss. Part of this includes field experience competencies. The Special Education Department at Saint Joseph’s University has designated activities in each course in the required curriculum to meet the state standards.
In this master’s program, you will be eligible to apply for your Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing certification upon completion of the 36-credit hour curriculum. The last course in this program is the student teaching experience. This six-credit course is comprised of a 14-week student teaching assignment paired with weekly online seminar sessions every other week. The fieldwork course is intended to fully immerse you in the deaf and hard of hearing teaching experience for an entire semester.
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Deaf Education Core Courses (Required)
SPE 600 Foundations and Current Issues in Special Education
3 credits. This course is a critical study of the contemporary and controversial issues within the field of special education. Consideration will be given to the philosophical, psychological, and sociological basis of teacher education, including an analytical review of research-based curricula, programmatic innovations, policy issues and their effects, and ethical practices. Discussions will focus on evidence-based core concepts that contribute to effective program planning; investigation of cognitive, academic, behavioral, and psycho-social solutions and implications for those working with exceptional students; and future implications for the advancement of special education diagnostic and instructional services.Read More
SPE 608 Families, Schools and Communities: Communication and Collaboration
3 credits. This course focuses on the home-school partnerships, issues of family and professional collaboration and diversity, and methods of promoting adult communication and management strategies. It applies the knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity and the significance of socio-cultural and political contexts as they relate to the family, culture, and society. It identifies the members of teams designed to support and optimize children’s educational needs and social-emotional development and the network of community services and resources available to individuals, families and groups affected by social, environmental, health and related problems.Read More
SPE 730 Foundations for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
3 credits. This course introduces basic concepts for the education of students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Topics covered will include the social construction of deafness and hearing loss; language acquisition and literacy development in children who are deaf and hard of hearing; educational philosophies and approaches; sign language systems in education; assistive technology including cochlear implants; placement options; supports for inclusive practices; and specially designed instruction, including adaptations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing and children with additional special needs.Read More
SPE 731 Language, Literacy and Communication Development for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
3 credits. This course will introduce students to the components of language, normal developmental sequences in children, and the impact of hearing loss upon language acquisition. Auditory and visual strategies for facilitating language acquisition among students who are deaf and hard of hearing will be included, as will protocols for integrating language instruction into academic content area instruction. Students will be introduced to the array of communication options available to families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing, early communication behaviors expressed by young children, and strategies for supporting families making communication decisions. The course will examine the components of literacy in conjunction with characteristics of scientifically based reading research and principles of effective instruction. Students will examine reading programs created for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, create lesson plans, select websites and technology tools available online to support these lessons, practice using scoring rubrics, and develop personal plans for expanding their own communication skills over the course of the next year.Read More
SPE 732 Curriculum, Instruction and Learning Environments for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
3 credits. This course content will cover what teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing need to know in order to choose and effectively implement the most appropriate methodology, evaluation procedures, goal/objective sets, and lesson plans. Focus will also be on ongoing assessment measures to monitor student progress and to validate the effectiveness of specific instructional methods and materials through data collection. In addition, attention will be given to how curriculum and instruction are differentiated through the service delivery spectrum: consultation, itinerant, resource room, and full time class (supplemental) instruction.Read More
SPE 733 Developing Listening and Spoken Language Skills in Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
3 credits. This course will provide information regarding the etiology and age of onset of hearing loss, anatomy, and physiology of the hearing mechanism, degree and type of hearing loss, and interpretation of audiological results. The course will also offer information on auditory skill development, the utilization of various forms of amplification including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and FM systems, and the relationship of classroom acoustics to auditory access. Additionally, information in the area of spoken language development will be provided, including speech sound acquisition, development of vocabulary, syntax and pragmatics, and the relationship of listening and spoken language to literacy.Read More
SPE 734 Sign Communication in Instructional Settings
3 credits. This course introduces and expands upon the use of a variety of sign languages and sign communication systems in instructional settings. Among the topics covered are the history and structure of American Sign Language (ASL), the nature and characteristics of artificial sign systems developed to represent English and hybrid systems such as those described as “contact signing.” The parameters and use of fingerspelling as an educational tool will also be included. Various philosophies and methodologies of incorporating sign communication in educational settings will be covered. Students will be exposed to the appropriate use of sign languages and sign systems in instructional settings and how they may be used to enhance learning by deaf and hard of hearing students.Read More
SPE 739 Student Teaching and Professional Seminar
6 credits. This is an individually designed field experience under approved supervision (including seminar meetings). This experience is designed as the capstone professional course for students seeking the Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (PK-12) certification (PA). It approximates full-time working/teaching experience for one full semester. At the conclusion of this experience, students must have demonstrated proficiencies in instructional management and specially designed instruction, student engagement and motivation, curriculum planning, learning theory, problem solving in an educational setting, using computers in the classroom, integrating reading, language, and literacy skills in all classrooms, the use of audiovisual materials in the classroom, communicating effectively with students and staff members who are deaf or hard of hearing in their preferred languages and modes of communication, the identification of instructional resources, assessment of student achievement, the development of IEP goals and objectives, management of amplification systems, assessment and development of listening and spoken language skills, consultation with regular classroom teachers, modification of the classroom acoustic environment, and development of student compensating strategies. The fieldwork course is typically the final course in a certification sequence. Includes a weekly online seminar session. Prerequisites: SPE 600, 602, 608, 612/615, 730, 731, 732, 733, 734Read More
Deaf Education Inclusive Classroom Core Courses (Choose 1)
SPE 612 Inclusive Classroom Practices: Kindergarten through Eighth Grades
3 credits. This course is a comprehensive study of theoretical issues and research-based diagnosis, instructional planning, and programmatic organization of instruction for children with disabilities in inclusive environments. Content will cover curriculum design, development of programs of differential instruction involving evidence-based interventions that meet students’ needs based on formative assessment, developmental and educational information; integrated learning experiences; specialized adaptations and resources; practices and procedures validated for specific characteristics of learners and settings; prevention and intervention strategies from multiple theoretical approaches for individuals at-risk for academic or behavioral failure; systematic implementation of instructional variables; systems management necessary for effective instruction of children with disabilities; and promote an understanding of the underlying theories, issues and methods for managing classroom environments. (NOTE: Do not take SPE 612 if you plan to take SPE 638.)Read More
SPE 615 Teaching Adolescents in Inclusive Environments
3 credits. The focus of this course is on the developing of skills dealing with effective inclusive classroom management and creating classroom climate conducive to student achievement. It provides comprehensive coverage of a variety of discipline models to aid candidates in building systems and conceptual models of total discipline based on their underlying theories; emphasizes activities promoting positive behavioral supports; increases pupil motivation; applies methods for establishing cooperative classroom routines, procedures, and practices; organizes the environment, including school wide, classroom, and individual supports; measures and reports progress.
