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  1. 1. DSIB 1DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS Diversity Statement of Informed Beliefs Kristi Young LueLinda Egbert, PhD EDUC 204 Families, Community, and Culture Online Spring 2011
  2. 2. DSIB 2 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS I am a special education major. I was excited to write an essay entitled “diversitystatement of informed beliefs” and including such subtitles as “all students can learn” and“curriculum for all learners” purely for the opportunity to explore how these things applynot only to general education students but also the special education population as well. Itis my goal in this paper to present my informed beliefs about education and how theyspecifically apply to special education.Students Can Learn As a special ed teacher it is my job to tailor my lessons to my students. The goalof special education is to empower each student to contribute to society to the best oftheir ability. We as special educators battle against negative handicapism which areassumptions and practices that promote the differential treatment of people because theyare differently abled and strive to empower our students to advocate for themselves.(Berns 209) Using an IEP we can target specific goals for each student based on theirspecific needs. An IEP is and individualized education plan; a form of communicationbetween school and family, developed by team of people who serve each student. (Berns211) All students can learn something but that “something” might not be what thegeneral population would expect or value. An interesting idea to chew on is thedevelopmental appropriateness of all of the requirements set upon the exceptionalpopulation by the No Child Left Behind Act. (Burns 148) The standards set by this actsimply are not realistic for many students who receive special education services. Thestandardized testing which is supposed to measure progress really does not measure theprogress made by these students. They may fail the tests that their peers take but have just
  3. 3. DSIB 3 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFSlearned to wipe off tables in preparation for a job at a restaurant. The act of wiping off atable requires skills which include but are not limited to self control, attention to detail,and fine motor. That is a big achievement for the student but is lost on a set ofgovernment regulations which dictates how a person should be able to contribute tosociety.Teacher Expectations As a teacher it can be easy to see a student who struggles and set too low of a barfor a student. Education and goals need to be realistic but not too short sighted. One ofthe reasons that the exceptional population is not schooled separately or shut away ininstitutions is that these students can achieve a lot more than people would think and youreally don’t know how far they will go until you set those expectations and give them aboost. Children learn from what they see and these students are no different. Should I expect them to take on traits from the general population which allowsthem to better adapt? Yes! This is why inclusion is so important. (Burns 211) Considerplease Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. This is a term for what a learner cando independently and what they can do while participating with more capable others.(Burns 493) Acts of apprenticeship are not only beneficial to the general population butvital to the exceptional population. (Burns 283) Mimicry and apprenticeship are usedoften and successfully in early childhood stages where many individuals withdevelopmental differences operate from. An accurate assessment of a child is an invaluable tool but the practice of labelingis not helpful and can be very harmful. As teachers we must be careful not to let astudent’s diagnosis set our expectations of them. Doing so would be called discrimination
  4. 4. DSIB 4 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFSand it isn’t good for anyone. We can use the opportunities of having an exceptional childin the classroom for modeling. If we model the behavior we want to see we can promotegrowth on all parts and that is when you will truly see a child’s full potential. (Burns 61)Students’ Social Ecology Theory If students learn from what they see then the next question I tend to think of is“what do students see?” Students see their families. Students see their role models.Students see their peers and students see the world around them. The students’ family,communities, and peers, all play an important role and within those there is a uniquemacro-system for each child. (Burns 23-24) Family and community often enable learned helplessness in the exceptionalpopulation. They [family and community] are your biggest assets and have given you abase from which to work from but they can also set limits either intentionally orunintentionally on how much you can do with a child. Learning where a child comesfrom is vital to understand where they are going and how to better serve them.Cultural Diversity Instruction In order to promote a conducive learning environment we must encourage amelting pot in our classrooms. (Burns 203) In order to facilitate our melting pots we needto learn about and respect each unique culture keeping in mind that our students willreturn from where they came. We can’t just take a student and think that their culture isonly skin deep so let’s accept them. This is who they are and understanding the fabricfrom what a person is made of will help you to better empower your student regardless ofwhether they are a part of the general or exceptional population.
  5. 5. DSIB 5 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS Taking into account that we as educators are important part of our students’“fabric” and that we have the power to shape them as much as any macrosystem it isimportant to practice cultural pluralism. (Burns 203) Regardless of our own beliefs wecan’t change what has been taught at home or how a parent chooses to raise their child(with the exception of intervention for really bad homes). If we are tolerant, the childrenwill also be tolerant and they will be more open and willing to learn not only academiclessons but also social lessons as well.Curriculum For All Learners Piaget stressed the importance of learning based on current knowledge andassessing where a child is coming from. (Burns 279) As teachers we can take this and useit to asses and evaluate each student individually. In special education we take all sorts oftests and assessments and roll them into and IEP which really isn’t too different from anddefinitely utilizes some form of developmental interaction curriculum. (Burns 181)Taking these tools and an individualized goal structure you can help each childindividually. (Burns 260) As previously stated it isn’t productive many times to hold thispopulation to standards that compare them to others. In the long run we want them toassimilate and be accepted into society but that’s why it’s called special education;assimilation from square one isn’t the route to take to achieve these long term goals. You can’t teach a three month old how to add or subtract. You might be able toteach a twelve year old student who operates on a three month old level how to pushbuttons for cause and effect which in turn could turn into differentiation and eventuallycommunication. For some it may never be attained. If the student leaves your classroomwith even a little bit more progress than they showed previous knowledge of when they
  6. 6. DSIB 6 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFScame then you have done your part in helping that student toward contributing to societyto the best of their ability. It is vital that teachers of all levels be open and willing to cooperate with eachother. Mainstreaming is common and there are lessons to be learned from all sides. If Iunderstand how a general education student learns and develops then I will gain greaterinsight into the differences that my students hold. If a general education teacherunderstands and accepts limitations without sacrificing expectations then they can betterserve as a valuable part of an exceptional student’s team if and when they are given theopportunity.
