Radford University instructor writes guide for special education educators

Radford University Office of University Relations
Darren Minarik

Radford University faculty member Darren Minarik is co-author of a new book that serves as a guide for elementary through high school educators who teach social studies in inclusive general education settings.

The book, “Social Studies and Exceptional Learners” was written by Minarik, an instructor in Radford University’s School of Teacher Education (STEL), and Timothy Lintner, a social studies education professor at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

In the book, Minarik and Lintner provide background information about disability and laws driving disability services in schools. I would like this sentence to read: They recommend best practices for educating students with disabilities in an inclusive classroom setting.

Topics discussed in the book include instructional design and strategy, assessment, classroom management and the use of appropriate technology.

Minarik and Lintner provide carefully designed lesson plans for teaching economics, geography, history and civics to exceptional learners at each of the elementary, middle and high school levels. The lessons are aligned with the national social studies standards and the C3 Framework for social studies state standards.

The authors also recommend important institutional and published resources that can assist with the education of exceptional learners.

Minarik and Lintner wrote the book because of their concern about the limited number of empirical investigations and teacher practitioner articles currently available for social studies educators who want to address the needs of exceptional learners in their classrooms,” said Minarik.

Minarik teaches an introduction to special education course for future secondary teachers and one section of the course is generally dedicated to the social studies cohort.

“My students in that section frequently expressed a disconnect between what they learned in my course about disability and how that information applied to them as future social studies teachers,” Minarik said. “This book is an attempt to bridge that gap for both preservice and inservice teachers.”

Minarik is an instructor in STEL’s special education in the general curriculum, K-12 program area. He currently serves as graduate advisor for students in the five-year special education in the general curriculum program.

Minarik teaches introduction to special education for secondary educators, collaboration for diverse learners, teaching exceptional learners in the secondary general education curriculum and characteristics of students with disabilities who access the general curriculum.

In addition, he works in collaboration with the secondary social science teacher education program, supervising pre-service secondary social studies teachers who are co-placed with pre-service special education teachers.

Minarik serves as director of Curriculum and Professional Development for the American Civics Center, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preparing young people and adults for active and responsible participation in democracy.

He also is Radford University’s representative and chair on the State Special Education Advisory Committee (SSEAC) and frequently works with the Virginia Department of Education’s “I’m Determined” state-directed project focusing on self-determination for youth with disabilities.

Minarik’s research interests include citizenship education and self-determination for youth with disabilities, instructional strategies, postsecondary transition, collaboration, inclusive practices and the perceptual and pedagogical intersections between social studies, disability studies and special education.

Oct 12, 2016
Chad Osborne