Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christopher Kliewer's "Citizenship in school: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrom"

             "In Dewey's tradition, Douglas Biklen (1985, 1992, 1993) has also described schools as potential locations of community connectedness. He and fellow educators have substantiated this vision with detailed accounts of actual educational arenas where all students are welcomed, no voice is silenced, and children come to realize their own self-worth through the unconditional acceptance of one another." (pg. 74).

     In this chapter, Christopher goes into great detail about a certain student with Down Syndrome's experience at Shoshone school which is run by parents and they do not have tracking, as discussed in Oakes's piece. The student's name is Isaac and all of the other kids like him and seem to learn things from him even though it is really hard to understand what he is saying. I think that kind of environment would help Isaac learn a lot more than being in special education classrooms where he is forced to learn certain things and is cut off from more capable students. It will also help the other children know how to accept those that are different from them and teach those around them as they grow up not to discriminate against special needs kids.

          "children are not mere receptacles of knowledge transmitted to them by teachers, nor do they go through biologically determined sets of stages that must emerge in linear fashion prior to acquisition of increasingly complex understanding." (pg. 82).

    I completely agree with Kliewer's point that it does not make sense to call any one person "intellectually defective" when every child's mind is different and it is completely normal for there to be all sorts of levels of learning. Who are we to determine that special needs kids are at the very bottom intellectually? I really enjoyed this video and I wanted to share the message it is trying to get across.

         " I don't tend to see Down Syndrome as something. If you look at those three kids running around the room, they're incredibly different from each other. They're different in terms of what their bodies are like, how they best communicate, what they're like socially, their interests. And with those three kids in the room it would be hard to say, 'This is how you should teach kids with Down Syndrome.'  They are not all alike." (pg. 85-86).

     My cousin actually has Down Syndrome so I have felt a big connection to this chapter of Kliewer's book. I never really looked at my cousin and see her as a girl with Down Syndrome, I look at her as someone who is just learning things at her own pace. When those teaching her use patience she starts to get better with reading, writing and speaking. Although it has been a slow improvement I can still see it and that should be all that matters. She is still a great person who teaches me things all the time so I wish that more classrooms could be mixed up with all types of children like in the woman Shayne's class. I believe that it could allow students to learn even more than they would being split up from children with special needs.

1 comment:

  1. I love all the quotes you chose, especially the last one and how you connected it to your cousin! It's really great to hear that she is learning and also that you are learning from her. I agree that children with special needs should be integrated into the same classrooms as everyone else.