  7. 7. DSIB 7 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFSWorks CitedBerns, Roberta. Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization and Support. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
  8. 8. DSIB 8 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS EDUC 204 Families, Communities, and Culture Diversity Statement of Informed Beliefs Scoring RubricName: ___Kristi Young_____________Course: EDUC 204 Section: __C02W___ Year: __spring 2011_Instructor: _Dr. Egbert___________ICTS 3: The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learningand creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to students with diverse needs. Indicators Score Indicator Not Indicator Indicator At Met Acceptable Target (0 Points) (2 Points) (4 Points)Acknowledges his or Displays no Displays adequate The acknowledgementher responsibility to evidence of understanding of of his or herensure that all students acknowledging a the teachers’ responsibility to ensurelearn. responsibility for all responsibility for that all students learn students’ learning. ensuring that all is fully and clearly students learn. addressed and supported by convincing evidence.Recognizes that teacher Displays no Recognition that Displays recognitionexpectations influence evidence of teacher expectation that teacherstudent learning. understanding that influence student expectations influence teacher expectation learning is student learning fully influence student adequately and clearly and is learning. addressed. supported by convincing evidence.Understands the Displays no Displays adequate Displays clear andimportance of using evidence of evidence of compelling evidence ofinformation about understanding the understanding the understanding thestudents’ families, importance of using importance of using importance of usingcultures, and information about information about information aboutcommunities as a basis students’ families, student’s families, students’ families,for connecting cultures, and cultures, and cultures, andinstruction. communities as a communities as a communities as a basis basis for connecting basis for connecting for connecting instruction. instruction. instruction.Recognizes the Displays no Displays adequate Displays clear andimportance of evidence of evidence of convincing evidence ofstudents’ experiences recognizing the recognizing the recognizing theto foster diversity. importance of using importance of using importance of using students’ students’ students’ experiences experiences in experiences in in teaching and teaching and teaching and learning. learning. learning.Acknowledges Displays no Displays adequate Displays thorough andadjustment in planning, evidence of evidence of compelling evidence ofdelivery, and acknowledging understanding the all three: planning,assessment. planning, delivery, importance of using delivery, and and assessment. effective planning, assessment. delivery, and
  9. 9. DSIB 9 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS assessment.Throughout the essay Displays no Displays adequate Displays compellingstudent explains and examples to examples of how examples, whichgives examples of how illustrate the teacher can thorough explain ideasto ensure that all information influence learning. mentioned within thestudents can learn. mentioned. essay. Points for /24 0 –16 17 – 22 21 – 24 GradingRating of Standard Not Standard Standard At TargetStandard /2 Met Acceptable 2 ICTS 3 0 1
  10. 10. DSIB 10 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFSICTS 9: The teacher uses alternative theoretical perspectives and research to guideinstructional decision-making and reflection on practice. Indicators Score Indicator Not Met Indicator Indicator at (0 Points) Acceptable Target (2 Point) (4 Points)Integrates learning Does not interpret Displays evidence of Interprets andtheories presented in textbook information textbook thoroughlyclass discussion and and class discussion, information, class describes textbookreadings and and/or apply theories discussion, and information, classincorporates student of human human development discussion, anddevelopment and development. using 15 terms and human developmentlearning abilities. two theorists, which through the are bold and integration of two underlined. theoretical perspectives. Total /4 0-2 3 4 Rating of /2 Standard Not Met Standard Standard at Target Standard 0 Acceptable 2 ICTS 9 1ICTS 6: The teacher uses a variety of communication techniques to foster inquiry, collaboration, andsupportive interaction in and beyond the classroom. Indicators Score Indicator Not Met Indicator Indicator at Target 0 points Acceptable (4 points) (2 points)Writes effectively in Writing is unclear Writing is generally Writing is especiallycommunicating ideas and difficult to clear and clear and understand. understandable. understandable; ideas are presented in a convincing manner, using cover sheet, introduction, and conclusion.Writes with clarity Writing contains Writing has a few Writing has no errors many grammar, grammar, in grammar, punctuation, word punctuation, word punctuation, word usage, and/or usage, or spelling usage, and/or spelling spelling errors. errors. errors.Follows designated Student does not use Generally follows Completely followsformat designated format. designated APA designated format format using including proper title subtitles, and subtitles indentations, and proper spacingReferences and Does not have a Student uses Citation(s) andcitations proper citation quotation and/or Reference(s) are in and/or reference summarizes APA format with no page another’s ideas with errors within paper or few errors. on Reference page. TOTAL /16 0-10 11-14 15-16 Rating of Standard Not Standard Standard at Standard Met Acceptable Target
  11. 11. DSIB 11 DIVERSITY STATEMENT OF INFORMED BELIEFS ICTS 6 0 1 2Diversity Statement of Informed Not Met Acceptable At TargetBeliefs Essays Score 0-30 31-39 40-44 Total Points for Grading: /44 ICTS 3 Standard Rating: /2 ICTS 9 Standard Rating: /2 ICTS 6 Standard Rating: /2