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Posts Tagged ‘special needs

 
Every now and then I say, “Ah, serendipity!” because I discover something that is relevant to my learning and teaching.

A resource that was delivered to me almost a month ago was the preview list of journal articles from the British Journal of Educational Technology.

I like BJET because it has thematic releases. The March series focuses on technology for inclusive and special needs education.

The content is wide-ranging and might be slightly beyond the reach of one group of leaners I meet every year. However, I find these two articles to be particularly relevant:

The rest of the articles are listed here.

The op piece in this tweet was an impassioned call to step up our efforts in inclusive schooling and education.

I take no issue with that call because we can only be better people for it.

I did notice, however, that you could substitute every instance of “inclusive education” or “special needs education” with almost any contentious issue in schooling — say technology integration — and the op piece would still make sense. Take this segment, for example:

… we still have a long way to go in embracing inclusion technology fully.

One of the key factors for inclusive technology integration in education is adaptation. The present landscape of special needs technology integration in education in Singapore is lacking in a customisable curriculum to meet the diverse needs of children with special needs.

I did not change the last two words (special needs) in my selection because every child is special in their own way. Technology can help express their uniqueness and latent abilities.

Reading the whole article more critically, you might discover that it says everything and nothing at the same time. Everything because it covers the issues broadly; nothing because it merely skims the surface. This is why we can play the word substitution game.

Viewed more broadly, the write-up might sound like a politician’s or policymaker’s script for a speech. It is a call to action, but it is so generic that is becomes impotent.

Word substitution is my way of determine the depth of thought of the written or spoken word. If one issue in schooling or education cannot be distinguished from another with the help of word substitution, its rallying call is but a whisper.

A mother writes in the Straits Times forum about her son’s plight: Special needs boy treated differently in Sec 1 posting [Link to archived screencap]. Sadly, the different treatment is not the helpful kind.

Of course, this is only half the story. The MOE has to respond for a fuller picture to emerge.

But even without all the facts (and “facts”), one thing is clear to anyone who works within any large organisation: Administration normally trumps meritocracy, individuality, creative thinking, innovation, etc.


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