Students in need of special education are important part of teachers work. This time we were asked to discuss all of the following questions with our own small group. We had lively recorded discussion with Elisangela and Satu. After discussion, we got a link to another discussion about same issues by experts. In generally speaking this task was really good and I really liked to watch the discussion of expert and hear them opinions. From time to time during this program I have been missing an exprerts view on some issues at hand.
In this post, I will cover key findings of both discussions.
Link to the expert´s discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDAIkoOb2jQ
These questions were asked to cover:
- As a vocational teacher , how can you support a student with special needs?
- What does the concept of inclusion mean in practise?
What does the concept of accessibility mean in an educational context?
- What do the student welfare services mean in vocational schools and in higher education?
First of all, it is good to understand that you don’t have to be a teacher of special education before you need skills of special education. We discussed about this with our group. It was a bit hard to draw a line between student of special needs and a good teaching. It is part of teachers work to help students and modify teaching methods and task in order to helps students to learn. Question is what is actually a definition of special needs, is it based on official diagnosis or does the student need special education if student has difficulties in private life which causes problems for studying. Experts were even talking that every single human is in need of special need education in some moment of life. I think suitable conclusion is that all teacher needs to be aware of special education pedagogy and ready to help and teach students of special needs.
Experts discussed about recognition of special needs student. We did not cover that aspect much for some reason, somehow we thought that need of special education is really visible and easy to notice. But that is not case. It is important to get good connection with student and make everyday questions like how are you. And if you notice some changes in student’s answers or behaviors, it may be a signal that something might be wrongs. But as experts mentioned it is not always possible to recognize at all a student who would need extra attention.
Inclusion means that people who are different are accepted as members of the community with the capacity to contribute as well as to receive. This is closely linked to concept of accessibility in an educational context. Accessibility refers to the fact that the learner’s classroom, common areas, and transportation to and from these areas as well as to and from the school are designed in such a way that they are easily accessible to all students. According to experts, also personal study plan is in close relationship with accessibility as it makes it possible to modify students different needs of studies.
One key a finding of our own discussion was s technology. It provides many possibilities to the students of special needs in so many ways. If you have hearing problems, you need to hear issues slower pace, there is solutions available. Experts were discussion this under the topic what is a pedagogically accessible learning environment.
Last issue we covered in both discussions was about students welfare services. In vocational education it is based on law that educator provider must organaze students welfare services as well. Student welfare promotes learning, physical and psychological health as well as social well-being. The services generally comprise school health care and support by the school social worker and psychologist.