Bridges Instead of Boundaries: Pedagogy Meets Disability

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This is the visual component of my presentation at Ivy Tech's 2011 Adjunct Faculty Conference. I was encourage by one campus' Executive Director to research mental health resources in the six …

This is the visual component of my presentation at Ivy Tech's 2011 Adjunct Faculty Conference. I was encourage by one campus' Executive Director to research mental health resources in the six counties of Ivy Tech's Kokomo Region. This presentation was inspire by that initial exploration.

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  • 1. BridgesInstead of Boundaries:
    Pedagogy Meets Disability
  • 2. Contexts of Disability
    Educational
  • 3. KEY TERMS
    Disability
  • 4. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
  • 5. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
  • 6. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
    Disclosure
  • 7. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
    Disclosure
    Inclusion
  • 8. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
    Disclosure
    Inclusion
    The Rehabilitation Act (1973) – Section 504
  • 9. KEY TERMS
    Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
    Disclosure
    Inclusion
    The Rehabilitation Act (1973) – Section 504
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
  • 10. DISABILITY
    “The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
    SOURCE: United States Code of Federal Regulations (42 U.S.C. 423)
  • 11. What on Earth does that mean?
  • 12. Myths about Disability
    Please see “Dispelling Myths about People with Disabilities” in the packet you will receive after this presentation. For now…
  • 13. 2 More Myths about Disability
  • 14. 2 More Myths about Disability
    Myth #1
    An individual with a disability has a “people.” They identify with other individuals who have the same disability. They also identify more easily with other disabled people than those who are not disabled.
  • 15. 2 More Myths about Disability
    Myth #1
    An individual with a disability has a “people.”
    FACT: Each individual experiences disability differently. Disabled people value family, role models, friends, educators, and community leaders exactly the same way as someone who is not disabled.
  • 16. 2 More Myths about Disability
    Myth #2
    A disabled student has “educational boundaries.”
  • 17. 2 More Myths about Disability
    Myth #2
    A disabled student has “educational boundaries.”
    FACT: All people learn in different ways, and employ different learning styles. A disability may prevent the employment of some learning styles. However, it is just as likely that a disabled student has found alternative learning styles, and is, as a result, more cognizant of her/his unique learning process!
  • 18. When these myths are confronted…
    Disability begins to sound more like…
  • 19. When these myths are confronted…
    Disability begins to sound more like…
    Difference!
  • 20. Other kinds of difference
  • 21. Other kinds of difference
    Race
  • 22. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
  • 23. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
  • 24. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
  • 25. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Ethnicity
  • 26. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Ethnicity
    Nationality and Citizenship
  • 27. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Ethnicity
    Nationality and Citizenship
    Age
  • 28. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Ethnicity
    Nationality and Citizenship
    Age
    Economic Class
  • 29. Other kinds of difference
    Race
    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Ethnicity
    Nationality and Citizenship
    Age
    Economic Class
    Educational Background
  • 30. If we perceive disability as difference, the idea of having disabled students in our classrooms should seem a lot less daunting!
  • 31. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
  • 32. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    A realization…
  • 33. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Realization…
    The skills students bring to the classroom are not solely the result of previous education. They are also formed from life experiencesthat are entirely unique to them as individuals!
  • 34. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Enrichment…
  • 35. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Enrichment…
    Disability is notinability!Rather, under the right circumstances it can be the development of different abilities -- through compensation, ingenuity, and the self-conscious process of acquiring new learning skills.
  • 36. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Improvement…
  • 37. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Improvement…
    A classroom in which the “myths” are dispelled is an environment of acceptance – that is, inclusion. The door opens for the professor to become engaged with each student’s overall education, not just her/his capacity to do well in that class.
  • 38. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Safety…
  • 39. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Safety…
    When differences like disability are met with acceptance, students who are in need of accommodations (adjustments to assignments, tests, and classroom environment) may feel more confident and less stigmatized when contacting the campus’ Office of Disability Support Services.
  • 40. What do we losewhen we buy into the “myths” about Disability?
    Safety…
    In this environment of inclusion, a student with a mental health issue or other problem is more likely to turn to the professor for contact information, including
    Addiction Treatment Centers
    Counselors/Therapists
    Abuse Intervention Programs
    Suicide Prevention Services
  • 41. KEY TERMS
    • Disability
    Accommodation
    Compliance
    Disclosure
    Inclusion
    The Rehabilitation Act (1973) – Section 504
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
  • 42. Definitions
    Disability
  • 43. Definitions
    Disability
    Like such factors as race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, disability is best described simply as difference. It should never be confused with “inability.” Disability is part of a student’s background, allowing for the development of unique life and self-conscious learning skills.
  • 44. Definitions
    Inclusion
  • 45. Definitions
    Inclusion
    Inclusion is essential for a safe, trusting environment. It maximizes student-professor and student-student communication. It creates a classroom that allows but does not coerce disclosure of personal background. It allows disability (and other factors such as race, gender, beliefs, and background) to become a vital part of both teaching and self-conscious learning. Inclusion recognizes difference as a bridge instead of a boundary.
  • 46. Disclosure, Accommodations, and Compliance
    Disclosure
  • 47. Disclosure, Accommodations, and Compliance
    Disclosure
    Communicating that you (as in the student or instructor) has a disability. It does not necessarily mean you are communicating the nature of that disability (diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, prognosis).
