Teaching Exceptional Adolescents (EDUC 414/614)
Undergraduate Students, Teachers
College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Eisenman teaches the Teaching Exceptional Adolescents (EDUC 414 C/L with EDUC 614) course to Secondary Education Majors primarily from Arts and Sciences. The course focuses on youth with disabilities in Secondary Education and disability as a form of diversity. It is an introductory course that teaches students to think more broadly of disability as a form of diversity and a natural part of the human condition, not just a medical diagnosis or something that is wrong with the student. They learn that their students are adolescents who have a disability as defined under special education law, but their disability does not define them. The label exists simply for the purposes of funding and securing resources.
The beginning of course expounds on the issue of disproportionate representation and that underrepresented or marginalized communities have often been over-identified for special education services. Our objective is to get special education services to the right students. However, there are consequences if we are also serving those that do not need the services. Students also explore the issue of disproportionate discipline among students with disabilities, especially African American boys. These students tend to be more restrained, isolated, and suspended which also has repercussions. In view of these realities, students answer questions about what the implications are, what their responsibility is as a teacher, and the ways in which teachers can be attentive to these kinds of dynamics in their classrooms. Students also learn how they can create a more supportive, positive, inclusive learning environment for all their students regardless of their background or disabilities.