Sunday, November 20, 2011

Citizenship in School- Kliewer

This article talks about the effects of the segregation of students with Down Syndrome in schools, and what classes are missing out on when this segregation occurs.I thought this article brought up a lot of points that I had never thought about. I guess that before reading this I didn't exactly see a problem with students with Down Syndrome being taught in a different class because I thought they needed special attention. This article made me think about how that effects these students emotionally and how it restricts their improvement. I began to relate this to the last article we read which talked about how schools that cater to specific social classes teach those students how to stay in their class and not excel. Special needs classes do just that. These classes do not give the students resources for a life in which they interact with other non disabled people. They teach the students that they are less valued and should be separated from the world around them.

 I thought the stories told in this article were very inspiring. They showed that not only does this segregation shortchange the students with disabilities, but also the non disabled students.  The stories show how the non disabled students learn so much from the disabled students in their class. New ways to see the world and different ways to relate to people and their environment. I especially liked the story about Isaac who taught the class that you can dance to books. This was his unique way of interpreting and relating to literature and the whole class received a new and fun way to learn that they never would have imagined without him in the class.

Ultimately, I believe a classroom should imitate the real world in order for the students to develop strategies to deal with everyday occurrences.  If disabled students are separated, this prepares the disabled students for a life of isolation and a sense of being less valued in their community and the non disabled students develop limited resources for interacting with people different from themselves.  They may grow up thinking they are above those who are disabled or that they do not have anything to gain from interacting with them.

This article really opened my eyes and after reading this I believe that every teacher should have resources for educating disabled students.

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