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Monday, May 25, 2009


What every educator must know is contained in this graphic. A trilogy is soon to be published that will explain the theories and processes.
Please do not copy or reprint this graphic or it's contents.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holding One Another

The Special School that holds the child,
The nursing home that holds the elder,
The prison that holds the troubled.
Have put our souls on hold as they eat up the opportunities to hold one another.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

THE FACILITATED LEADER

Just a thought that has more to do with labor than memorial, but then Memorial day feels often more like labor day.

For Those Interested in Making a Difference 

Facilitation is the sustaining of opportunities, resources, encouragement and support for the group to succeed in achieving its objectives, and to do this through enabling the group to take control and responsibility for the way they proceed.  The facilitating leader is a facilitator with a vision.  The use of facilitation finally answers the question of how to motivate people.  The answer is not about motivation.  It is rather about inspiration.  To produce or arouse a strong feeling is the only direct path to quality, effectiveness, health, profitability and personal well being.  I have never been successful in generating high sustainable levels of motivation as a leader.  I have been able to create authentic environments that reach into individuals and free what is best about them.  We who are living in environments that inspire have virtually been able to do away with regulatory quality checks, abolish watch dog forms and reporting mechanisms, and focus on doing the job right rather than short term concerns of profitability, quality control, or human resource management.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Every Educator Must Know

As an educator each teacher must attend to fundamental foundations of learning environments, the competencies of designing and maintaining coherent models of service and supports, and understand strategies of causing formal tools (e.g.IEP) to be in service to the first two (fundamentals & coherent models).

This brief statement is focused on attending to fundamental foundations of learning environments. What every educator must know is that there is an umbrella theory which holds two foundational strategies. The Main Concerns theory asserts that qualkity learning environments start when whole attention is turned to the Supreme Excellance* of the student as a base for the design, creation and implementation of Democratic Processes and Symbiotic Relationships. The Main Concerns theory must be understood and implamented prior competently actualizing coherent models and engaging formal structures and regulations.

The Theory of Supreme Excellence. The cause of supportive and nurture based education is understanding the student’s spirit and essence. This act of understanding leads to a reliable guide of the students divinity (interests) and will reveal the required functional skills which will be embraced by the student.

Based on Herzberg’s theory, students are not motivated by higher grades, special privileges, or grade level advancement. Students are motivated by expectations of success at challenging assignments. A teacher reports that the students primary concern is to feel that they have control in the advancement of their own destiny. It is the teacher’s job to provide opportunities for students to achieve so they will become motivated. The theory of Supreme Excellence requires opportunity be based on the individual talents and divinity of the student. Herzberg asserts that 80% of satisfaction comes from achievement, the task itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. . When a teacher was talking about Larry she could see that his obsession was a solid factor in his learning. If he is interested he is able to find information and learn it according to the teacher.

Seymour Sarason (1993) points out that one truth of education is that we view children as in need of taming. The data reflected this, as some professionals would say that, especially during the transition years, the children must learn what the real world is and how to deal with it. “Where students are” is ignored and “what students are” is something we should fear and therefore, tame or extinguish, according to Sarason. Sarason further asserts that the result is we have classrooms in which students are passive, uninterested, resigned, or going through the motions, or unruly, or all of the above. The Theory of Supreme Excellence is supported by Sarason’s work. Are teachers getting lost in the details of daily living? Viewing peoples actions, interests and behaviors as only relevant to the present. Better for the students and us is to see the three dimensions of behaviors actions and interests of past, present, and future. What people do, say and dream now are communications of desired futures based on past experiences and the truth of the soul (destiny).


A three part trilogy will soon be published as a guide for educators.

*Term indicates that which makes up a persons individual identity and path of destiny (Neuville, Thomas, 2000)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Positivism

While preparing for a course scheduled for the fall of 2009 I reintroduced myself to the concept of positivism. In so doing I found great understanding of the tensions I live with.  Positivism is (according to dictionary.com) a doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought and that the application of this doctrine in logic, epistemology, and ethics supersedes theology and metaphysics and depending on a hierarchy of the sciences, beginning with mathematics and culminating in sociology. It is the culminating in sociology that impacts the field of education and particularly special education.  All of this came about sometime between 1900 and 1950 and promoted attention to actual practice over consideration of what is ideal. Further the practice must be based on what is knowable from a strictly quantitative perspective.

Positivism elements are considers of lessor import knowing through relationship, experience or observation of the environment. Unless one is counting things relevant to those areas they are of little concern to the educator trying to improve the target (student).

No wonder I have difficulty communicating with some of my peers as they are sure that what I offer and the theories of practice I teach have no basis in reality or knowledge. Tom Srtic is the man to speak with or read if you are looking for substantial insight into this (http://soe.ku.edu/Tom-Skrtic/). 

Sadness washes over me as I see clearly that I am speaking a foreign language and inviting people into a strange culture when I give evidence that suggests the source of teaching is to be found in relationships, environment, cultures and the mix of all of those. This is good news however as I now have been reminded of a plethora of resources that can be offered to teacher candidates and injected into the academy at multiple points of entry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Integration not Inclusion

Yesterday I heard a women give testimony to the legislature against a funding bill. She was not actually against the financial expenditure aimed at Special Education. She was opposed to the bias for educating children with disabilities in the general education environment. She spoke of the need to remain true to the federal law (IDEA  http://idea.ed.gov/ ) which calls for the placement decision to be with the IEP team. The women referenced "advocates for inclusion" as a pejorative.

 

This is a common refrain and it is time to uncover the bias in that statement. What a century of social research tells us is that one becomes a participating and contributing member of society when one is integrated. The act of integration being defined as personal social integration and societal participation (Wolfensberger, Social Role Valorization 1983)* is the key to being a healthy and productive citizen. 

 

What we have now is an unemployment rate that is 59% higher than the rate of nondisabled workers (http://ohsonline.com/Articles/2009/02/06/Disabled-Unemployment.aspx). The median adjusted family income for disabled workers is about half of the median for others aged 18-64 ($13,323 compared with $24,487) [http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/income_workers/di_chart.pdf]. So if we consider the success of education for citizens with disabilities the long term result is marginalization in multiple respects. 

 

The sacred IEP team, which I support in theory, is a clear victim of socio-cultural bias. And what aggravates the outcome are high levels of consciousness. Special Education is a support and a service, not a place. When the evidenced is used over the bias children with disabilities will join their peers and have equal opportunities. The children without disabilities will also rise up as a diverse methodological classroom is good for all.





Social Role Valorization (SRV) is the name given to an analysis of human relationships and human services, formulated in 1983 by Wolf Wolfensberger, PhD

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Coming together

I can see, and more importantly feel, that the cultural rift in the United States is closing. I do not wish to project unbridled hope so let me just say that a new rift, likely many rifts, are on the horizon. but for the moment let's stick with the idea that the old one is closing. 

I just came from a graduation keynote that was inspiring in that it was given by one who is identified as a Bush conservative and spoke to Obama liberals. Not that he intended to cross boundaries. The messages of community building and power coming best from groups of people speak equally to communitarians of yesterday and faith based services of, also yesterday. The multiple crisis' of the moment are driving us to actualize the saying, "act locally and think globally".