Culminating Activity Essay
Creates the environment, orchestrates available resources, capitalizes on teaching moments, sometimes pushes back the desks, and does what it takes to help children. Some teachers become cynical for a while, after being put down and ignored and opposed. They end up thinking, feeling and sometimes even believing that no one can be reached. They convince themselves the battle is not worth it anyway. Yet teachers can help their students and influence many. That influence must not be based on fear, otherwise, it is coercive. It will not work over the long haul and it has many unexpected and disruptive side effects.
(Lee, B. 1997, 233). According to Barry Neil Kaufmann (2001, 26), beliefs are conclusions we form (or are taught) about ourselves, other people, events, or objects in the universe. He states that what distinguishes us from all other creatures is our belief-generating capacity. Simply stated, we freely choose to create, adopt and discard beliefs as our way of taking care of ourselves. He also believes that beliefs are held for what the believer thinks are the best of reasons. This paper looks into the beliefs systems of teachers and delves into some theories and models of educational psychology as applied in teaching.
It hopes to give some solutions as to how best to approach the teaching of students and young learners. I believe that people are so different and variable, their reactions are so complex and influenced by such a multiplicity of factors that it sometimes seems as if real scientific understanding of human behavior is impossible. Adages such as “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” and “there’s no accounting for tastes” emphasize the difficulties of making generalizations about human behavior. On the other hand, some regularity in behavior clearly exists, and we rely on these regularities in our everyday lives.
For example, people drive in accordance with regularities, operating with well-learned habits; furthermore, we assume that everyone in our culture has learned these same habits. However, I also believe that while some aspects of behavior are generally predictable, it is impossible to be accurate in every case; individual exceptions do occur. Some of the influences that have shaped my point of view on this are the studies, researches and experiences that I have gone through my stay in the University plus my own set of readings. Some issues that made me rethink my own set of beliefs
One of the issues that we tackled that made me rethink and act accordingly were my experiences on the important issue for multiculturalism and the profound differences that exist between two cultures. Cultural differences can be very deep and possibly, irreconcilable. For instance, Native American concepts regarding work and property are quite different from English traditions. Historically, the resolution of these irreconcilable differences involved attempts to destroy Native American cultures and replace them with Western traditions.
In recent times, Native Americans rebelled against this cultural genocide and domination with demands for cultural restoration. What should or can multicultural education do about these cultural differences? Another important issue is the evolution of cultures in the context of domination. The intersection of African and European cultures in the4 context of slavery and racism resulted in African American culture containing a certain ambivalence regarding acculturation to dominant white institutions and values. After all, it is these institutions and values that imposed slavery, segregation, and continued patterns of racism.
Should multicultural education try to bridge the gap between African American culture and mainstream European American culture? Or should multicultural education attempt to maintain African American cultural traditions? With the world movement of labor and capital, these types of cultural clashes will probably increase. The continued intersection of cultures will heighten the debate over multicultural education. For those advocating cultural unity, the emphasis will be on the teaching of cultural values of the dominant culture.
I also learned that ethnocentric educators for dominated cultures argue that children should learn to break the grip of this white Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition by learning to see the world from their own cultural perspective. In the United States, Afrocentric, Native American-centered, Mexican American-centered and Puerto Rican-centered education would maintain, and in some cases restore, cultural traditions and teach from the cultural perspective of these traditions. Rather than white Anglo-Saxon Protestant traditions providing the means for ending cultural domination, ethnocentric perspectives, it is argued, will end this domination.
In contrast, multicultural educators for social empowerment want to teach cultural tolerance and different cultural perspectives, but they want all students united around concerns about social justice. Social empowerment will be achieved, it is argued, through the teaching of a critical pedagogy that will free the consciousness of all people from domination. These differing arguments regarding the nature of cultural differences, cultural domination and multicultural education have a direct impact on curriculum and methods of instruction.
