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E801: Action 2.4: Reid & Valle (2004)

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E801: Action 2.4: Reid & Valle (2004)

the mostly white middle class teaching force operates on assumptions embodied in our discursive practices about what constitutes knowledge, the purpose of schooling, and appropriate curriculum (Losen & Orfield, 2002)

Currently the focus is on remediating individual impairments rather than redesigning the context.

The teacher sets and assesses tasks depending on expected 'normal' responses. Children consistently performing outside those norms are analysed, individualised and pathalogised as different.

Testing the children justifies the reasons for their failure and exclusion. This exclusion from the learning environment removes the child from the community in which is so important for him/her to gain their learning and thus reinforces the difference from the norm. This will be more pronounced in children whose primary (home) environment is substantially different from the school environment.

If the child's primary linguistic discourse is different from the one at school, teachers may question a child's linguistic competence and use tests to diagnose disability. These tests are based on standard English and so those with a different primary discourse are likely to do poorly.

Educational settings and legal regulations are set to maintain the situation of the power elite and the majority of white, middle class parents are happy to support a system that will give the educational and economic advantage to their child.

Differentiated instruction - e.g. present text at various reading levels

Compensatory instruction - e.g. watch film rather than read whole book

Instructional compensation e.g. design for norm and adapt for others

My views

The paper presents ideas for fully inclusive education without the need for special needs categories. The suggestions reflect the ideas suggested by the universal design for learning movement that was previously so commonly discussed in e-learning discussions. Nowadays they have been supplanted by more of a discussion on flexible design.

Having made such a fuss about the social environment, Reid & Valle conveniently forget it when they discuss how to implement their ideas for inclusion. What about the family backgrounds of these children? Cultural influences? It is all very well getting the children to discuss their backgrounds and life experiences but many may be unwilling to do so due to family prohibitions or culture. Inclusion does not equal a safe environment and bullying will still occur. It will not be safe for children to discuss life experiences in front of bullies and they may not consider it safe for them to reveal their problems by accessing the variations in curricular design. How do we create this safe environment when they go out of school to exist in other environments which may demand they protect their identity by attacking the identities of classmates?


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Neil Anderson, Saturday, 1 Jan 2011, 20:39)
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H810: Week 13 : Activity 26.3

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Week 13: Activity 26.3: Universal Design

Universal Design of Instruction (Burgstahler, undated)

'The field of universal design can provide a starting point for developing an appropriate teaching model.'

I like this - universal design is a great start but we have to go on from here to help individual students access the curriculum

I like the fact it is proactive and disabled students are not left 'playing catch-up' in order to try to keep up with rest of the students

Flexibility is key in my opinion. There are too many contrasting needs to make a truly universal design. For example the blind student who assessed my resource would have liked black print on a white background whilst the student with dyslexia preferred the blue on white. Buttons on the site to change colour, font etc. really enable designers to come close to universal design.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines - Version 1.0 (CAST, 2007)

UDL has three primary principles that provide the structure for these Guidelines:

  • Principle I: Provide Multiple Means of Representation (the "what" of learning). Students differ in the ways they perceive and comprehend the information presented to them.

    I am currently working with a student who has a severe visual impairment. She lost most of her sight at the age of 16 years by which time she had already discovered that her preferred learning style was visual. She still has enough sight to revise by drawing out large diagrams but it is not easy for her.
  • Principle II: Provide Multiple Means of Expression (the "how" of learning). Students differ in the ways they are able to navigate a learning environment and express what they know.

    I have experienced the following adjustments in the universities where I work: allowing speech impaired people to plan and design PowerPoint presentations using the inbuilt speech features; allowing a student with ME to verbally present the information rather than spend all evening writing a report on a field course;
  • Principle III: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement (the "why" of learning). Students differ markedly in the ways they can be engaged or motivated to learn.

    One third year module at Keele University is Inspirational Landscapes in Geography. Assessment is 20% test and 80% project. Previous student projects have included:
    • Impact of the Malvern Hills on Elgar's music
    • Video diary of a walk in Wordsworth's footsteps
    • Photomontage of the experience of Dovedale
    • Influences of Indian landscape on fashion design
    • Johnny Depp: face, costume and landscape
    • Landscapes of Lord of The Rings
    • Thomas Hardy and the "Wessex" landscape
    • Landscape design for computer games

The module sounds fascinating and I know several students who really enjoyed it. http://www.esci.keele.ac.uk/people/pgk/geg-30014/handbook.html




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