By: Lisa Trulson
Inquiry Question: When addressing Special Education should the goal be to integrate and normalize those with special needs or should the focus be to individualize and modify lessons, activities and content according to students’ needs (ie. Alternative education programs, pullout activities etc…)?
Learning about Self: I began my inquiry with the tension of having to adhere to pull out programs for my students and not wholly believing in the fundamentals of pull out programs in regards to inclusion. After beginning my practicum and fully immersing myself in the educational programs Cariboo has to offer I began to shift that tension. I saw the incredible work and purpose behind pull out programs. My focus switched from “why pullout?” to “why not pullout for everyone?”. Over the course of my practicum I have come to understand there is so much power we have as educators to create a positive learning environment for our students. The pull out programs do an amazing job at this and I have a great deal to learn from their practices. There is so much I want to take from what I have learnt and apply to my classroom in the future.
Learning about Teacher Practice and Context/ Conditions: I think the most positive practice of pull out programs is the focus on students’ holistic needs. Each students’ academic, physical, emotional and social needs are considered in the structure of the class, the content and the activities. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. Why can’t that be the focus in every class? Going forward I want to incorporate some of the pull out strategies to ensure my students’ whole self is being cared for and nurtured through education.
Product of Inquiry- Product- over the past two semesters I have been collecting stories as a form of data. I synthesized that data into poems because poetry is how I find it easiest and most effective to communicate my own stories. I wrote 3 poems over the course of 7 months. They detail the feelings, interactions and relationships I have build with students, EAs and the observations of the school. I posted these poems (as well as my inquiry questions) to giant puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces represent the international symbol for Autism. I also used them symbolically to represent the connection between students, EAs and school structure. Each are a whole unto themselves but when pieced together by intentional relationships, education becomes a bigger picture with bigger goals regarding inclusion and equity.
1. Ballerina2. The Talker3. School4. Special Education InquiryProcess of Inquiry- I have been collecting my data through observation and the building of relationships. All stories start with a connection; that is what I have been trying to build throughout my inquiry process.