Obviously, a curriculum emphasizing core values will be quite different from a curriculum stressing ethnocentric perspectives of dominated groups. And, of course, the methodology of critical pedagogy is quite different from that of teaching cultural literacy. Historical Perspective The early writings on human behavior such as those of Aristotle’s teachings are deemed as one of the cornerstones of the social sciences, including philosophy, political science and ethics. Many of Aristotle’s ideas are outmoded today. But far more important than any of his individual theories is the rational approach underlying his work.
Implicit in Aristotle’s writings is the attitude that every aspect of human life and society may be an appropriate object of thought and analysis. The notion that the universe is not controlled by blind chance, by magic or by the capricious whims of capricious deities, but that its behavior is subject to rational laws; the belief that it is worthwhile for human beings to conduct a systematic inquiry into every aspect of the natural world, and the conviction that we should utilize both empirical observations and logical reasoning in forming our conclusions.
This set of attitudes is contrary to traditionalism, superstition and mysticism-and has profoundly influenced Western civilization. Similar to my set of beliefs is Aristotle’s thoughts on logic. The definitions that he proposed and the categories that he established have provided the basis for later thought in many different fields. It is his thoughts on common sense that is so akin to what I also hold true. Courage, moderate living and other good virtues provide people with a sense of order and purpose. Science and philosophy belong to the genre of means or instruments.
Philosophers bring forth their own ideas of truth, human nature, God and society (O’Keefe 2005). Meanwhile, the more modern idea such as the humanistic philosophy of human behavior is the idea of studying the whole person or student. It looks at a child’s behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the child doing the behaving. Humanistic psychologists believe that an individual’s behavior is connected to his inner feelings and self-image (Edwords, 1989). The humanistic approach also believes that individuals are internally directed and motivated to fulfill their human potential.
The humanistic educational philosophy believes that people should be able to choose what they want to learn. It is believed that people will be motivated to learn a subject if it is something they need and want to know. The perspective of this philosophy is to foster people’s desire to learn and teach them how to learn. Applying this in a learning set-up, the humanistic teacher is opposed to objective tests because they test a student’s ability to memorize and does not provide sufficient educational feedback. Grading encourages students to work for a grade and not personal satisfaction.
The most important lesson a teacher can teach a child is the importance of learning, the enjoyment of learning and how to learn. A person’s job is to make a person want to learn. In the context of education, self-evaluation and self-satisfaction should weigh above grades. Grades should be a measure more for the teacher, not the student. The humanistic philosophy can be effectively applied to literacy mainly with its ideas of choice and desire. Students will be more inclined to write to their best ability and read at a high level if they are the ones choosing the topic to write on or the book to be read.
Humanism parallels with my strongest conviction of what a teacher should do. In summary, this is what I believe are the basic principles of the humanistic approach from the students’ standpoint: 1. Students will learn best what they want and need to know. That is, when they have developed the skills of analyzing what is important to them and why, as well as the skills of directing their behavior towards those wants and needs, they will learn more easily and quickly. Most educators and learning theorists would agree with this statement, although they might disagree on exactly what contributes to student motivation.
2. Knowing how to learn is more important than acquiring a lot of knowledge. In our present society where knowledge is changing rapidly, many educators, especially those from a cognitive perspective, share this view. 3. Self-evaluation is the only meaningful evaluation of a student’s work. The emphasis here is on internal development and self-regulation. While most educators would likely agree that this is important, they would also advocate a need to develop a student’s ability to meet external expectations.
4. Feelings are as important as facts. Much work from the humanistic view seems to validate this point and is one area where humanistically oriented educators are making significant contributions to our knowledge base. 5. Students learn best in a non-threatening environment. This is one area where humanistic educators have had an impact on current educational practice. The orientation espoused today is that the environment should be psychologically and emotionally as well as physically, non-threatening.
