July 7, 2011
The Need for Cultural Sensitivity in Special Education
Teachers in this changing multicultural society need to be aware of challenges in teaching English Language Learners as well as African-American students. Labeling students immediately as having a learning disability is a disservice not only to the student it is affecting, but also the entire school system. Teachers must learn to incorporate multicultural activities into their teaching style, which would allow them to connect with as many of their diverse students as possible. “For many multicultural learners, the noble ideal of leaving no child behind has not yielded the desired dividends in general and special education.”(Obiakor 148). I believe that students of all ethnic backgrounds would benefit from their teacher being more sensitive to their diverse cultures and backgrounds. Festus E. Obiakor’s article regarding” Effective Intervention for Today’s Schools” portrays a 9 year-old student named Ricardo whose teacher does not understand his culture and diversity. Ricardo spoke English with an accent, and had a hard time relating to his classmates. The teacher actually had made a note that he was trouble and did not get along with his peers (148). Ricardo was ultimately labeled as having a behavior disorder and was put into a special education classroom. Unfortunately, this is an alarming trend that is occurring in our nations
schools. “Students learning English were disproportionately identified as having a disability in the three largest urban districts.”(Turnbull 79). Obiakor notes in his article, that according to the U.S. Department of Education in 2001 that although Hispanic students made up 4% of the general public school enrollments, there was a national average of 14% of these...