Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The subject in class this week is philosophy of education. I told one of my semi-tangent stories in class when I was explaining the Socratic method. I didn't talk about the Memorial Day parade or the band, I told them of not taking instrumental music and so landing in the feared and hated general music in junior high.

I also spoke a bit about inclusion. It isn't really part of the philosophy of education area - I cover inclusion during sociology of education. But it has been on my mind lately because I am observing elementary school classes. Educational research supports it, law requires it, and it is the company line. It does seem fair, when properly implemented (and incredibly misguided when implemented on the cheap).

Last night a student posed the question, could we be harming students' self-esteem with constructivism? The question captured what I have been thinking this week. Do inclusion classes need more structure? Is constructivism fair to kids with special needs? Is a disruptive atmosphere fair to the regular education students? What is the proper mix in terms of (so-called) "special" v. "regular?" How are the regular education students selected for placement? Randomly? Because they are nicer? Because their parents are more supportive or less involved? And the biggie, which is about philosophy (and sociology, and economics, and history, and policy)...are we replicating or changing society?

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