Fall 2: Blog Post #1

Baglieri, S., Valle, J. Connor, D. & Gallagher, D. (2011). Disability studies in education: The need for a plurality of perspectives on disability. Remedial and Special Education, 32(4), 267-278.

This reading focused on education’s need for perspectives on disability to be fluid and evolving. The article resonated with me because when I think of my classroom and my students with special needs, none of them are the same. Even if two students of mine are diagnosed with the same disability, they never behave exactly the same way nor should be expectations or teaching be the same for both. “In the process, they asserted that the medical model’s objectivist depiction of disability was neither as straightforward nor as sufficient as it appeared (Taylor, 2006).” Disability was defined by different individuals ideas. “It is not that people do not vary or differ from one another in sometimes very noticeable ways, but to call or think of some of those differences as “disabilities” is to make a social judgment, not a neutral or value-free observation. Put differently, it is not the way in which people vary or the differences they have in comparison to others but what we make of those differences that matters.” The social model of disability deals with the society attitudes towards diversity. It includes how we understand the ways that race, class, gender, language, culture, and sexual orientation shape the experience of disability. Also the time period in which disability is being discussed and modeled affects how society views a disability. What is considered “normal” in that time period based on social and cultural norms.

 

Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 3: “The Variability for Learning” pp. 49-82

This chapter discussed how the Universal Design for Learning theory changed from individual differences to individual variably after discovering that the original theory was limiting. Again, in education theories and strategies are always evolving just as the needs of our students are also always in flux. It was discussed that because of large class sizes and the multitude of different needs the extensive analysis required for each student may not be possible. Another limitation of individual differences compared to individual variably is the subtle hints to the old medical model of disability. Using the terms and ideas of “typical” and “atypical” which is so subjective. Like “typical” compared to what? And in what time period? Individual-context interactions evolved from individual interactions because studies began to show what we knew, that students are not immune to their environment and context around them. What happens around them also effects themselves. It connects to the idea of “epigenetics” which is the the study of the very strong effects of the environment on gene expression.  Cognition and affect had always been thought of as two separate entities, affect being the “why” of learning. The feelings, values and emotions that can influence attitudes towards learning. Cognitive scientists are addressing feelings and emotion, motivation and behavior, and they are now coming to realize that emotion organizes, drives, amplifies, and attenuates students’ thinking and reasoning.

Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 4: “Universal Design for Learning” pp. 83-108

Universal Design for Learning presents three teaching strategies (Provide multiples means of engagement, provide multiple means of representation and provide multiple means of action and expression) based on the three networks for learning (affective, recognition, and strategic). In the art room there are possibilities to include the strategies included in the Universal Design for Learning.  With engagement it is important to design learning contexts that offer flexibility so that each student can find a way into the learning experience, remain persistent in the face of challenge or failure, and continue to build self-knowledge. Students need to have options for self regulation, where they can develop self assessment and reflection. Students will build personal coping skills and strategies. In my art room I try to incorporate lessons that can be taken by students and given an individual spin. I give them the umbrella idea or topic and they can use materials they decide or a subject matter of choice. “Learners’ ability to perceive, interpret, and understand information is dependent upon the media and methods through which it is presented.For learning environments to support varied learners in all of these recognition processes, three broad kinds of options for representation are needed: options for perception; options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols; and options for comprehension (p. 54).” To promote resourceful, knowledgeable learners we have to provide options for comprehension. We do this by activating background knowledge and highlight patterns, big ideas and relationships. In my art room I demo so my students can see an example infront of them but then I also have the information given verbally as well as having step by step instruction up on the board if anyone ever loses track of where they are in the project. Expert learners need to be able set appropriate goals and monitor their progress towards those goals. This involves setting a goal at an appropriate level of difficulty and being flexible with strategies (trying a different approach when one method is not working).These skills develop as learners mature in age as well as in skill level with a particular discipline or subject (p.98).” To achieve this as teachers we need to provide options for executive functions such as guiding appropriate goal setting, support planning development, and enhance capacity for monitoring progress. Art courses have the ability to provide options for expression and communication all the time. In art we use multiple media options for communication as well as the multiple use of tools. Art also provides options for physical action such as giving lots of access to assistive technology around the art room.

