About Dr. Ellen Gaske

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So far Dr. Ellen Gaske has created 5 blog entries.

Another Look at What Is Special About Special Education

Two years ago, I wrote my first blog for Catapult’s EduBlog, titled “Back to the Future of Special Education.” That blog post explored the question, “What is special about special education?” from the perspective of the importance in taking a diagnostic and prescriptive approach to special education. Two years later, I find myself revisiting this theme from a slightly different vantage point. Given the fact that a highly diagnostic and prescriptive approach provides the foundation for an effective special education program, what does “specialized instruction” really look like in terms of delivery of instruction? What is different about specialized [...]

2018-08-18T04:59:37+00:00November 16th, 2017|

Literacy Instruction: Casting a Wider Net

Over the course of 40+ years in Special Education, my enduring passion has been dedicated to individuals with significant reading disabilities (Dyslexia). Historically, professionals working with this population have largely targeted individuals of average or above average intellectual ability who had an unexpected difficulty learning to read relative to IQ. This discrepancy formula dictated “who” qualified for services. Unfortunately, by focusing primarily on individuals of average or above average IQ, an entire group of students with below average IQ may not have received literacy instruction supported by research. In the mid to late 1990’s research into the field of [...]

2018-08-18T04:59:42+00:00December 13th, 2016|

The Special Education Teacher Identity Crisis: Prescriptive or Pragmatic? Part II

In The Special Education Teacher Identity Crisis: Prescriptive or Pragmatic? Part I, I discussed the special education teacher “identity crisis” as it relates to taking a more diagnostic/prescriptive role to planning instruction versus a more pragmatic role. I also described my observations of two special education teachers at the same school: one a novice and the other a master teacher. There is a great deal the novice teacher can learn from a master teacher across all facets of the school day; however, the greatest gift the master teacher can give to the novice teacher striving to meet the needs [...]

2018-08-18T04:59:44+00:00August 8th, 2016|

The Special Education Teacher Identity Crisis: Prescriptive or Pragmatic? Part I

Over the course of my many classroom visits and teacher observations throughout my career, I am truly in awe of the master teacher. These teachers live and breathe all aspects of the teaching and learning process, from expert planning to delivery of engaging, differentiated lessons. They exude confidence and masterfully and effortlessly apply strategy knowledge and instructional pedagogy in teaching with differentiation for most needy students. Master teachers know how to use data to inform instructional decisions and apply core principles of intensive, systematic, direct instruction to accelerate learning. Such expertise does not come easily or naturally to many, [...]

2018-08-18T04:59:46+00:00April 11th, 2016|

Practicing What We Preach: Is it Possible for Instruction to Reflect Research in Practice?

As we celebrate the start of a new year, we simultaneously approach the midway point of the school year. This is a great opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished academically for our students and take stock of what might require a “reset” based on current trends. An area of particular importance to me is the value of “intensive instruction or intensive intervention.” I refer to these concepts so often that it has become part of my vernacular on a daily basis in working with school personnel, particularly school directors. I preach it and I hear it reflected [...]

2018-08-18T04:59:48+00:00January 26th, 2016|