Special Ed Philosophy a Special Education Term Paper

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Special Ed Philosophy

A Special Education Philosophy Driven by Epistemology and Axiology

It is sometimes taken for granted the Special Education philosophy generally revolves on the demand of providing an education for the disabled which is commensurate to the education available in mainstream settings. However, the philosophical principles of placement, policy and approach are quite a bit more complex than this assumption suggests. It is thus that the discussion hereafter proceeds to delineate a particular philosophical understanding of special education.

Special Education Philosophy:

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Much research on special education philosophy points to epistemology as a crucial element of the profession. Certainly, it is reasonable to argue that a versed understanding of the way that knowledge is obtained, formulated, recalled and utilized is essential to pedagogy in the mainstream sense. Even absent consideration of the role that this plays in the particular knowledge-formation challenges specific to special education, epistemology can play a vital role in differentiating individual learning styles and in helping students optimize their respective strengths and overcome their particular weaknesses. This role is only further magnified where the challenges of special education, and especially inclusion, are concerned. In the inclusion setting, the spectrum of needs reflected by the learning styles of individual students are made even more widely divergent. Therefore, the article by Silverman (2007) illustrates, we can connect great aptitudes amongst educators in epistemology with the presence of certain philosophies where special education is concerned.

Term Paper on Special Ed Philosophy a Special Education Philosophy Assignment

As Silverman reports, epistemological awareness is shown to be a major determinant of the support or counter-support demonstrated by special educators for inclusive practices and principles. According to the article by Siverman, "previous investigations suggest that in addition to positive attitudes toward inclusion, high-level beliefs about knowledge and learning (i.e., epistemological beliefs) are essential for all teachers of students with disabilities in inclusive settings." (Silverman, p. 42) Silverman goes on to argue that those with 'high-level' epistemological beliefs tended overwhelmingly to view the practices of inclusion in a positive light. In doing so, respondents to the study by Silverman demonstrate the relationship between a more refined understanding of how knowledge development works and specific ideals on how special education should be approached. Therefore, it should be considered a fairly sound philosophical endorsement of inclusion practices that epistemologically-informed perspectives favor this approach. For the purposes of refining the philosophy of special education endorsed by this account, this argument is essential in warranting the incorporation of epistemology into a practicable belief system.

Just as epistemology answers to some of the practical elements of a special education philosophy, so are the ideology imperatives of special education best reflected in the discourse of axiology. Here, we are moved by the value system that guides us sociologically to account for the learning needs of the disabled. Axiology offers something of a complex lens through which to examine educational goals in general, particularly because institutional goals and goals of individualized intellectual growth are often at odds. As the text by Gordon (1994) reports, "were the prescribed goals of student behavior to bear little if any relation to what they themselves would have chosen and acted to secure had they the chance, there is little if any reason to believe the axiological dimension of the classroom experience would be rightfully called fully considered. And without the student's acceptance, social efficiency and personal culture are at odds not 'synonym'. . . As a consequence, classroom practice unresponsive to students' evolving sense of their ideal educated selves leaves them the task of determining their worth in an environment insensitive to that very concern." (Gordon, p. 1)

This denotes that if we as educators fail to find ways of individualizing and autonomizing learning experiences for those in special needs populations, we will also fail more generally at bringing them into the fold of mainstream education. Axiology denotes that in order to capitalize best on the experience of public education for those with special needs, there is a critical responsibility -- reflected in the instrumental importance of the IEP -- to create an educational strategy that is cognizant the need for the disabled to establish a sense of 'personal culture' that is also compatible with ideas about 'social efficiency.'

The Exclusion of Metaphysics and Logic:

Metaphysics is largely excluded from the philosophical discourse above not because of its irrelevance but because… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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