Education enables students identify and use their talents to make their lives better. In addition, it shapes their perceptions and beliefs regarding various issues of concern in their lives. However, people have various degrees of integrating their class work into meaningful activities.
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This may be caused by nature in individuals born with slow learning abilities and may also be caused by diseases that affect their minds. Regardless of the cause of mental retardation students ought to have adequate education through attending schools. This is a critique of “Differentiation and Curriculum” article by Margaret E. King-Sears.
This article explores two learning possibilities. The first question explores the possibilities of students with learning disabilities are able to acquire knowledge through the general education system. The second question examines the impacts of differentiation as a way of promoting learning among students with learning disabilities.
Learning takes place when students have access to learning materials and techniques despite their disabilities. The value of education is based on the level of knowledge generation rather than completion of syllabus.
Margaret discusses two approaches that guide knowledge generation in learning institutions that offer their services to students with disabilities and normal ones. She presents her discussion by outlining fallacies and facts regarding generalized and differentiated education systems.
A generalized education system is one which uses one curriculum to offer education to all learners without considering whether they are disabled or not. Alternatively, a differentiated education system is one that addresses students’ needs according to their learning abilities. Margaret analyses fallacies and facts on learning abilities and efficiencies brought about by these education systems.
Disabilities and Education Curriculums
Margaret presents a general belief that students with disabilities cannot make any meaningful use of an education system. This is one of the greatest fallacies that limit learning and make parents reluctant to take their disabled children to school. This fallacy is based on the belief that since these students are disabled they cannot learn.
However, this belief is wrong and misinformed since everybody is capable of learning (King-Sears 2008). This fallacy ignores the fact that people train and educate animals to do various activities. People should know that animals do various activities through training, and so human beings too can learn various aspects and improve their lifestyles. This fallacy is retrogressive and denies students a chance to learn and develop their skills.
Education does not only focus on passing examinations but also on imparting general knowledge on various crucial issues that affect human beings. Students with learning disabilities can compete well with other students if teachers use proper approaches to teach them.
Since these students have learning disabilities teachers should use unique techniques to ensure learning takes place despite the presence of disabled students. Teachers should use objects that represent various aspects to ensure learning takes place.
In addition, they should use a technique that ensures students participate in learning without straining their abilities. This will become part of their lives, and with time they will learn to participate in outdoor activities like sports.
Thirdly, teachers should give their disabled students chances to express what they know regarding various discussions (King-Sears 2008). Through this approach, teachers will identify appropriate ways of teaching disabled students using unique approaches.
Teachers should dedicate adequate time to teach disabled students since their learning rates are extremely low. They should not only focus on teaching but the quality of education given to students. Therefore, they should use exceptional skills to identify how these students learn. Time should not be an issue in teaching these students since they have extremely low concentration spans and poor memories (King-Sears 2008).
However, this article fails to identify the need to train teachers to handle students with disabilities. In addition, it fails to address students who are extremely disabled like those suffering from Cerebral Palsy.
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The disability degree determines students’ abilities to learn and thus should be the main focus if there is the need to include disabled children in learning. Even though, it is necessary to include instructional focus on teaching students with disabilities this approach is tiresome and requires a lot of time.
Teachers, Students and Curriculums
This fallacy highlights the need to cover the syllabus within the stipulated time without considering the presence of learning disabilities among students. In addition, this fallacy advocates the need of blanket learning where one system is used in all learning institutions.
This fallacy proposes the need to have the teaching calendar observed without delays in the syllabus or classes. Time is a key factor that determines learning and students’ ability to know what ought to be taught in their schools.
However, this fallacy ignores the fact that specialization is a crucial element that promotes quality production. When schools and teachers specialize in offering exceptional education to disabled students there, will be room for effective learning and understanding students’ needs.
Specialization promotes efficiency and improves quality of work done (King-Sears 2008). However, this fallacy lays emphasis on quantity rather than quality of education offered to disabled students. If schools use one learning program for all students there, will be disparities in their performance.
This fallacy ignores the fact that differentiation will promote learning in a mixed institution since teachers will group students according to their learning abilities. Therefore, slow learners will be grouped together and thus their learning pace will match.
On the other hand, other healthy students will learn without setbacks brought by disabled students. Differentiation will enable teachers identify the needs of all students; therefore, attend to them without imposing a general approach to their needs.
In addition, teachers will identify problems each disabled student faces when learning and thus devise ways of controlling or eliminating them. Teachers will have adequate time to study their students and plan to handle their needs. There will be no conflicts since teachers will identify the needs of all students and plan their teaching calendars depending on their learning rates.
Differentiation will not only involve the allocation of adequate time to disabled students but also address key aspects disabled students need to know. The techniques used in teaching after differentiations will enable disabled students to participate in learning. Participatory learning is an effective way of evaluating a student’s ability to use the knowledge gained from classes in other activities (King-Sears 2008).
In addition, this will promote interactions between disabled students and their teachers and facilitate learning. Teachers can monitor the progress made by their students through differentiated learning. There will be close supervision of all activities to ensure disabled students benefit from their teachers’ efforts.
Learning is a process that not only involves class activities but also other social activities that will promote independency among students. This means that when students go to school they learn basic survival skills as well as gain knowledge to enable them contribute to social development.
Students with learning disabilities should be taken to school to gain knowledge on various issues. People should stop hiding their disabled children and instead take them to facilities that offer specialized care to them. Teachers should focus on providing quality education and not rush to finish the syllabus.
King-Sears, M. E. (2008). Facts and fallacies: differentiation and the general education curriculum for students with special educational needs. Support for Learning, 23 (2), 55-62.