During the previous lecture, Karl-Mikael Grimm explained social justice in terms of disability and ability. Usually, when it comes to special education, individuals and diagnosis are what people focus on, but it is revealing and inspiring that both the lecture and the assigned readings have provided us with other aspects, such as social and structural perspectives to examine this issue.
Unfair Treatments toward Disabled Students
One of the problems which should be paid more attention to is the phenomenon that disabled students only account for an extremely small proportion of students studying at secondary schools or universities. One reason, at least in Finland, is that starting from upper secondary education, it is no longer necessary to organise special education, which discourages disabled students to go further with their studies to upper secondary or even higher education after graduating from lower secondary school. It is actually sort of a structural discrimination. Moreover, being able to spell and having good writing skills are currently the basic requirements for students, especially in upper secondary education and higher education. However, it is somehow unfair for instance to dyslexic students because they may have difficulty demonstrating and expressing their knowledge and opinions even though they could be as good as other so-called “normal” students. It is sad that those students who would have so much to give to the academic society are dropped from the higher education just because they need some additional support that is not available currently . Agreeing with the statement in Thomas Herir’s article that “there is more than one way to walk, talk, paint, read and write”, we think it might be worth considering, whether or not spelling and writing skills are really an indication of one’s academic level, especially when nowadays we have many computer programmes which can help check and correct spellings.
Humanisation of Special Education
According to Sarazar, humanisation of education is vitally important. Basically, it is a “process of becoming more fully human as social, historical, thinking, communicating, transformative, creative persons who participate in and with the world”. However, disabled students are still not fully treated in a humanised way. Just like African students in the US are being considered inferior to the White in hidden norms, disabled students are also regarded as inferior because of what they lack when compared to “normal” students, which is actually the presentation of ableism. Grimm raised an example during the lecture, which is that a blind student is different from a student who is blind because there already exists a preconception that the former is lower in status, while the latter is treated as a normal person, but he just has some defect. It is really worth reflecting about the way in which we regard disabled students. To reach humanisation, People should treat them like the latter way. Therefore, educating other students and teachers how to behave towards them properly and fairly is really essential.
Educating Teachers as a Solution
Herir also states that “the dilemma parents and educators face around the issue of labeling need not exist if schools employ research-based practices and improve their special education programmes’’. For the improvement to happen, teachers should learn more about special education and diversity. According to studies, it is interesting to know that pupils with special needs tend to achieve higher learning results in ’’normal classrooms’’ and that classes providing special education do not actually improve the future employment of students. The prevailing issue of how to provide an inclusive education for all students in the best possible way could be solved by educating teachers in special education. Teachers may further hold different views on what inclusive education actually means and entails, which is problematic in itself.