Authors of the Month: Jennifer Coots and Kristin StoutPublished: September 15, 2009
Critical Reflections about Students with Special Needs: Stories from the Classroom
Jennifer Coots chair, professor/child development/special education, Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
Kristin Stout, lecturer, Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
Published in 2007 by Pearson Publishers, Critical Reflections about Students with Special Needs: Stories from the Classroom includes 100 vignettes based on real-life classroom challenges linked to the Council for Exceptional Children Professional Standards. The vignettes draw upon real-life challenges encountered in the field of special education by both novice and veteran teachers as they attempt to apply best practice standards in particular classroom situations. The vignettes are arranged according to the 10 categories of professional standards from the Council for Exceptional Children, the major professional organization in the field. Each of the vignettes is accompanied by questions and is designed to be used as a teaching tool for pre-service students or beginning teachers. Given their brevity, these vignettes can be presented within a class session and used to promote active learning. “Where one text stresses theory, this stresses the human impact of education,” said Coots, who joined the university in 1997. “Each vignette demonstrates a dilemma in the field. This text translates theory into practice.” Stouts stresses that the book is based on real-life experiences. “It is based on actual teaching situations that we found ourselves,” said Stout, who joined the university in 2002. “As editors, Dr. Coots and I chose to include these vignettes that we felt portrayed a variety of situations that were likely to be encountered in our special education teaching community. More importantly, we focused on experiences that happened early in everyone’s teaching career. I am speaking of those experiences that happened in our teaching careers. It is not to be assumed that everyone will encounter these exact experiences.” Coots earned her bachelor’s from Occidental College, a master’s in special education from Cal State Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in 1992 from UCLA in a joint program with Cal State L.A. Stout received her credential in general and in special education and then her Master’s in special education at CSULB.