EDU 6989: School Profile Report

I spent an entire week in a 6th grade classroom in the Shoreline School District. This paper entails my experiences of this observation. Specifics of the paper focus on the school’s use of the curriculum, the atmosphere of the classroom, maintaining a positive culture, and how issues of child abuse are dealt with.

School Profile Report

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EDU 6989: Full Inclusion and Accommodations

This blog posting will focus on a growing issue concerning with special education students. The issue is if full inclusion is the best option for students with disabilities? Like any controversial issues, there are advocates supporting the notion that full inclusion is the best option as well as many who are in opposition. If students with disabilities were to be fully included then changes would have to be made. The curriculum and teaching styles will need to be changed, as well as teachers will have to pay closer attention to the social dynamic of the students (Scheuerman, 2013). These advocates who are in support of full inclusion feel that it will reveal not what can’t be done but rather what isn’t being done to support these students. They believe that any teacher committed to excellence would want to make changes in curriculum, instruction, and classroom management to better suite all students (Scheuerman, 2013). Those in opposition feel that students, especially those with disabilities benefit from a wide range of services, from full inclusion to separate classrooms (Scheuerman, 2013). Furthermore, they believe that full inclusion will not create self-directed learners. Scheuerman (2013) states that, “inclusion sacrifices remediation for compensation; that is, adapting the learning environment rather than focusing instruction on necessary academic skills (p. 2). Those in opposition feel that the pull-put model fully meets the needs of the students across the wide development continuum.

Whether you are an advocate for full inclusion or are in opposition, the one thing that stands true for special education students is the type of services they will receive. More specifically the types of accommodations received in school. Many are in total support of providing accommodations towards children in special education. As always, there are many who are opposed to accommodations, believing that they are enabling special education students and are denying the opportunity to achieve greater independence. So what exactly is an accommodation? According to Evans (2008) an accommodation is, “an adjustment to an activity or setting that removes a barrier presented by a disability so a person can have access equal to that of a person without disability” (p. 317). Even with this definition of accommodation, there is still a great deal of confusion. This is the case because many times these accommodations help students out, but other times these accommodations seem to give an unfair advantage or make work too easy for the student (p. 317). Those in opposition of full inclusion believe that if an accommodation were to be made, then it must be available to the entire class. This will result in the pace slowing and narrowing (Scheuerman, 2013).

I personally feel that full inclusion is not the ideal solution for providing students with disabilities the attention and services they require. I believe this because of the growing number of students classified as special education – that there is not enough time or space to ensure quality learning for each and every student. These separate classrooms can provide the necessary accommodations without limiting the entire mainstream class. Likewise, I feel that accommodations are vital for the success of special education students. I believe that great thought and planning must be done prior to any accommodations that will be made ensuring that we as educators are removing barriers for the student’s success, rather than making work easier to complete. Overall, I feel that there is no simple answer or solution pertaining towards the needs of students with disabilities. We must do things in the best interest of special education students, as well as keep in mind the best interest of the rest of the general population too.

 

Evans, D. L. (2008) Taking Sides: Clashing Views of Controversial Issues in Teaching and Educational Practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 10). EDU 6989 Course Lecture – Session 3: Special education and exceptionalities.

 

EDU 6989: Character Education

I believe that character education is essential in school curriculum today. I believe this because I feel that our youth or newer generations have major character issues. There is a possibility that I am oblivious to what students are facing and have faced in schools. Assuming that this is not the case, I feel that there are substantial issues of respect, violence, sex, and drugs in our school systems today that we did not see as prevalent in the past. Society in general faces more issues of crime, domestic violence, and high-risk behaviors than a generation ago (Scheuerman, 2013). I feel strongly that an emphasis on moral education could help our educational systems produce more well-rounded citizens. I am not saying that schools should adopt character programs that integrate religious aspects, though I would not be opposed to this notion. In fact, I would personally support the integration of religious values within character education. The main statement is that schools whether intentionally or not, play a part in the development of positive virtues of: respect, responsibility, wisdom, honesty, and self-discipline (Scheuerman, 2013).

Character education can go beyond the individuals through creating a community that cares about the wellbeing of others. Evans (2008) states, “a school committed to character strives to become a microcosm of a civil, caring, and just society” (p. 338). This can be achieved by helping each and every member through the formation of caring attachments to one another (p. 338). The community is not just geared towards the students but the teachers and staff members as well. Teachers and parents will create and experience a mutual respect, fairness, and cooperation in their relationships (p. 338). Most importantly, character education can lead to a school community that cares about every member as well as the school environment (e.g., courtyard, playground, or hallways)

I believe that the principle goals of education sums up what schools should be striving towards. The goal is, “to develop good people; to form civil caring, and purposeful schools; and for building a moral society to promote individual and collective excellence and overcome threat to social wellbeing” (Scheuerman, 2013). To strive towards these three goals, students will become individuals with values and virtues viewed as characteristics of well-rounded citizens. I strongly believe that schools should integrate character education as a part of their curriculum because many students are not equipped to handle the type of exposure children are facing today.

Evans, D. L. (2008) Taking Sides: Clashing Views of Controversial Issues in Teaching and Educational Practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 3). EDU 6989 Course Lecture – Session 2: Values, morals, rights, and religions.

EDU 6989: Knowledge-Centered and Leaner-Centered Curriculum

The main component of knowledge-centered curricula states that the disciplines of knowledge should be the primary determiners of what is taught. (Glatthorn, Boschee, & Whitehead, 2009). To simply put it, the curriculum model strives to provide students with the necessary tools in order to succeed. Knowledge is given to the students through the visions of the higher educated individual – the teacher. This model typically follows a traditional and/or sequential setting.

Contrary to the knowledge-centered curricula, learner-centered curriculum focuses on the individuals as well as the individual’s dreams, goals, and interests (Ellis, 2004). The foundational cornerstone of a learner-centered curriculum is of individual growth and development (Ellis, 2004). The teacher’s role is to facilitate growth by utilizing the interests and needs of the students as a guiding measure for meaningful instructions. This does not mean that a learner-centered classroom environment is a “free for all”, the classroom environment is still goal based but based upon the interest of the individual students.

Ellis (2004) sums up the key components of knowledge and learner-centered curriculum through the chart listed below.

Chart 1

With definitions of knowledge-centered and leaner-centered curriculum identified, one may choose to take a look at their own philosophical classroom approach. The philosophy one has will drive their behavior; this is especially the case when it comes down to teaching styles. The teacher’s view of learning, students’ roles, and their own roles can determine which method is being used to teach. Simply looking at the types of activities created, layout of the class, how students learn with you, and how one prepares for class influences one’s own pedagogical approach (Teacher Vision, n.d.).

I believe that it is very important to know and understand both methods of knowledge and learner-centered curriculum. Furthermore, I believe that a teacher must possess the skills of knowledge through the emphasis of subject matter from academic disciplines as well as focusing on the individual. Having too narrow of a curriculum can inhibit student and at times teacher interest and creativity (Scheuerman, 2013)

 

Ellis, A. (2004). Exemplars of curriculum theory. Larchmont: NY, Eye on Education.

Glatthorn, A.A., Boschee, F., & Whitehead, B.M. (2009). Curriculum Leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. Thousand Oaks: CA, Sage Publications.

Scheuerman, R. (2013, March 27). EDU 6989 Course Lecture – Session 1: Curriculum and Instruction, school governance & professional associations/unions.

Teacher Vision. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/teaching-methods-and-management/curriculum-planning/4786.html