This course of study will focus on the unique needs of students in grades seven through twelfth grades. Course study will include a focus on understanding how adolescent behaviors are influences by pedagogical practices and classroom environments. While general education curriculum is appropriate for the majority of students with disabilities, secondary learners who are at-risk for academic and behavioral failure, including those with disabilities, have specific learning and behavioral characteristics that can undermine progress through general education curriculum. Course content will include a careful analysis of the specific needs of intermediate and secondary aged learners, including: slower rates of acquiring information and skills, deficits in the ability to generalize learned skills to other settings or conditions, and a lack of ability to retain skills, all of which directly influence student behavior. Furthermore, course study will focus on the unique psychosocial problems of adolescents, social and interpersonal skill training priorities of young adults, classroom management and motivational strategies for adolescents, and validated learning strategies for adolescents and young adults. (NOTE: Do not take SPE 615 if you plan to take SPE 639.)Read More
Deaf Education Electives (Choose 2)
SPE 630 Design & Technologies for Differentiated Instruction
3 credits. This course will provide comprehensive coverage of what is involved in the consideration, assessment, and implementation of assistive technology for students with special needs including those with specific learning disabilities found most commonly in regular and special education classrooms today. Additional topics will include current and emerging technologies used to enhance instruction for both regular and special learners; school practices related to technology integration and effective uses of technology in the general and special education classroom. Offered in an eight-week accelerated format.Read More
SPE 700 Special Education School Law and Policy
3 credits. This course is designed to provide an overview of the legal rights of students and their families in the field of special education. Students will explore the source, history, and current status of special education law. Content covered will include an overview of laws and litigation affecting special education. The American legal system, particularly in respect to special education, the constitutional and statutory provisions of federal and state law, and judicial decisions interpreting those laws are reviewed. This course relates equal protection, procedural due process, and substantive due process doctrines to school practices affecting students with disabilities.Read More
SPE 701 Cognitive Processes: Research-based Brain Studies for the Educator
3 credits. This course provides an integrative survey of knowledge and research in the cognitive and neurological development of the young mind. The content is designed to connect cognition, neuroscience and educational practice with the critical periods of child development, including language development, visual systems, and psycho-social growth. Attention will be given to the basic structures of the brain and their corresponding dynamic functions, how neurons communicate with each other, and ways that networks of cells function in the vision, memory, and learning processes. The interaction and effects of learning and thinking and how the brain processes, consolidates, and internalizes information will be explored.Read More
SPE 702 Culturally Responsive Teaching
3 credits. This course is designed to align instruction along with the assets and differential needs of diverse student populations through applying and incorporating multicultural perspectives into the teaching-learning process to maximize the academic, cognitive, personal, and social aspects of student learning. It will provide ways to design and deliver culturally responsive strategies to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students and empower their families in the teaching and learning process. The course focuses on addressing challenges to the reading achievement of culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse students with disabilities. Issues covered will include assessment and intervention, curricula development and social/affective skills related to family, community, values and culture of students from different cultural and ethnic groups.Read More
SPE 720 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Overview of Causality, Diagnosis, and Advocacy
3 credits. This course will provide candidates with an introduction to autism spectrum disorders (ASD). With the increase in the number of individuals being diagnosed with ASD, this course will examine the challenge ASD presents to families, educators, students, related service providers, advocates, and policy makers. Course content will include an overview of ASD; family issues and challenges; ASD screening, diagnosis and assessment; an overview of intervention and treatment approaches; accessing appropriate supports and services; policy issues; advocacy and the experience of individuals living with ASD. Note: SPE 720 must be taken as the first Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement program.Read More
NOTE: Courses are in alpha-numeric order, not necessarily the order in which they are taken, and are subject to change. Please speak with an Program Manager for a course map.
Student Teaching and Field Experience
The PA Department of Education requires all teacher candidates to complete field experience competencies in certification programs. The Special Education Department at Saint Joseph’s University has designated activities in each course in the required curriculum to meet the state standards.
For more information on the Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with a Program Manager, or request more information below.