Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Citizenship in School" Christopher Kliewer Quotes

The article "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Chrisopher Kliewer was a really interesting read for me. As a former volunteer for Special Olympics and someone who took classes working with a lot of different students with different forms of mental disabilities, it was really cool to read an article that reflected some of the things I had seen through the years. So, I pulled a few quotes out that really got me thinking, not only about down syndrome but just teaching in general. I also found this website from the National Down Syndrome Society that had a whole section on education with multiple resources that might be interesting or useful for teachers down the line.

"Dewey promoted a democracy as a way of life in which community both establishes and is derived from individual's recognition of the value of every other individual... democracy can only occur when no other person's voice is deterministically silenced."
So this quote was really interesting to me because it just got me thinking about the society we live in as Americans and how democracy should actually work. Everyday, we're told that America is a democracy but, lately those lines seemed to blurred to me. We learn in class about the classes, races, genders, sexualities that get silenced everyday in the classroom alone. So, can we truly be a democracy when we close the dialogue of the society. From this article alone, we're learning the voices and individuality of a whole group of learners just because they have Down Syndrome and society has been taught to not include them in the community. 
"Along with recognizing an individual's ability to think, Bogdan and Taylor (1989) suggest that respect and citizenship require a realization of the person's individuality."
Without an understanding of who we are, we really don't have individuality. And there needs to be respect in order for us to grow into the people that we choose to be. Individuality relies on respect and citizenship because people usually can't look past what society tells them to see. So, until people take the time to see an individual for who they are, they won't see past those barriers to give respect and citizenship to an individual.
"Community behavior of students with Down Syndrome stems from their lack of behavioral and communicative conformity to school standards that form the parameters of intellectual normality. In essence, a gap exists between the performance of students with Down Syndrome and the performance expectations that define a useful individual."
I think that it's important to understand the different educational needs of students and not just believe in a particular expectation across the board. Sometimes, standards are necessary, but when it stops others from learning or thriving, there needs to be someone to look at the standards and go "how can we fix that?" So, seeing a gap between students with Down Syndrome and performance expectations of a useful individual makes me sad to see that there isn't a way to fix that yet. To make sure that people are recognizing the differences and trying to understand it.

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