In this assignment, there will be a critical reflection on the pedagogical perspectives in the chosen book chapter. There will be an interrogation of Sue Gilbert’s work on physical and sensory disability, with the application of different pedagogical models. Sue Gilbert has 17 years’ experience in the primary sector as a class teacher and headteacher. As a senior university lecturer, she focused on professional value, practice and ICT. She spoke about the use of ICT in her chapter as a tool to support children with hearing and visual impairments. She was also part of the development team for a foundation degree for teaching and learning support, and was involved in the HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) training and assessment. The influence of this experience was also included in the chapter as she talked about the availability of suitable teaching and personal support. The literal definition of pedagogy is lead the child. The teacher is therefore seen as the person who teaches the child and leads them adulthood, by giving them knowledge and understanding of the world. Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching. The art is the teaching of practical skills and innovation, the how of teaching. The science is the value, beliefs and the scientific understanding, (use a reference here) the what in teaching. Corbet (2001) states pedagogy is an approach intended to accommodate all and ensuring the practice based on the diverse teaching strategies, this definition focuses on the how of teaching. Similarly, Alexander (2004) sees pedagogy as the act of teaching and its attendant discourse, but he also looks at the what is taught. Both these authors in their definition see pedagogy as a process of supporting learning and nurturing the children development, they also seem to agree that activities that promote learning need to be underpinned by the teacher’s values and believes. (Robert, Fluck and Loechel, 2004)

Effective teaching for all learners is the use of effective pedagogy, which is seen as a set of actions or processes. (Allen and Whalley, 2010) This would be using methods such as; clarifying the purpose of instructions given, teaching in small steps and pupil monitoring to maximise learning (Norwich, 2008). Some of the methods used in the mainstream school setting are from Special Educational Needs context. A minority od writers noted the commonality of pedagogies in both the mainstream school setting and Special School setting. (Corbett and Norwich, 1999) In mainstream settings children with Special Educational Needs are labelled and given a single administrative designation (this is the label of Severe Difficulties and Moderate Learning Difficulties) However, this may not be an accurate reflection of the nature of the pupil’s difficulties. In this case the use of Special pedagogies would need to be used to examine which is the best method to teach the individual. (Norwich and Lewis, 2001) In the 1986 Select Committee report it showed that the demands of the current curriculum could not be reasonably met by teacher where there in a setting of one generalist teacher to a class of 30 individuals with varying learning needs. This is the implications faced in mainstream schools by the broad and complex curriculum which does not occur in a Special school setting.

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Hart et al (2007) pointed out that student with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are more vulnerable to negative effects. This is due to teacher’s belief system; most teachers believe that they do not have the training and ability to teach these children. That these children need special teaching that they can not offer, but is offered in special schools. The author from my book chapter does talk about the teacher’s role when mentioning suitable teaching, and only talks about the employment of teaching assistant (TA’s) and how their support is vital. (Knowles, 2013) when talking about suitable teaching as Florian and Linklater (2010) have stated teachers need to move away from teaching and learning approaches that work for most pupils to developing rich learning communities that allow learning opportunity to be made available to everyone. Farrell (2008) mention the same point of using a different approach than those that work for most children. However, he also states that the same approaches can be used with adaptations to the emphasis and intensity of it. By doing this the teacher is participating in inclusive practice, as it’s the things the teacher does that gives meaning to the concept of inclusion and contributes to inclusive education. (Florian, 2009) One this the author did notice was that even thought the support of TA’s is vital. The pupils with too much help will not get enough opportunities to work independently, which will then lead to learnt helplessness. The author does not mention what suitable teaching and personal support should be, for this the author could have use the perspective of Wendell on his theory of learner-awareness and Vygotsky’s theory of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Wendell’s (2008) highlights that the teacher and even the TA should first identify the ‘nature’ of the physical and sensory disability, and then assess the implications of it’s consequence. Vygotsky shared the same thought that the focus needs to be addressed on the effects that the difficulties have caused and not the difficulty itself. (Vygotsky, 1929) Vygotsky also stated that is important to have an understanding of a child’s strength and weakness, this can be done by using the dynamic assessment method. Although Vygotsky’s method, it is a product of his work.  The author could have put in that using the dynamic assessment method of observing what strategies that child uses to solve problems, and assessing the performance of the child with and without help. (Lantolf and Poehner, 2010) Along with pupil working within the ZPD where they are provided with the appropriate assistance, will allow the child to be more independent in their learning development.

