887 Special Needs Education


The field of special needs education is and will remain an important area of activity in the inclusive kindergarten and school, and other areas within health and education. This study programme will focus primarily on professional work with children and young people.
In the development of the field, special needs education, there is now focus on individual learning and development through activities in social contexts. Familiarity and knowledge of children and young people’s different backgrounds and learning environments is essential for all educational activities. The study programme adopts a socio-cognitive and socio-cultural approach to learning. In this study programme we will particularly look at the role of the special needs teachers in their work with children with various functional disabilities.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

Students and professionals who wish to specialise in special needs education.

Students who have completed an approved 3-year (minimum) pedagogical programme with a minimum of 30 ECTS in pedagogy.

Aim of the Programme

The objective of the study programme is to increase students’ knowledge and ability to reflect upon:

  • Neurologically-based learning difficulties in an interactive perspective
  • Psychosocial learning difficulties viewed in an interactive perspective.

The programme aims to develop students’ professional expertise, didactic skills, social skills, and change and development expertise, as well as their professional and ethical competence. In other words, students will acquire new knowledge and skills, and develop attitudes in relation to the field of study (please refer to the course).

Further Education opportunities

The study programme is structured so that students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in teaching may apply for admission to Master’s degree programmes that require a minimum of 60 ECTS in pedagogy / special needs education.

Curriculum and structure

Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V)
30SP Special Needs Education 30.00 O    
Total: 0 0
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

The study programme is designed so students will experience that the content of the programme contributes to the aims of the subject. The content will be presented so that students will be able to study several of its components simultaneously. They will encounter the academic content of the programme in the required reading list, in the elective reading, through lectures / seminars guided by staff, and in discussions with fellow students as well as self-study.
Key components are:

  • Various functional disabilities
  • Socio-cultural approach to learning and development
  • Screening methods:
  • Observation
  • Interviews/consultations
  • Professional observations
  • Didactic tools used in special needs activities
  • Various learning tools, such as the use of ICT
  • Laws, regulations and guidelines and other public documents with relevance for special needs education activities

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching and learning methods are based on socio-cognitive and socio-cultural learning approaches and will alternate between self-study, workshops sessions including lectures and seminars, online discussions and reflection and group work. Guidance from other students and subject teachers will also be an important learning method in this programme.
Learning processes in groups and participation in supervision processes is mandatory. The semester plan will provide information concerning which online discussions, group work, and supervision processes are mandatory.
The student’s work with their own written work individually and in groups will be a learning method that is used actively in the programme. The programme has 4 such mandatory assignments that are described below under “assessment methods”.

Theory and Practical Training

Special Needs Education is a practice-oriented subject. In other words, all the teaching is related to the challenges and issues that will be encountered in practical situations.
The practice-orientation in this programme is related to:
a) the student’s own work in the nursery, school, other educational institutions.
b) participation in the study programme and completion of assignments that enable students to observe and reflect in relation to solutions to interaction-related and special needs educational issues.
Students who take the study programme as the third or fourth year of study in a general teacher education programme will complete their practical training in relation to Telemark University College’s Practice Plan.

Assessment Methods

Requirements and examination in 1st semester:

Requirements 1 and 2: Professional, didactic case discussions in the base group.
Students will be divided into base groups of 3-5 students. The base groups will, among other things, review individual cases to discuss relevant issues related to planning in nurseries / schools.
Supervision is mandatory.
Assessment: pass / fail
It is a requirement that submitted assignments receive passing marks.
Home examination:
Students complete an individual response (the same guidelines as in Requirements 1 and 2). Graded A - F.
Requirements and examination 2nd semester
Requirement 3 Professional reflection assignments.
Specified topic to be discussed and explored. Assignment and possible responses will be discussed and explored in groups; the groups will also function as guidance forums. In addition, supervision will be given by staff member in the group. This supervision is mandatory (refer to semester plan).

Requirement 4 Individual essay related to the excursion.
Requirements 3 and 4 will result in two individually written papers.
Assessment: Pass / Fail
It is a requirement that submitted assignments receive passing marks.
Adaptive scheme for general teacher education students (4th year).

The programme will be concluded with an individual 6-hour written examination (which covers all the themes and the entire curriculum).
Graded A – F.
Final assessment
All coursework requirements must be assessed as passed.
Please refer to the course description for more information.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Frode Evenstad <Frode.EvenstadSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 02/04/2011