 

Universal Design For Learning: Theory and Practice, Chapter 6: “Designing for All: What is a UDL Curriculum?” pp. 127-156

In chapter 6 the authors discuss the difference of summative and formative assessments. The authors feel well-crafted, thoughtful summative assessments can be important but only when used in conjunction with an array of other types of assessments designed to improve both teaching and learning. Formative assessment tends to be more immediate and informative to instruction than summative assessment because it offers the opportunity to improve teaching and learning during the course of instruction. The UDL model favors formative assessments that are planned and intentionally part of instruction — assessment by design, in other words. Where students seem to be falling down, the first place to look is to the curriculum. Formative assessment gives teachers a concrete and visible means of getting the data they need to inform their instructional decision-making. I have mentioned previously in my responses that at my current school they don’t require us to use rubrics to grade our students. This past year I have been using in-class critiques to grade my high school students. I have them about 2-3 times a project. We put all the art in the center of a table and I prompt “questions/comments/concerns” about each piece of work we put up and students discuss the work using the specific vocabulary from the lesson. I believe it is very important for my students to learn how to talk about their art, how to have different views from someone else and still discuss, how to give and take constructive criticism, and how to put their thoughts about what they created into words. I’m able to grade their work, their use of vocabulary and their collaboration with other students during the critique.

 

Art and Disability, Chapter 5, Emotional Disturbance and Behavioral Disorders

Chapter 5 does a great job of explaining emotional disturbance and behavioral disorders and how they manifest themselves in your classrooms. Some challenges that individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders face are hyperactivity such as short attention span and impulsivity. Aggression or self injurious behavior such as acting out or fighting. Withdrawal, which can be not interacting socially with others or excessive fear and anxiety. Immaturity is also a challenge for individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders. This can be seen with crying, temper tantrums and poor coping skills. Sometimes students will also have excessive anxiety and abnormal mood swings. One strength that comes from emotional and behavioral disorders is creativity. This year I made a poster to hang in my room that reads “The best use of imagination is creativity, the worst use of imagination is anxiety.” There are some days that I read that poster 10x a day even for myself. A mind that is never at rest is always forming new ideas and concepts its just how you channel that energy to be constructive. This chapter wasn’t the same as other chapters with outlining both challenges AND strengths. I re-read pages thinking I was missing something. I was stuck on reading about the young african american males and the number of them labeled E/BD by their white female teachers. I wanted to read more about this and the weight of the cultural differences and the ethical questions they pose. It took over my mind for the chapter and I felt it could be an entire book itself.

 

Verbal to Visual. (2015, October 29). Curriculum Design Part 3: Producing The Material. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/mljZhTaq-mo

Doug Neill walks through his planning steps for preparing a series of lessons on note taking. He lays out outcomes and their context and then works his way to teaching the activities. Beginning with what he terms “The High-Level Planning,” he looks at the big picture the reasons for this, the students (or audience) to design an overall rationale for the course, including a survey to find out what the students know or need to know. In the second video, Neill lays out a strategy in the form of a sequence, for brainstorming and sorting bits of knowledge. In the third video he actually creates the course materials by organizing all the bits of knowledge in video 2, while keeping in mind the “big picture” of the first video. The fourth video describes a reflective exercise, in which Neill thinks back on the course activities and makes adjustments and improvements for the next time through. Backward design is a way of planning with a desired outcome in mind. After watching the videos I considered what part of my classroom I could change to incorporate and apply the three steps of backward design. After watching the video series I created a clothesline diagram that I refer to when sharing how I would use backwards design when teaching coil pots in Intro To Ceramics.