As a practitioner, here are some of the ways that I will implement the humanist view towards education in the future. Some of these include: 1. Allow the student to have a choice in the selection of tasks and activities whenever possible. 2. Help students learn to set realistic goals. 3. Have students participate in group work, especially cooperative learning, in order to develop social and affective skills. 4. Act as a facilitator for group discussions when appropriate. 5. Be a role model for the attitudes, beliefs and habits one wish to foster.
Insights and Learnings on Valuable Components in the Programs Some aspects in the course have struck me such as the theory on behaviorism which is a theory of education that is more a part of a motivational strategy. Behaviorism views development as a continuous process in which children play a relatively passive role. Behaviorists assume that the only things that are real are the things we can see and observe. One cannot see the mind, but one sees people act, react and behave. What people do, not what they think or what is real is the object of the study.
I have come to observe that in studying educational psychology principles, teachers can go a long way in teaching their students. Behaviorism has developed many excellent means of discipline and classroom management. However, the behavior is not the child. Teachers can clarify whether she thinks the behavior is merely a cause of something else that is occurring within the child. It does not seem thorough to treat the behavior only and not take into account the reason for the behavior. Within teaching, behaviorism somehow removes the enjoyment out of learning.
The theory seems to be unconcerned with the child at all. It seems to me that this philosophy does not take the time to meet the child within the strident. Indeed, the love of learning is the most powerful gift a teacher can give a student. After putting in perspective what educational philosophy she does not agree with and why, a teacher can support and discuss the philosophies that she most strongly agree with. Problems Facing Special Education Teachers Current directions toward inclusion are varied.
Some hear opinions that students with mild and moderate disabilities will be placed in classes. Then, there are also those who say that special education students will be placed in inclusion, including those with the most severe disabilities. Definitions of inclusion already abound including issues on its subsequent translation into programming. On the question, “Which students with disabilities will most benefit from inclusion, the different levels of responses are: Level 1—Students with mild disabilities participate full-time in regular education classrooms.
Students with moderate to profound disabilities attend separate classrooms on the regular education camps. Level II – Students with mild and moderate disabilities participate full-time in regular education classrooms, with the elimination of all pull-out programs. Students with severe or profound disabilities would be served in a separate classroom on the same campus. Level III – All students participate in regular education classrooms except students with the most severe disabilities who would be in normalized and age-appropriate classroom on the same campus. Few students are excluded.
Level IV – Despite the degree of disability, all students are fully included in general education classrooms. Specialists and teaching assistants provide support for students with the most severe disabilities within the classroom. The regular education teacher is responsible for structuring social interactions with typical peers. The least inclusive proposal places most students with mild disabilities in regular classes, but excludes those with moderate through severe disabilities, placing them in separate rooms within the regular school building (Lilly, 1986).
This proposal is closest to the traditional manner of service delivery and is the easiest to implement in terms of using available special educators as support personnel and providing training in methods for regular education teachers to include these children. More inclusive is the proposal to place students with mild or moderate disabilities in regular education classes (Reynolds & Wang, 1983; Wang, Reynolds & Walburg, 1987). The essence and meaning of inclusion evolved from the historical concepts in early childhood special education, that is, mainstreaming and integration.
Bricker (1995) discusses the evolution of these terms, noting that mainstreaming refers to the “reentry of children with mild disabilities be served totally in these settings eliminating the need for pull-out programs. While students with organically-based learning disabilities or moderately demonstrated behavioral disorders would not have been included in regular education rooms in the Level I proposal, they would be included here. Yet, proponents of both levels agree that there will be students with severe and/or multiple disabilities whose needs will not be served optimally in a mainstream environment.
They feel that these students will need to participate full-time in separate settings. Level III includes a more extensive involvement of severely impaired students in regular education. All students are included except those who are unable to be involved in academic or social interactions (Gartner & Lipsky, 1987). However, even these students would participate in nearby classrooms which would be as normalized and age-appropriate as possible. The most extreme view is that of full inclusionists, who propose that all students should participate in general education classes.
