Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Special Education Classrooms

I've talked to two special education teachers who teach in the Seattle public school system or in the Shoreline public school system in the last couple of weeks. Since I have a minor in special education, I have an interest in this area of education.

In talking to these three women, I learned that there are a full range of needs in one classroom. One teacher had kids in wheel chairs who were severely disabled with IQ's that could barely be recorded to a higher range of kids with autism and had behavior disruptive problems. I'm wondering if there are volunteers in these classrooms. I'm wondering what kind of learning is going on or is this a "day care center" to save the parents so they can go to work at tax payer expense.

Another teacher had kids who were in the upper range of IQ but had special learning disabilities. Einstein had a learning disability since he was dyslexic. Today he would be put in a Special Education classroom which has the stigma of being for those kids who are "retarded." I don't get this at all. This is laziness on the part of teachers and on the part of public schools who put kids who have dyslexia and other learning disabilities in special education classrooms. We have had so much knowledge about learning in different ways since I was in college back in the 60's so why isn't it applied? We keep teaching in the same way, using the same methods. Why? Some kids learn better by hearing. Some kids learn better by reading. Some kids learn better in a group interacting with the material. There are a myriad of ways to learn. Some are better than others.

Kids shouldn't be labeled. Kids have the right to learn in the way that is best for them and not get stuck in a special education classroom when they are intelligent and shouldn't be in there.

We still don't teach how to think in the classroom. Why? That's probably the most important thing we could be teaching. Learning to make a good decision and how to plan is important. In the Seattle Times the other day, there was an article that said that coding was one of the most important things that should be taught in the classroom. Yes. It's important to learn computer coding. It's important to learn several languages when you are young. It's important to learn math at a young age. Arts and music are essential. So much is important and we are so backward in this country.

What I can't understand is how private schools rake in money for having kids nap in the afternoon! That's a great way to earn money. They can come and nap at my place and I'll accept the money. And parents pay. I shake my head in amazement.

In college, I learned about the Institute of the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. They deal with the full range of human potential. I remember learning about one young man with Down's Syndrome going to college.

Sorry, I don't get it. I don't understand it at all. After doing a practicum at Fairview Hospital and Training Center in Salem, Oregon and working with kids for three months trying to get them to learn how to put a chair under the table, I knew this wasn't a field that I wanted to work in. I need a little more hope in a situation.

All kids have the right to learn at their full potential, at their rate of learning for their ability. This means that the gifted and talented shouldn't be sitting and bored. They should be challenged and learning every minute of the day.

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