RELEVANCE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TO THE TEAACHER

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RELEVANCE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TO THE TEAACHER

  1. 1. UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION POST-DIPLOMA IN BASIC EDUCATION (SANDWICH) CLASS ASSIGNMENT BY GHADAFI, ABACHENG 4119030267
  2. 2. What is the relevance of special education to the teacher? Hallahan and Kauffman (1987), said that special education is specially designed education which meets the unique needs of an exceptional child. These authors argued that meeting the unique needs of children involves the use of special material, teaching techniques, equipment and other facilities critical to survive. It is an enriched form of general education that seeks to improve the overall status of exceptional children and adults (UNESCO 1983). Also, Smith (1993) defined special education as a set of instructions that is individually tailored to meet the unique needs of a child with exceptionality, taking into account the child’s individual learning strength, and weakness rather than following one set curriculum as regular education does. The relevance of special education to the teacher can be viewed from the following perspectives:  Special education will help teachers to appreciate the importance of individual differences, knowing that all learners do not develop at the same level and are not likely to learn the same things at the same time. This will help to underscore individual strength and weakness. When that is established teachers can then learn to teach towards the differential learning of all children. Even though Piaget said
  3. 3. that all children go through the same form of sequential observation about their world and make similar mistakes, the teacher should be careful in using the models of Piaget to interpret the learning styles of children with intellectual difficulties because such children do not consistently follow Piaget’s model owing to organic problems, cognitive difficulties or delayed development. Dockrell and McShane (1992) said that children’s task are properly analysed, teachers would be able to determine the cognitive demands task have on children and so be able to establish exactly where to meet the child. Their explanation of learning difficulties revolve around the task, the child and environment, and the complex interchange among these is a way of understanding how children learn. Many regulator teachers are not aware of these complexities.  Teachers will understand that some children have vision but canot read, a phenomenon called word blindness, while some children will have difficulties with specific school subject not because they are lazy but their problem is a result of intrinsic or inherent problems. Special education improves and develops a variety of teaching methodologies, equips the teacher with the capacity to procure and use a wide range of teaching and learning materials that can be adapted to suit learning needs of every individual.  Teachers will be able to educate parents on how to manage special children; parents of special children should be able to bring their children to be educated; parents should no longer be haunted by the feeling of stigmatization. Parents and teachers will become more aware of the causes and prevention of disabilities. The rationalisation that disabilities are caused by the gods will no longer influence their
  4. 4. thinking and this could be a solid basis for creating awareness within communities as opinion leaders.  Knowledge of special education will also equip the teacher with the know-how to identify disabilities early enough for effective management processes. Children with specific disabilities will be identified and educational provision made for them, since it is anticipated that the regular classroom teacher would become familiar with characteristics and signs of disabilities.  The ill-informed and negative impression about special education and special teachers will change, once regular teachers become aware that special education is not exclusively for persons with obvious disabilities. Teachers will become aware of their children’s disabilities as well as their own disabilities. They will realized that special education cuts across all subjects, and that where their subjects end is precisely where special education begins.  It is a UNESCO requirement that every teacher should study special need education to get acquainted with the characteristics, needs and capabilities of children with exceptionalities. Through special education, more children with disabilities will be accepted in schools and teachers will understand that certain disabilities such as epilepsy are not contagious and this is likely to form a solid base for inclusive classroom ultimately leading to an inclusive society.  Knowledge in special education will expose the teacher to scientific causes of disabilities. Teachers will be aware of the complexities involved in knocking pupils on the head in class or hitting their head since that can result in disabilities.
  5. 5.  Teachers will be able to understand the learning difficulties and problems of children. They will also have an insight into the psychology of disabilities. Based on insight into children’s difficulties appropriate referral will be made and thereby the will be helping to save the lives of many children who otherwise are at risk for disability.  Teachers will develop a better understanding of their own successes, failures and struggles during their school period and use this understanding of learning problems to prevent other children from going through such traumatic and lonely experiences while they are under their care. Clearly, special education has a lot of relevance for the teacher and it is therefore important for all teachers to be exposed to rudiments in special education so as to become effective in their teaching, understanding the needs of all pupils and help children who will be at risk for disabilities and failure in school.
  6. 6. Reference Avoke, M (2008) Introduction to Special Education for Universities and Colleges, Accra: City Publishers. Ocloo M.A, D.B.M &Boison (2001) Comprehensive Study Notes on Special Education. Department of Special Education, Winneba.

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