Special Education Philosophy Paper Essay
Special Education Philosophy Paper
Describe own special educational philosophy in terms of its metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic. My Philosophy of Special Education is that special education is teaching children who have special needs, which can interfere with their learning abilities. I believe special education compared to general education is merely an extension of services in helping all children learn. Learning is a process through which we increase our knowledge as a result of the experiences in our lives. We learn through what we are exposed to and what we try to imitate.
It is a process of discovery. The environment in which we live stimulates our brains to make connections of neurons to continually build upon throughout our lives. Imitation is key in learning. I remember a student telling me that he knew someone who had a funny walk and that his nine-year –old son imitated his walk. After that story, I was reminded of when I was little girl trying to imitate my mom’s behavior by trying to shave my legs with a razor, and I ended up cutting myself. I learned very quickly that I should not have tried to shave my legs because of the pain I experienced.
However, in the case of the nine-year-old boy, the imitated walk represented a positive experience since the boy obviously looked up to his dad. In A celebration of Neurons, children learn to speak their parent’s native accents without actually having any formal instruction. (Sylwester 1995 ) After reading that passage, I recalled having to go to speech therapy when I was in the first grade because I had problems pronouncing certain words. At the time, I felt dumb and didn’t like going because I thought the other kids would think I was dumb.
I was too little to realize that my speech problem was the result of imitating my mom’s German accent. I was unable to recognize the broken English accent and therefore imitated what and how she spoke. Therefore, I learned the wrong pronunciation of many words, which ultimately made it harder for me to learn the proper way to pronounce the words the speech therapist was trying to help me with. To this day, I still have trouble pronouncing certain words. Learning by imitation can have very serious negative results. Unfortunately, many babies are never given a fair chance to learn.
I believe that if there were no unwanted babies and no babies that were continually exposed to negative environments, the world would be a much happier place, and “ if beginning tomorrow, we did nothing more than protect our children from destructive experiences closely linked to some of abandonment, we would have an emotionally healthier, brighter generation twenty years from now. ” (Cain, G. & Cain, R. 1991, P. 81 ). For example, children who live in areas that are infested with violence and gangs have probably only experienced skills that ate necessary or survival and don’t see the importance in learning.
However, one can be sure that their survival skills are well developed because they are essential to the children’s existence. Essentially, Mallow’s (1968) hierarchy of needs is not being met. Learning is also accomplished by discovering things for ourselves. Babies are constantly learning about their environment by discovery. Unfortunately, their discovering minds can get them into trouble, and they may learn thing ”the hard way”. The first time they touch a hot stove, they learn from that experience never to touch a hot burner again. These experiences become a structure of knowledge.
As these structures build with maturity, people learn to try to avoid negative stimuli and seek positive stimuli. Some of these structures are continually built upon, while others end because of lack of interest or negative stimuli that is experienced. An example of building a positive structure is a child who is glued to an activity for several hours a day, thoroughly enjoying the activity. Before long, connections for that activity will be built. But, if certain skills remain unused during the brain’s developmental stage, neural functions may wither away (Healy, 1990, P.141).
An ice – skater who has a positive experience when beginning to skate will build structures as a skater. But, someone who has negative experience while trying to skate for the first time will not develop any structures related to skating. Essentially, if a teacher is going to be successful and learning is going to take place, positive structures should be developed. A good way to develop these structures would be to follow Mamary’s four principles for a quality classroom: 1. Classrooms in which “fear of failure” does not exist. 2.
Classrooms in which “fear of rejection” does not exist. 3. Classrooms in which all “uncaring practices” are removed. 4. Classrooms in which “mindless activities” do not exist. If “fear of failure” does not exist, students will be more persistent and willing to discover things for themselves. And, as I said earlier, a very important part of learning is discovering. Students who don’t feel rejected will be more outgoing and not afraid to ask questions. When students don’t feel comfortable in their environment, they withdraw from the situation and shut down.
On the other hand, if they feel comfortable in their environment, they participate in class discussions and associate learning with a positive structure. If the students know the teacher cares about them, they will be more apt to do their best, if not for themselves, to impress the teacher. And the end result is likely that they will decide that they love learning. I know I have seen students in my classes that probably weren’t interested in a certain subject, but they did well, because they wanted to impress the teacher. And the end result is likely that they will decide that they love learning.
I know I have seen students in my classes that probably weren’t interested in a certain subject, but they did well, because they wanted to impress the teacher. Discuss those philosophies you chose not to include and explain what elements (metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic) you did not agree with and why. Address characteristics and best practices that have emotional, physical, mental, and/or learning disabilities Miss. Carlson’s inclusive and self contained class rooms will provide a sense of belonging to the special needs student.
I will accommodate and provide opportunities to be educated with same age peers. I will address characteristics and best practices that have emotional, physical, mental, and/or learning disabilities. Characteristics generally seen to the special education are: Auditory, Oral/Verbal, Memory/Recall, Reasoning/Processing and Organization. I will provide assisted technologies in order to meet the needs of my special education students. Evaluate how you would implement your special educational philosophy in an inclusive classroom and in a self-contained classroom.
My classroom will increase abilities to help and teach all classmates. Miss. Carlson’s classroom enhances self respect and growth for all. As a special education teacher I will recognize and acknowledge that all students have weaknesses but they also have strengths. Miss. Carlson will address her challenges and work through every challenge so learning can be accomplished by all. I will comprehend and understand what necessary steps I need to take in order to meet their individual learning needs. Learning also sometimes means that we have to unlearn to learn.