Learning is social, Vygotsky’s (1929) theory of social constructivism acknowledged that humans develop in social situations and knowledge is gained through interactions with others. Similarly, the development of child with a disability is determined by social aspects of their impairment. (Gindis, 2003) The book chapter mentions how the use of grouping merits consideration, and then explained the danger of this method when the pupil has multiple disabilities. The subheading mentions careful modification of the curriculum, timetable and social arrangement however, the author only suggests planning modification to the timetable. The author could have included how they would modify the timetable and make social arrangement so they are helpful for the pupil with physical and visual impairment.  Vygotsky understood that there were 2 types of implications to impairments, the primary and secondary implications. He stated that the focus should be on the social, cognitive and emotional part of the impairment. (Vygotsky, 1929) he believed collaborative learning was the best method for pupils with disabilities as It allows them to develop with social interactions. Corbett (2001) said that inclusive learning is about adapting pedagogy, meaning sometimes using special pedagogy to suit the individuals learning style. It seems the author is reliant on the help of LSA, and that the pupils timetable should be adapted to when they can get access to their support. She could have used the thinking of Wendell (2008) learner-awareness pedagogy. If the teacher and the LSA know about the learner’s characteristics, then they can adapt the environment to make it more conducive to the child strength and lead to effective learning.

Bronfenbrenner (1994) in his bio-ecological model explains how the inherited qualities of the child and the environment interact to influence how the child grows and develops. In the microsystem is the family and school and friend who have the strongest influence, he said how these groups interact will affect how the child develops. Bronfenbrenner also mentions in this theory that having interaction between the microsystems will have an impact on the growth and development of the child as well. If the child’s parents are actively involved in their school live, then the child’s development is affected positively through harmony and continuous progression in development. (Bronfenbrenner, 1994) The author write very well about is involving the parent in the decision-making and keeping them informed about their child’s progress. Communication with the parent of the pupil with disability is key, as the author has stated it should be acknowledged that parent have expertise in understanding their child’s needs. It is these expertise that the teacher need to help the develop the child’s learning. She mentions ‘parent will know strategies that they or their children have put in place to compensate for their disability’ (Knowles, 2013, p142) and that having this information is important, if teachers what to develop learning which has begun at home. With the involvement of parent there is a wealth of information and background that can be shared from parent to teacher, as parent see through the disability and recognise the child’s needs. The teacher can use the information to help the child and with their new understanding can allow the progression in the child’s learning made in school can be merged learning at home. (Knowles, 2013) Westwood (2007) agreed that close liaison, and where possible direct involvement of parent’s involvement assist teachers in inclusive practice.  Both the author and Bronfenbrenner in his model emphasise the role of the environment and the interaction of the people inside the eco-logical system, there is mention of the role the child has on his/her own development. In Bronfenbrenner’s later PPCT model (Process Person Context Time) he recognises the personal factors of the child and how their attributes are significant to development, this is under the notion ‘person’ In relations to a child with a physical or sensory impairment, the impairment can play a role in the development difficulties they might face. According to Rozsahegyi (2018) to learn about these characteristics, there needs to be an understanding on the importance of observing the child’s interaction between the child and othersAlthough the school can get a good understanding of the child’s characteristics through interaction with the context (the five systems of the bioecological model), they can gain a better understanding by looking at the child and their interaction with the people around them. (Bronfenbrenner and Evans, 2000)

Through the book chapter, it has been evident that that Sue Gilbert job has influences her writing. In her book chapter she talked about the use of the importance of having personal support and the use of ICT. These are things which she has been apart of teaching and putting into practice herself. In her book chapter included dilemmas and differences. She took into consideration children’s development and learning, the use of conductive material, parent involvement and touched upon the use of adaptations. These are some of the factors Norwich (2008) has highlighted are if implemented are evidence of effective inclusion.  However, although the author does mention these factors, she doesn’t go in depth and explain someone where carry out inclusive practice. An example Is where her sub-heading is written ‘careful modification of the curriculum’ but then it is not mentioned in the body of the text. She does this a couple of times in the chapter where she mentions something and does not explain how you would do it. The author also stresses the important of working with a more knowledgeable other (Vygotsky, 1987) and explained that too much help can be a hindrance to the development of the child. She also uses differentiation when talking out the use of ICT to assist children with physical and sensory impairment. She explains in detail how the use of ICT would different when it is being used to support pupils with hearing impairment and pupils with visual impairment. Finally, it is noticeable she was writing from an educator’s perspective and has included in her writing the culture in the educational establishment. Evidence of this could be found in here using government policies and Ofsted to support her writing.  

 

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