Claiming that to do otherwise would be to support a “dual-system” for the most disabled, Level IV proponents propose the integration of even profoundly-impaired students into totally normalized classes (Stainback & Stainback, 1984). This position has prompted the strongest reaction of implausibility from those opposed to the Regular Education Initiative. Yet parents and professionals supporting Level IV inclusion do acknowledge that there are situations in which these students cannot be grouped with other s because of instructional differences.
Thus, the Regular Education Initiative gives a sense of inclusion for students. Yet, a number of researchers and educators have opposed the Regular Education Initiative strongly. They cite the historical inability and lack of desire of regular education to meet students’ needs. That is the reason why the IDEA cropped up. They worry about the loss of funding and parental right. They also note that most regular educators are not trained to have students with disabilities in their classes.
They say that teachers cannot meet societal demands for excellence if they are expected to have vastly different levels of student academic and behavioral performance in their classes. Supporters of inclusion differ in the extent of disability integrated into regular education classes. Some support placement only of students with mild disabilities in regular education, with students demonstrating more severe impairments participating on the regular education campus, but in separate impairments participating on the regular education campus, but in separate classes.
The continuum expands to include students with more severe impairments in regular classrooms on a part-time basis, to the full exclusionists, who would have all students participate full-time despite the degree of disability. The problem is how to incorporate students into classes where teachers and nondisabled peers are welcoming as well as competent in dealing with difference. Thus, the debate continues. This paper looks into these inclusionary practices and explores how these are helpful for all concerned.
Enormous amount of research has been made to explore the factors associated with caring for a disabled children and the deleterious effects these factors have on parents’ well-being. Research evidences points out that the family attitude greatly contributes to the prognosis. Risk factors such as lack of services and negative attitudes can have an adverse influence on the prognosis of the mentally-handicapped child. Obtainable studies show that most often parents have a negative attitude towards their child with mental disabilities.
Parents are weighed down with feelings of pessimism, hostility, and shame. Denial, grief, withdrawal, rejection, projection of blame and finally, acceptance are the usual parental reactions. (Drew CJ, Logan DR, Hardman ML. ) Studies reveal that this negative attitude not only affects the parents. Family members of children with mental handicap are often perceived to experience harmful psychological effects too. Extreme stress levels heighten negative health outcomes like depression and marital dissatisfaction. Studies have found them to be at a higher risk for marital discord and social isolation.
The most common psychiatric disorder found is dysthymia followed by generalized anxiety disorder and moderate depression. (Chandorkar H, Chakraborty PK. ). Some parents also tend to experience a feeling of helplessness, inadequacy, anger, shock and guilt whereas others go through periods of disbelief, depression, and blaming of oneself. The siblings are also affected as they experience feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. (Frude N. ) Among the discoveries of various research is that, parents of children with disabilities perceive more problems in themselves and their family.
The majority of these cases stress the subsequent negative consequences in caring for a child with a mental disability. Although many researchers have found out those families of children with mental handicap report more stress than those of normal families. Research also shows that there is no apparent evidence that they experience fewer positive feelings. As a matter of fact, data are suggestive of no differences and even reports of a more positive perception in families of children with mental disabilities. Having a child who is in need of special care can affect both the parent and the entire family in complex ways.
While there are cases where it strengthens the family, it also entails extra demands on the parent’s time and energy and on the family’s financial resources as well. Various researches generally point out that: • increased levels of stress have been widely reported for mothers of children with mental disabilities. • mothers who are caring for children with mental handicap are less likely to participate in the labor force and to respond to training and employment activities designed to encourage participation in the work force. (Meyers, MK. , Brady, HE.
, & Seto) • parents have to deal daily with extra care-giving tasks, additional medical expenses, transportation to and from appointments, care for other siblings while participating in the child’s treatment, and special clothing, food, and day care for the child that requires special needs. (Meyers, MK. , Brady, HE. , & Seto) Several parents describe a sense of loss and feeling of guilt at having a mentally handicapped child which in turn affects the entire family. It is almost like a bereavement process. Some parents never come to terms with the disability.
