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Alternative pedagogic support for inclusive education

Focus: School years

Topic: Inclusive Education

Edileine Vieira Machado          

Coordinator of the Center of Academic Support to Disabled Students - CAAD

Universidade Cidade de São Paulo – UNICID

emachado@unicid.br

Nely Garcia                             

Professor at Education College

Universidade de São Paulo

garcian@usp.br

José Luiz Mazzaro                   

Special Education Secretariat

Ministry of Education and Culture - MEC

josemazzaro@mec.gov.br

Visiting 16 schools in São Paulo, Brazil, which have Special Classes, Resource Room and regular class with disabled students, we’ve heard teachers commenting, in informal talks, about the difficulties found on working with the inclusion of disabled students: there is lack of qualification courses, of continual education, of pedagogical resources and of pedagogical support:

¾ We need doing some course that informs us about the disability and how we should deal with it.

¾ What we need is a qualification course, so that we can learn to work with these disabled students.

¾ We needed support from some expertise to guide us during our work with these disabled children.

¾ On my graduation I’ve never heard about disability, much less about inclusive education. And what about subnormal sight, what is this?

Before this observed picture has born the interest to develop a research about pedagogical alternatives for inclusive education, what requires rethinking the aspects of philosophical, scientifical, pedagogical and affective background of the teachers for the action they are going to develop.

The teacher education should occur in a continuum, on the every day life through the reflection about their actions. The contents

 (...) should not to be watertight and isolated treatment facets of their action object: the education. But they shall be, positively, ways of seeing and understanding, globally, on the totality, its action object (…) Forming the educator, in short, according to my view, would not be an authoritarian imposition, but a manner to aid the subject to acquire a critical attitude before the word in such a way that makes him/her able to act next to other human beings in an effectively educational process (LUCKESI, 1987:26-27)

The action and reflection interrelate, form a whole, not being possible separating the theory (“what to do”) from the practice (“how to do”).

In a great extent of Brazil territory, the initial and continual education of educators is disarculated; the theory doesn’t go along with the practice and the other way around, what results in a low quality teaching.

Education is accomplished through action and, at the same time, it reflects about it. The continual education should occur on a reflexive perspective that was based on research, in order that the teachers may make a net of connections for themselves, their practice, their students and the society.

The teachers’ qualification in service is indispensable for introducing new educational alternatives, what causes a differential impact over the apprenticeship.

In Brazil, the teaching, on the public network, is supported almost exclusively on the teacher performance. The incorporation of new means and methods is slow and faces several obstacles.

The present Brazilian educational policy faces the lack of structure, of answers and of the professionals’ preparation to make the inclusion of the person with special educational necessities on the regular system of teaching effective and with no traumas.

The inclusion of students with special educational necessities in a regular class without the preparation and support of the management, without guidance from the teacher, without adequate physical, material and human resources, may constitute:

– disregard as for the rights and dignity of the students, depriving them from the opportunity to learn;

– exposure of their limitations and difficulties, with no alternatives to ease them off;

– isolation from the group-class, opposing frontally to the integration proposals for which the special education has being fighting so much on the last decades and preventing the persons with special educational necessities to exert their citizenship.

The greatest task that presents to the school is creating apprenticeship environments that foment the equity as for the educational results of all the students. The starting point should consist on the identification of practices that deny an equal access to the curriculum and recognizing the practices that make this access easier  (WANG, 1997, In: BAUMEL: 38-39).

Delegates from the World Conference on Special Educational Necessities, gathered in Salamanca, Spain (06/07 to 10/1994), declare:

Only placing a couple of disabled students in regular classes contributes for inclusion? The teacher, in a continual, critical reflexive education, focused on the Special Education, should revert this picture? Does the school count with critical reflexive educators to make this inclusion effective?

The teacher, with guidance and study, may adapt materials and proposals for the activities development.

On this article we will describe the experience developed in a regular class, 3rd grade of the fundamental teaching, using video, CD and children literature books as pedagogical resource for the inclusive education. During 1 month we’ve observed only the room arrangement, the students behavior, the activates developed and the interaction student-student, student-teacher, student-teacher-student:

On the aforesaid classroom we’ve found 5 persons with special necessities:

1 blind student

2 with subnormal sight

1 with slight cerebral palsy

1 who had withdrawn from a special class for mentally disabled persons

The inclusion of these students in a regular class meets the legal devices and pedagogical trends; however, there wasn’t any guidance about their specific educational necessities and either any preparation of the teacher.

The blind student, sat distantly, didn’t keep contact with the classmates. On the group activities, already in September, the children were surprised with his writing: the Braille system.

The blind students also had difficulty for moving around. The dependence and the lack of knowledge of the physical space are factors that difficult the inclusion. With no adequate training of orientation and mobility, the visually impaired person is condemned to a sedentary life and prevented from enjoying his right to come and go, as it is determined in our Constitution. He demonstrated anopsisms: narrowing the eyes, moving the hands intermittently to self-stimulate himself, not being socially accepted, may isolate him from the group.