  • 48. Disclosure, Accommodations, and Compliance
    Accommodations
  • 49. Disclosure, Accommodations, and Compliance
    Accommodations
    Alterations to the delivery, review, or testing of course material. Accommodations do not change the course material, only how it is disseminated. Accommodations are given to the professor, in a general form, by the Disability Support Services (DSS) Coordinator. The task of the professor is to make accommodations relevant and concrete with regard to the course material. Accommodations do not give advantage to a disabled student. It enables them to have the same learning opportunities as the other students in the class.
  • 50. Disclosure, Accommodations, and Compliance
    Compliance
    The professor’s task when working with a disabled student. By being “in compliance,” the professor is working in accordance with college policy and procedures, as well as state and federal laws, that deal with disability.
  • 51. So…what are these laws?
  • 52. So…what are these laws?
    The Rehabilitation Act (1973)
    Section 504: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
    IVY TECH PROFESSORS ARE
    DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE!
  • 53. So…what are these laws?
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
    Title II: Prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local (such as school district, municipal, city, county) and state level.
    Title III: Requires that “practicable accommodations,” in the form of physical alterations to all private and public buildings and areas, be made to allow access by the physically disabled.
  • 54. So…what are these laws?
    Again…
    IVY TECH PROFESSORS ARE
    DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE!
    What’s more…
    These two laws (RA and ADA) work in tandem with one another – they are enforced equally, and they in no way cancel out one another under any circumstances.
  • 55. How do these things apply to my classroom?
  • 56. How do these things apply to my classroom?
    Disability is built into our language in pervasive ways.
  • 57. How do these things apply to my classroom?
    Disability is built into our language in pervasive ways.
    Disclosure is often an eventuality when professors are seen as caring, attentive, and engaged in the student’s long term goals.
  • 58. How do these things apply to my classroom?
    Disability is built into our language in pervasive ways.
    Disclosure is often an eventuality when professors are seen as caring, attentive, and engaged in the student’s long term goals.
    The number of disability disclosures in classrooms – particularly for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Learning Disabilities (such as ADD), and Psychological Disorders appear to be on the rise.
  • 59. How do these things apply to my classroom?
    AS A PROFESSOR,
    YOU WILL OFTEN FIND
    YOU
    ARE THE “FIRST CONTACT”
    FOR STUDENT DISABILITY DISCLOSURE…
    NOT DSS!
  • 60. The Language of Disability
    When speaking about a diagnosed disability, student will say things like…
    “I have a disability.”
    “I have a learning disability.”
    “I am collecting disability.”
    “I’m trying to get disability.”
    “I have a problem/some issues.”
    “I have a ‘health problem’.”
    “I have some psychological issues.”
    “I have a mental health issue.”
    “I need ‘help’.”
    “I have anxiety” (as opposed to “I’m worried” or “I’m frustrated” or “I’m panicking”).
    “I’m Learning Disabled/LD.”
  • 61. The Language of Disability
    When speaking about a learning block, challenge, or difficulty (not necessarily a diagnosed disability), students will say things like…
    “I’m kind of/a little ‘ADD’ today”
    “I’m really ‘OCD’ about this”
    “That gave me a panic attack”
    “I’m a little LD today”
  • 62. The Language of Disability
    Ways in which words related to “Disability” are used pervasively and disparagingly in our culture…
    “You’re/That’s retarded.”
    “Did you take the little bus to school?”
    “That’s/You’re special, like little bus special.”
    “You’re crazy”
    “You’re unbalanced.”
    “You need help/Get help.”
  • 63. What do we lose when we buy into myths and assumptions?
     1) The skills students bring to the classroom are not solely the result of previous education. They are also formed by life experience that is entirely unique to them as individuals.
    2) Disability is not just about accommodation, but the development of different abilities by the student necessary to overcome the disability.
    3) The necessary disclosure of a disability can only happen in an environment of acceptance, in which the professor recognizes and is engaged in the student’s overall education, not just her/his capacity to do well in the professor’s class.
    4) A classroom environment that is accepting of difference requires a deeper level of accountability from both professors and students.
    5) While disabilities disclosed to a professor cannot, under any circumstance, be revealed to other students by the professor, the disclosure of a professor’s disability can enable deeper avenues of communication, engender trusting relationships, and open the door for the modeling of alternative learning methods.
    6) When a disability, especially an untreated mental health problem, is disclosed to a professor, contact information about mental health treatment facilities, made available to the student, could save a college career, a close relationship, even a life!
  • 64. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
    A professor is a model to the student – a model of a teacher and a learner. The deeper the disclosure on the part of the professor, the better able her/his students are able to see how s/he went through the education process!
    Perhaps “differently-abled,” despite the ambivalence it’s been met with by many communities of disabled, most neutral, most descriptive, most inclusive way of thinking about disability.
    As a professor, I find the disclosure of my Tourettes to my students is a humanizing factor. The ground is more even. When I invite questions of any kind, communication becomes more relaxed, curiosity is peaked, and an environment of acceptance (inclusion), trust, and even humor immediately becomes possible.
  • 65. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
    Ivy Tech’s ADA STATEMENT (for Syllabi):
    “Ivy Tech Community College seeks to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with documented disabilities. If you need an accommodation because of a documented disability, please contact the Office of Disability Support Services. If you will require assistance during an emergency evacuation, notify your instructor immediately. Look for evacuation procedures posted in your classroom.”
  • 66. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
    My Additional Note on Disability (in Syllabi):
    “As a disabled employee of the College (I have Tourette Syndrome), I am very open to discussing disability issues with you and working with you to help resolve such issues. However, under federal law, you are NOT required to disclose the nature of your disability to me, under any circumstances! It is very important that you know your rights under the Rehabilitation and Americans with Disabilities Acts, and I am more than happy to direct you to the appropriate resources.”