Occasionally it can bring out all the innermost bad feelings and misgivings between individuals and all sorts of accusations are banded about within families. Patterns of discipline may be influenced by the child’s disability. Having a mental disability in the family slows life down so much more as spontaneity is hampered by the need to be planned and organized in order to take into account the child’s special needs. (A Report to Renfrewshire Council) Financial consequences. All the professionals were agreed that families where there is a disability incur greater expenses.
The cause for this includes requirements for specialized equipment and wear and tear of the child’s clothing and their toys due to destructive tendencies of a child with mental handicap. (A Report to Renfrewshire Council) Physical Health. If a member of the family takes on physically demanding tasks in taking care of a mentally impaired sibling, this could lead to exhaustion or even long-term physical damage. Whether or not a child has caring responsibilities, tiredness can result when sleep is disturbed by a brother or sister, particularly if they share the same room.
Children with autism may scream for long periods of time and if a child was trying to cope with that it would be unbearable. (A Report to Renfrewshire Council). Effects on Education. Disturbed sleep, or lack of it, has great effect on concentration and learning while at school. Children who share a bedroom with somebody who is up constantly through the night go to school and are reported to fall asleep during the day. School non-attendance may occur, especially when a child is caring for or worried about a disabled brother/sister. (A Report to Renfrewshire Council)
Emotional Effects. Professionals strongly believe that children have feelings of resentment towards their disabled sibling which in turn produce a feeling of guilt. Jealousy and envy are thought to be common as the children tend to feel left-out of attention in favor of their disabled sibling. They may also feel the need to fight for their share of space and attention. (A Report to Renfrewshire Council) The realization of a mental disability in a child often comes as a shock. Adjustment in home routines, career and relationships with family and professionals are usually required.
Ample evidence indicates that parents of children with mental disabilities go through prolonged periods of stress than do parents with typical normal children. Like any other child, the family and environmental systems also affect a child with disabilities. A negative attitude towards disability from the family members, relatives and friends not only impacts the child directly, but also adds on to the present stress levels of the family. Although it is undisputable fact that parents of disabled children face a great deal of stress, it is now important to move away from describing these stressors and their undesirable effects.
Instead, research should now focus on exploring the ways that these families cope with varying degrees of success. Various studies have been made which recognize that many families have been successful in developing positive perceptions regarding raising a child with mental disability. Studies done recently, have consistently reported that families with a mentally handicapped child, can and in fact do have positive perceptions which lead to a better quality of life for the whole family.
Though precipitated by a specific event, formation of positive perceptions is usually a process, which can come about simultaneously or a longtime after the event. Obtainable research suggests that positive perceptions play a central role in the coping process and assist us in dealing with the traumatic and stressful events. Aside from the fact that they benefit the parents and the siblings in coping with the child, the disability, and the difficulties associated with it, it also helps the family unit as a whole. The manner, in which a family functions, is influenced by the parent’s perception of their child’s difficulties.
Guilford describes a model of the intellect that is characterized by a set of operations: cognition, memory, divergent thinking, convergent thinking, and evaluation. He suggests that content is dealt with on a unit, or larger basis. Some of his constructs can be applied as we treat literal, inferential and critical reading. Others have based their explanations of reading comprehension on aspects of this model. How children learn to recognize and process information has been the subject of much speculation and some research.
Perhaps no one has shed more light on the intellectual developmental of Piaget, whose findings have been used to support the concept of readiness in learning. Conclusions If we want our schools to educate the students well, we need teachers who are well-trained, highly respected professionals. But teachers today are not given the right opportunities to be trained well. We simply cannot expect to implement rigorous standards and testing, tightened discipline and effective early interventions without true professionals to deliver them.
