Special Education Reflection

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Reflection Paper

En Tseh Wang

Lehigh University

Special Education 332 (Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs) has been enlightening for me as a secondary mathematics educator. In the beginning of the semester, my feelings towards special education were those of apathy and insensitivity. I now understand that my feelings were due to my lack of knowledge and my judgment based on stereotypes. I always knew that making fun of students with learning disabilities was wrong. However, I never felt that inclusion of special education students in general education classes was plausible or made sense. I felt that special education students belonged in their own classrooms; and that is why we have special education educators. As a prospective secondary mathematics educator, I felt that it was unfair that I would have special education students in my classes. I would rationalize my attitude by saying that I signed up to teach "normal" students, and that the special education students were not my problem or responsibility. I did not want to deal with them. I did not see them as individuals who seek meaning through learning. As a constructivist, my goal as an educator is to provide students with meaning by imparting knowledge. As I reflect on my feelings towards special education students, I ask myself why do I not see them in the same way. If they are students as well, why do I discriminate against them? Why is it, when I think about teaching students with learning disabilities, I get uncomfortable? It is due to my lack of knowledge of students with learning disabilities. It was not until I saw the movie (before our class) "I Am Sam", my thoughts about people with learning disabilities started to change. The movie changed my perception that mentally challenged individuals are strange by nature because they do not seem to understand when people talk to them and is different from myself. The movie...
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