Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Critique on Teaching Life Skills

Article Critique- N - Assignment
Instructions

Reflection Questions: 1. Summarize article and Reflect.

I had a few articles which were of interest which I brought to the attention of our class, and one article that I shared was about the characteristics, strengths, and challenges of students with Spectrum Disorders. In addition, I shared an article from the CEC email that was quite relevant. The article showed a positive trend of education administrators to integrate and accept children with Special Needs and the importance of teaching general life and coping skills.


One specific challenge that children on the spectrum is they lack the practice and training of social and life skills. Often, it is difficult for them to deal with adversity and to appropriately express their feelings in a more socially acceptable way. Transition from activity to activity also poses a challenge. The challenge of fear and anxiety, and the challenge of not knowing how to deal with these feelings, is a skill that all students who have not practiced, must be taught and reinforced.


The need for practice of this skill and interaction for children on the spectrum are that much more important. “General life skills” which include , learning proper behavior and response to situations is a major portion of a curriculum, that should be taught to each student (and of course, reinforced at home) whether a student in exceptional or general education.


When I read the quote from the opening of the article from Plumstead Superintendent Mark Demareo , it made me reflect upon what I had learned in a Philosophy of Education class, about Thomas Jefferson and the importance of “ Education for the Citizenry (Masses)”. Thomas Jefferson, was a highly educated man , and a student of the Enlightenment era. He wanted to create a society where all people would free to pursue the benefits of “ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Many don’t know that he was the major contributor for the right to a public education and also set the ground rules for the first Public University (U of VA.), an educational institution that still stands today.

The general theme of Jeffersonian philosophy, was that it was imperative to have citizens, that are given the opportunity for enlightenment and education, for with a proper public education, they become responsible and productive citizens. The more opportunities of education to the citizenry, the more apt that these citizens become more responsible and beneficial to the current society. The philosophy also expresses the themes in the idioms “ Teaching a Person to Fish – You’ll Eat For A Lifetime” or “ Helping Others To Help Themselves”.

The quote used in the article , not only refers to teaching life skills to Special Needs students, but can apply to every situation. I would like to share it with you.


"The main objective of the program is to prepare our students for the important steps in their lives," "As they take the journey to adulthood, we will support and extend their efforts to become responsible, productive young adults in their community."
Plumsted Superintendent of Schools Mark DeMareo said.


The role of society is to model, support, teach, and reinforce younger citizens to become responsible, productive young adults in their community.


This is a major concept that I take away from this article, other than the importance of creating a curriculum for all students, not only exceptional students, to model, each and reinforce acceptable life skills.

The 12- Plus program is a new life-skills curriculum /pilot program offered for students with special needs at NJ’s New Egypt High School . The objective for its current student population which caters students classified as special-needs, is to keep the students educated in their own neighborhood school to the greatest extent possible as they begin their transition to adult life and productive citizenship in the community. The classroom which is termed “ The Learning Cottage”-provides the student with functional academics in literacy and math, activities of daily living, technology, related arts, social skills, and pre-vocational skills.

The 12- Plus Program will assist students who remain in special education until they are 21 make an easier transition to life in the workplace and the community, and includes an area set up like an apartment to teach life skills. A benefit of this effort is to keep students with special needs in schools near their homes.


In conclusion, it is up to our society, not only schools, but our parents, and our places of work, to shape our youth,-“ to teach them how to fish”, so that they may be responsible and productive members of society.

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http://tritown.gmnews.com/news/2009/1029/schools/034.html
Schools October 29, 2009 Search Archives:

Special-needs students being taught life skills
BY DAVE BENJAMIN Staff Writer


PLUMSTED — New Egypt High School has introduced a 12-Plus program for special-needs students.

"The main objective of the program is to prepare our students for the important steps in their lives," Plumsted Superintendent of Schools Mark DeMareo said. "As they take the journey to adulthood, we will support and extend their efforts to become responsible, productive young adults in their community."

The new program has been created to meet the needs of the first group of specialneeds students from New Egypt High School who will be remaining in the Plumsted School District until they are 21 years old as provided by the New Jersey Special Education Code, the superintendent explained.

Keeping students in their own neighborhood school to the greatest extent possible as they begin their transition to adult life and productive citizenship in the community is the vision of the school district, DeMareo said.


"Our commitment is to inclusive education for all students," he said.

New Egypt High School Principal Tom Farrell said he is proud of the new program.

"The new in-house high school 12-Plus program is fantastic," Farrell said. "Our staff is instilling life-long learning skills to our students. These life skills will prove invaluable to our students in the future."

Special education teacher Barbara Weaver and paraprofessional Craig Conk work in the special-needs classroom, which is called the Learning Cottage.

They provide their students with functional academics in literacy and math, activities of daily living, technology, related arts, social skills and pre-vocational skills, all of which follow the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.

Plumsted Supervisor of Special Services Jodie Greene said she thinks the school district has a unique program.

Greene said the Learning Cottage is set up to resemble an apartment so the students can gain firsthand knowledge about living independently. These skills are taught in a real-life setting so that the probability of carrying over the skills to reality is significantly increased, Greene said.

One day each week, students attend the Career Pathways Program at the Dorothy B. Hersh High School in Tinton Falls, Monmouth County. The Dorothy B. Hersh High School is a fully accredited private school for students with developmental disabilities between the ages of 14 and 21.

In this program, the special-needs students experience career reading and math, involvement in community-based instruction (which may include volunteering at community sites), attending field trips, and participation in structured learning experiences in retail, food service, janitorial work and day care.

The students are learning how to engage in computer job searches and how to complete a job application, said Greene.

Educators at the Dorothy B. Hersh High School work with educators in the Plumsted School District to locate appropriate employment for students who stay in New Egypt.

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