Throughout the history of education, the topic of special education has been very relevant. The subject is essential because of its philosophy of educating everyone regardless of their condition, context, or cultural status (Kauffman et al., 2018). I share the same idea in my beliefs and values about special education. I believe special education should meet the educational needs of students with exceptional needs that go beyond what is regarded as usual. Additionally, students with special needs need access to a rigorous education of the same caliber as that acquired by standard students. They should receive the same education in a non-restrictive environment, meaning accommodations and modifications should be made to ensure that their needs are met.
In my philosophy of special education, I believe that children with special needs admitted in public schools deserve to be included in the general classrooms. However, it is incontrovertible that these students have individual needs based on the severity to which they are affected by the disability. This is why I think we should categorize these students based on the levels of severity. From my beliefs, values, and previous experience, I believe these levels are relevant when considering the inclusion of this student in general education classrooms. I don’t think special needs students in the general classroom is a “one size fit for all philosophy.”
Moreover, I don’t believe that students with severe disabilities should go to public schools. Severe disability in this context means students who struggle with essential life skills, suffer from chronic illness, are entirely unaware of their environment, and are incapable of making sound decisions. Including such students in regular classrooms will be impracticable since severe cases like chronic diseases require constant medical care that cannot be provided in public schools. Similarly, these students will need more teachers’ time in the general classrooms, thereby taking much time from the rest of the classroom. However, will it be ethical to keep these students out of general classrooms without providing an alternative? The answer is no.
It will be a failure from teachers to ignore such a legal provision of equal rights to education to every individual regardless of their condition (Howe et al., 2018). Therefore, it would be prudent to have such students in a separate special classroom attended by professionals. They will have a conducive non-restrictive environment to learn in such classrooms. However, it is essential to note that I believe that students with special needs who don’t have severe cases and can participate in the classrooms without unusual behavior should be included in the general classrooms with necessary accommodations and modifications provided.
Moreover, accommodations and modifications to learning in the public schools that I believe should be adopted are differentiation, Response to Intervention (RTI), and applications of techniques and tools that can enable these students to adapt to the learning styles in these regular classrooms (Jr et al., 2020). Students who have less severe conditions that can be involved in the typical classrooms without any exceptional help can use Response to Intervention. I believe this is an important method that will enable teachers during the lessons to identify areas where they can spend more time and give more instruction. Similarly, I believe the methods mentioned above are significant in clearing off stigma among the student while at the same time providing accommodation that public schools are capable of handling.
Additionally, I believe strongly that parents’ involvement is an integral part of ensuring the accommodation of the students with special needs. This is a professional activity that would provide the best lifelong learning among special needs students. Just like the parents of students without disabilities, the parents of children with special needs should be actively involved in extending their children’s education at home. Students with special needs whose parents encouraged their education back at home showed more success than those who neglected this noble duty. I think that a system evaluating parents’ involvement should be adopted since there is a category of parents who believe that the responsibility of nurturing their children is only left to teachers alone.
Generally, I want to be one of the best educators exhibiting competency and professionalism. I have the vision to be a qualified teacher who can use different teaching methods and tools to engage students to equip them to realize their diverse potentials. Similarly, I want to face the challenge of accommodating disadvantaged students especially those with special needs. Equally, I want to participate in a standard curriculum that enables students to realize their success.
Moreover, I personally believe standard-based instruction will assist students with special needs in meeting their educational needs. The concept is to help these students realize their weaknesses and strengths and develop relevant strategies to enable them to overcome their weaknesses and build on their strengths. This approach will allow students with special needs to overlook their disability while at the same time focusing on their ability. Moreover, I want these students to feel thoroughly involved in the general classrooms and build their self-esteem. Promoting positive self-esteem is significant in maintaining a healthy community to learn appropriately.
Howe, K. R., Boelé, A. L., & Miramontes, O. B. (2018). The Ethics of Special Education, Second Edition. In Google Books. Teachers College Press. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5LRoDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=personal+philosophy+in+special+education&ots=E6o2KmvKMr&sig=FCpnkaRXK-lC441ukVeTjvHvepk&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=personal%20philosophy%20in%20special%20education&f=false
Jr, P. D. R., Cook, B. G., & Stevenson, N. A. (2020). Research in Special Education: Designs, Methods, and Applications. In Google Books. Charles C Thomas Publisher. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ApnODwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=personal+philosophy+in+special+education&ots=gtjicLTGhs&sig=Lg3Im9m26e6yzsVSmbfKlpixWF8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=personal%20philosophy%20in%20special%20education&f=false
Kauffman, J. M., Hallahan, D. P., Pullen, P. C., & Badar, J. (2018). Special Education. Special Education. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315211831