The students who had subnormal sight, distant from the blackboard, were not able to make copies and to keep up with the tasks.

A female student, sat in front, was only able to copy a few activities getting closer to the blackboard and needed more time than the others due to her difficulty.

The children with subnormal sight (very low sight), distant from the blackboard or with no desk, have difficulty for accomplishing their tasks.

The girl, sat in front, with the notebook on her lap, with no support, was required to get closer to the blackboard to improve her visual efficiency.

The student who came from the mentally disabled room stayed at the back of the room. Before starting the suggested activities, he seemed to be sad and thoughtful, he didn’t interact with the other classmates.

We’ve suggested group activities for the integration and cooperation among the classmates, with one of them acting as a mediator, including the ones with special educational necessities.

At first, the teacher seemed distrustful:

We’ve answered that, even so, we’d like to make the experience: should it not produce any result, the work could be discontinued.

When we got in touch with the class, what has mostly attracted our attention was the blind student isolated from the others. The teacher has justified:

The class teacher, when learning that we would work with videos, for lack of information, was revolted:

Researchers: – The visually impaired individual hears, listens the talks, the sounds characteristic of the actions presented in videos. Should the classmates describe what it is happening; he/she can participate on the activities. Our proposal is not working only with videos, but with several forms of language.

It’s not hard working with visually impaired persons, should we use the good sense and make a few adaptations, when necessary.

The classroom teacher hadn’t noticed that besides the blind child, there were two who presented subnormal sight, one with slight cerebral palsy and one who had come from a special class for mentally disabled persons, what she hadn’t noticed, perhaps, for the fact of them having an aspect similar to “normal” children.

It befits here a reflection about the importance of qualifying the teacher, since his initial education, to work with the diversity. He should be prepared to notice the differences and to know how to deal with them, creating an environment favorable to the development of the individual potentialities.

Teacher: – During my graduation, I had never heard about the possibility of disabled children studying and, much less, about pedagogical alternatives that made it possible facilitating the inclusion of these children in a regular class.

We asked the class if they liked to read and if they remembered their last reading. The blind student have answered:

– Ah! I love reading and listening to stories, but I’ve never had a storybook. I ask my mother to read for me, nut she works and doesn’t have much time. My father reads to me sometimes. I have a book that I was given when I went to visit the MAC (Contemporary Art Museum), do you know the MAC? Every night I read this book, it is so beautiful! I read it and imagine how that statue, that picture should be beautiful… I’d love to see so that I could have different books like the other children.

Are the schools prepared to receive these children? Do the social actors understand that every child is singular and that the diversity allows the development?

As for the reading, the persons with subnormal sight have answered:

– I don’t like reading because I can’t see the small letters of the book or of the newspaper.

Although the persons with subnormal sight had difficulty to see the letters, there wasn’t any enlarged printed material, and neither adequate illumination to their visual necessity.

In our teaching proposal are emphasized collective activities, having one of the students as writer of the group, what made easier the interaction among the children and has provided an opportunity to the disabled ones to participate and, even, to stand out in the group.

On the groups, the children have assumed the mediator role on the activities development. For instance, on the case of the blind child and the ones with subnormal sight, the children started to describe spontaneously what was exclusively visual and to discuss aspects referring to the task.

During the activities we’ve presented in a cassette tape the sounds that we heard in our everyday life: the alarm clock, someone snoring, the cock crow, someone yawning, the sound of steps, the tap being turned on, the water falling, someone brushing his teeth, the tap being turned off, someone slapping the door, walking, a bus passing, horns, several children talking at the same time and the buzzer at school for the classes beginning.

Other sequence: the roar of a motor of a moving car, horns, the sound of a radio, someone opening a gate, a horse trotting, cows mooing, birds singing, persons swimming, walking, closing the gate and again the car roaring.

This activity was very interesting, as the children had to listen the recordings and, afterwards, in group, to create a story about what they have heard. On this activity, the blind child started being the mediator of the class. Having the hearing perception as her main channel of contact with the world, for her it’s much easier to identify and to interpret the sounds. The activity has called the other children attention about the importance of the other “senses” in their lives.

The child who came from the special class for mentally disabled persons, when in group, assumed the role of writer and did it in a clear and logical manner, demonstrating, sometimes, her leadership in relation to the group.

After five months of work, the positive results became evident:

References

BAUMEL, R. C. R.; SEMEGHINI, I. (orgs.).  Integrar/Incluir: desafio para a escola atual.  São Paulo: FEUSP, 1998.

LUCKESI, C. C.  O papel da didática na formação do educador.  São Paulo: FDE (11), 1987.

MACHADO, E.V. O vídeo como mediador da comunicação escolar.  São Paulo: Feusp, 2001.  (Tese de doutorado)

UNESCO.  Declaração de Salamanca e linha de ação: necessidades educativas especiais.  Salamanca: Espanha, 1994.


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