As we go through Piaget’s (1991) stages of development, we have to assimilate and accommodate experience in order to learn new things. I think students with a low self esteem have experienced something negative during their stages of development. For example, maybe they were continually told they were “ no good at anything” and they started believing it. Babies learn to walk by repeated trail and error and persistence. I believe if someone could tell a group of babies that they could not walk, the majority of them would not, and only a determined few would succeed.
But, even those babies would have to unlearn the idea that they couldn’t walk. When I do hands-on learning in my class, it will provide an environment that encourages all the students to by actually doing, since I will facilitate the learning. This way, the students can discover relationships and connections on their own. I believe this approach definitely builds upon the students’ knowledge structure. If a student only learns by listening, I don’t believe that the student will fully understand the concept. There are many exceptions to this rule.
But I believe that, if I were to vocally tell a special needs student step-by-step how to build a house without demonstrating how to do it, he or she probably could not do it without previous experience. Much of the time and attention now given to preparation and presentation of lessons might be more wisely and profitably expended in trainging the child’s power of imagery and in seeing to it that he was continually forming definite, vivid, and growing images of the various subject with which he comes in contact in his experience (Dewey,1897 / 1995, P. 324) As a future special education teacher.
I support the progressive education movement. This is a child centered approach that emphasizes the need for children to be engaged with the learning strategy of (hands-on-learning). The use of manipulatives encourages children to learn. Part of the progressive philosophy of education believes in: 1. ) a classroom centered on the child, 2. ) a curriculum based on interests, 3. ) a curriculum adaptable to his/her individual needs, 4. ) a methodology oriented towards discovery, 5. ) a school focused on life and 6. ) an environment shaped by cooperation.
These characteristics and definitely seen in a classroom that is activity based. I also found it somewhat surprising to find out that philosophers John Dewey and Alfred Whitehead had shared some common beliefs. Whitehead (1954) stressed: The child should make them his own, and should understand their applications here and now in the circumstances of his actual life. From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery. The discovery which he has to make, is that general ideas give an understanding of the stream of events which pours through his life, which is life (P.
314). As I have said, I am a definite believer of the progressive movement. But, I have to say I am also a strong advocate of the humanistic movement. I feel both the progressive and the humanistic movements go hand-in-hand. The humanistic approach believes in the individual, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of a person. This is the most important to the individual. Curriculum contrasts: Its goal is to produce “self-actualizing people,” in Maslow’s (1982) words, or total human beings,” as Rogers notes.
Both psychologists use such terms as maintaining, striving, enhancing, and experiencing-as well as independence, self-determination, integration, and self-actualization (Ornftein 1982, P. 200). I feel a strong foundation is built prior experiences knowledge. Earlier, I mentioned the idea of building a house. Well, without plans for building that house and without the proper foundation that house would be totally impossible to build. From the time we are born till the time of our death, we are constantly learning and experiencing in this ever changing world.
A teacher for instance may feel they have lost control of his/her classroom. But, eventually the teacher would adjust and be comfortable in his/her new environment. I think it is important to be important to be aware and realize that if the students’ basic needs (Maslow’s Hierarchy) are not being met, the students probably won’t be interested in learning. When children come to school tired, hungry, or in extreme cases, abused, their desire to learn is certainly diminished. (Maslow, A. 1968 P. 353). So, I will try to be cognizant of less fortunate students.
For example, I could use star stickers on quality papers as a means to motivate students and as a way of praise. I believe it makes the students feel important. So, whenever possible, I will try to make certain that I can somehow give them a star. Of course, this is not always possible, and even if it were, I wouldn’t, because the stars would become meaningless. My students will know when they receive a star they have done something great! Another thing I will do as the students enter my classroom is address them. I believe this makes them feel welcome.
I know that each students’ developmental stages (Piaget) in my class will be different. But, I will try to provide learning situations for all my students. For example, special education students in my class will be provided with notes that are written at a grade level for their ability, while the “gifted students” will be given the opportunity to test out of units to work on a topic of their choice if they score at least 80% or better on their pretest. Development, the orderly durable changes in a learner resulting from a combination of learning, experience, and maturation. (Piaget, 1997, P.29)
In closing, learning is a process through which we draw connections to build structures that hopefully will never end. Piaget suggests that development is a combination of learning, experience, and maturation. The quality of experience in the physical and social world, together with the drive for equilibrium, combine to influence development (Piaget, 1997, p. 71). As long as we continue to build upon these structures, we will continue to develop cognitively. However, if we don’t exercise the brain, these structures will wither away just as muscle withers away when it is not being used.
References Sylwester, R. (1995). A Celebration of Neurons: An Educator’s Guide to the Human Brain. Alexander, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Cain, G. & Cain, R. (1991). Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Menlo Park, California: Addison – Wesley. Healy, J. (1991). Endangered Minds: Why are don’t think and what we can do about it. New York: Simon & Schuster. Whitehead, A. (1957). The Aims of Education: Kaleidoscope. Boston: Ryan & Cooper. Ornstein, A. (1982). Curriculum Contrasts: A Historical Overview: Kaleidoscope.
Boston: Ryan & Cooper. Piaget, (1997). Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development Educational Psychology. New Jersey: Eggen & Kauchak. Maslow, A. (1968). Motivation as a Hierarchy of Needs: The Work of Maslow: Educational Psychology. New Jersey: Eggan & Kauchak. Wong, H. & Wong, R. (1991). The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher. Sunnyvale, California: Harry K. Wong. Dewey, J. (1897). My Pedagogic Creed In K. Ryan and J. M. Cooper (Eds), Kaleidoscope (pgs. 324-325). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Subject: Resource room,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 October 2016
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