The main aim of special education as a discipline can be seen in its emphasis on the necessity to implement just and fair standards that will be used in gauging the treatment of all students within both privately and publicly funded educational institutions. This aim for fair treatment within the academic discipline can be seen in special education’s emphasis on its “advocacy for persons with disabilities and (its) embracing of individual differences” (Council for Exceptional Children, 1999, p. ).
According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (1999), in order to implement this advocacy it is necessary to have ‘knowledge of students;’ ‘knowledge of special education;’ ‘knowledge of the importance of communications in learning;’ ‘capability to create an environment in which equal treatment, fairness, and respect for diversity are modeled, taught, and practiced by all;’ and ‘knowledge of the subject matter’ (p. 4).
Within the State of Arizona, for example, these standards are implemented by placing emphasis on the teacher’s role in the knowledge acquisition process as well as in the process of ‘creating an environment that maintains a learning climate’ within the classroom (Arizona Department of Education, n. d. , p. 1-6). The information specified within these standards are necessary in order to become an effective special education teacher since these standards will allow a teacher to have knowledge of the necessary factors which he must gain mastery of in order to effectively implement cognitive and substantive thinking skills within the classroom.
For example, within the classroom learning environment, knowledge of these standards will guide the teacher in including information within the curriculum that will allow students to gain better understanding of the existence of individual differences and how these differences should not be used as the main gauge for treating another person differently within the classroom as well as within the larger context of society.