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School of Education

Teacher Candidates reading to students in a school in the library

School of Education

Supporting Literacy & Learners with Special Needs

Primary / Junior

The Supporting Literacy and Learners with Special Needs field experience provides teacher candidates with a unique opportunity to develop knowledge and skills regarding literacy instruction. Teacher candidates apply theory to practice as they tutor two students individually twice a week for approximately three months. The experience enables them to understand and become responsive to learner diversity.

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Teacher candidates learn how use information collected from assessment and evaluation strategies and tools to design engaging literacy instruction that is responsive to the assets, needs and interests of individual students they tutor. This process is explored in the Supporting Literacy and Learners with Special Needs course they take as they tutor. Valuable resources created specifically to support teacher candidates throughout this experience are provided to them in the course. 

This program has been recognized as exemplary and is one of the distinctive features of the Trent School of Education Consecutive Bachelor of Education program.

Intermediate / Senior

The Supporting Literacy and Learners with Special Needs component of the program combines course work with a tutoring placement in order to equip Teacher Candidates to become literacy leaders in their future careers. The course that bolsters the placement includes the following components:

  • Introduction to Special Needs/Exceptionalities
  • Building trusting relationships with students
  • Exploring community literacies
  • Integrating gaming and literature into lessons
  • Connecting literacy to social justice
  • Literacy across the curriculum
  • Tutoring and/as teaching
  • Strategies to beat the OSSLT (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test)
  • Technology as a tool for tutoring and teaching

The tutoring placement affords candidates the opportunity to work one-on-one with two students. This enables an in-depth and close-up view of students who struggle with school-based literacies so that, as candidates move from tutoring to teaching, they have an awareness of, and ability to reach, high-needs students. Our candidates often tell us that the tutoring placement provided them some of the deepest learning, as well as the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of students.