It is imperative that colleges of education should overhaul their curriculums to include methods of evaluating scientific research. Teachers must know how to determine the effectiveness of new ideas, textbooks and methods of teaching. They have eagerly swallowed too many myths and fads for too long. The professionalization of teaching extends beyond teacher preparation to the way educators are treated once they enter practice. Schools cannot possibly train, recruit, and retain teachers who possess sophisticated critical thinking skills until they reward teachers with respect and support.
But rewards must also be associated with expectations. Almost miraculously, many excellent, dedicated and well-educated teachers work in public schools today. However, society must muster the courage to weed out or retrain educators who lack the necessary talent and skill to teach our young. Our children deserve true, highly regarded professionals to lead them. The child is unique and perceives and understands the world differently from the way the adult does. Thus, the child’s ideas are valued.
This kind of philosophy has an integrated core curriculum which is best suited to the developmental interaction and sees the child as a thinking self-propelling, well-adjusted individual. A teacher must believe that the basic tenet of her kind of approach is that the growth of cognitive functions–acquiring and ordering information, judging and reasoning, problem solving, using systems of symbol–cannot be separated from the growth of personal and interpersonal processes–the development of self-esteem and sense of identity, internalization of impulse control, capacity of autonomous response and relatedness to other people.
All these educational psychology, though, when examined well is supported mostly by ideology. We all need to make an appeal for schools to return to programs identified as effective. Schools need to put teachers back in charge of the classroom. Once teachers are equipped on how educational psychology is best used in their teaching profession, then, these teachers, as leaders must feel free to challenge and yes, even frustrate their pupils in the right way.
Learning is not always fun. Often it requires boring repetition, torturous struggle through complex concepts, and tremendous self-discipline. The muscle of self-control only develops from regular exercise. The classroom that challenges students demands and expects diligent work that is far more likely to produce, solid, accepting and responsible adults, like their teachers who applied to them the right educational psychology principles.
In sum, I believe that the basic tenet of my kind of approach is that the growth of cognitive functions – acquiring and ordering information, judging and reasoning, problem solving, using systems of symbol – cannot be separated from the growth of personal and interpersonal processes –the development of self-esteem and sense of identity, internalization of impulse control, capacity of autonomous response and relatedness to other people. If we want our schools to educate the students well, we need teachers who are well-trained, highly respected professionals.
But teachers today are not given the right opportunities to be trained well. We simply cannot expect to implement rigorous standards and testing, tightened discipline and effective early interventions without true professionals to deliver them. It is imperative that colleges of education should overhaul their curriculums to include methods of evaluating scientific research. Teachers must know how to determine the effectiveness of new ideas, textbooks and methods of teaching.
They have eagerly swallowed too many myths and fads for too long. The professionalization of teaching extends beyond teacher preparation to the way educators are treated once they enter practice. Schools cannot possibly train, recruit, and retain teachers who possess sophisticated critical thinking skills until they reward teachers with respect and support. But rewards must also be associated with expectations. Almost miraculously, many excellent, dedicated and well-educated teachers work in public schools today.
However, society must muster the courage to weed out or retrain educators who lack the necessary talent and skill to teach our young. Our children deserve true, highly regarded professionals to lead them. The child is unique and perceives and understands the world differently from the way the adult does. Thus, the child’s ideas are valued. This kind of philosophy has an integrated core curriculum which is best suited to the developmental interaction and sees the child as a thinking self-propelling, well-adjusted individual.
A teacher must believe that the basic tenet of her kind of approach is that the growth of cognitive functions–acquiring and ordering information, judging and reasoning, problem solving, using systems of symbol–cannot be separated from the growth of personal and interpersonal processes–the development of self-esteem and sense of identity, internalization of impulse control, capacity of autonomous response and relatedness to other people.
All these educational psychology, though, when examined well is supported mostly by ideology. We all need to make an appeal for schools to return to programs identified as effective. Schools need to put teachers back in charge of the classroom. Once teachers are equipped on how educational psychology is best used in their teaching profession, then, these teachers, as leaders must feel free to challeng