Daniel’s Journey

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This is a personal account of my son's experience with speech difficulties and the barriers he encountered in school. This relates to the topic of diversity in education, and the need for teachers to differentiate for a variety of learner types and to avoid understimating them.

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Daniel’s Journey:

Daniel’s Journey This is the story of my son, Daniel, and the challenges he faced as a student who did not fit the standard mold. Dr. Lisa Rodriguez 2012

Background:

Background Gardner’s (1985) Theory of Multiple Intelligences proposes that all humans possess at least seven different types of intelligence with varying degrees and combinations: linguistic, logical/math, spatial, body/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal. He admitted the possibility that there may be more types of intelligences not yet discussed. Gardner has attributed failure in schools to the traditional focus on the linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences, and the neglect of others. Standardized tests and tests to screen for giftedness are biased toward linguistic and mathematical intelligence. Students may be highly gifted in other ways, but remain unidentified and underestimated because the lens that traditional education uses to evaluate them cannot see their unique abilities and ways of thinking. Gardner emphasized that cognition is more complex than just linguistic and math ability, and advocated that learning be customized to best fit each learner with their unique combination and amounts of different types of intelligence (Rodriguez, 2010), a practices known as differentiation.

A New Way to See:

A New Way to See We must be aware of our students’ strengths and weaknesses, and empower them by helping them to use their strengths. Educators need to beware of bias toward linguistic and mathematical types of intelligence, and they need to be open to whatever unique ways their different students may demonstrate what they know and understand. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI) allows us to see and understand students’ abilities outside of the traditional linguistic/mathematical viewpoint characterizing most schools. Understanding Gardner’s theory can provide teachers with additional ways to present material in their classroom and to assess students’ learning. This MUSIC VIDEO explains Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences:

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences =

Daniel:

Daniel Daniel, was born prematurely and his language development was significantly delayed. I’m not sure if the complications I experienced during pregnancy or his prematurity were the cause, but it became apparent by the time he was two that he had severe difficulties with articulation.

Frustrations:

Daniel seemed to be able to understand everything, but he could not make himself be understood, leading to frustration for him and for us. He often cried so hard that he stopped breathing, passed out, had convulsions and then woke up. He was tested by a neurologist twice but did not have a seizure disorder…just what they termed “breath holding spells”. Frustrations

PowerPoint Presentation:

The first breath holding event happened when Daniel was 5 months old and the last was when he was 4. When he came to, he said, “I’m going to die now”. I realized that this is the feeling and thought he was experiencing all that time. I’m certain that his inability to communicate was the cause of this problem.

Daniel’s Speech approximately 3 ½ years old:

Daniel’s Speech approximately 3 ½ years old Dad: Hey you! Daniel: Hi Dad: Hi Daniel. Are you having fun? Daniel: Yeah Dad: Where are we? Daniel: We are in Oregon. Dad: No were not in Oregon. Do you know where we are? Daniel: Uh-uh. I can’t see David (his brother). David….(unintelligible) I say David, David! Mom: He was trying to find David. (Interpreting)

Daniel’s Speech approximately 3 ½ years old:

Daniel’s Speech approximately 3 ½ years old Daniel: Goosebumps…that’s Goosebumps. David: Is that Goosebumps? Mom: What do you mean? No. That’s the state capitol of Washington. David: It almost looks like a Goosebumps place like Night in Terror Tower. Daniel: It does look like Goosebumps.

Speech Therapy:

Daniel started speech therapy when he was three. His IEP included him attending a special preschool program. His language did not improve noticeably, but he obviously benefitted from the learning experiences he had at school, and he loved going there. Speech Therapy

Intelligence:

We became able to understand most of what Daniel said and to interpret for him. He was smart and mischievous, and we could tell that he was silently taking in all the things we were teaching his older brother. You could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking all the time. Intelligence

Underestimation:

When Daniel was in 1 st grade, his speech problems led to his first grade teacher underestimating his cognitive ability and social development. She insisted that he be retained. We were strongly against because we knew that he could read at grade level and understand what he was being taught. Also, he was born in late December, so he was already older than most of his classmates. When knew it would be disastrous to hold him back. Underestimation

Helplessness of Parents:

My friend, a special education teacher, tested Daniel, and he reported that he was at grade level in all areas. The teacher still refused to reconsider. This was Daniel’s teacher’s first year of teaching. The school was an academic achievement award winning school. We believed the reason they would not reconsider retaining Daniel was due to concern for the school’s test scores. Helplessness of Parents

Alternatives:

Because I was a public school teacher, we had an alternative. We took Daniel out of our neighborhood school and he started getting up early and driving with me to the school where I taught. This ended up being the best thing that could have happened. Instead of being in a school that was over 90% White and obsessed with test scores, he was now in a multicultural environment with a bilingual program. Alternatives

Success!:

Daniel had no troubles in his new class, academically or behaviorally. He even won Student of the Month. It still makes me angry to think of all the children and parents who are at the mercy of the schools because they don’t have the alternatives that we had because of my profession. Success !

Continuing to Thrive:

Daniel continued in speech therapy until they exited him from the program when he was in 4 th grade. During this same year, he started playing flute in the school’s band program. His speech teacher said that the breathing training could help his speech. He loved it in and did well, so we started him in private flute lessons. A year later, he joined the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Continuing to Thrive

The Magic of Music:

The Magic of Music Daniel continued playing in the school band and MYS for 9 years, playing at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon many times.

The Magic of Music:

While in MYS, Daniel tutored beginning flute students. The Magic of Music

China:

With MYS, Daniel toured China, playing concerts and visiting several cities. China

Europe:

Europe In his Junior year of high school, Daniel was chosen by his conductor to be in the Oregon Ambassadors of Music Program and tour Europe. He went to England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Greece and played in concerts with other musicians from all over Oregon.

Graduation:

Daniel graduated from high school, right on schedule, last June. He’s now attending college, majoring in psychology and playing in the college band. He has a 4.0 average GPA. Graduation

Listen!:

Listen ! This is Daniel’s senior flute recital. Notice how he speaks when introducing himself and his accompanist.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Authentic Assessment One of the six Principles for Inclusive Curriculum discussed by Feeney, Galper , and Seefeldt (2009) was Authentic Assessment. The purpose of assessment should be to diagnose gaps in knowledge and skills in order to differentiate instruction to meet students varying needs. Rather than using tests to judge and segregate students, often based on erroneous information because of test bias, tests should help teachers modify instruction to help all students succeed. As opposed to multiple choice and fill in the blank assessments, or tests with only one “right” answer, authentic assessments are in the form of interviews, observations, and inventories (Feeney, Galper , & Seefeldt , 2009). The Authentic Assessment approach allows students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways, allowing them to use their own unique styles and intelligences. The authors state that this type of assessment is a more valid estimate of students true knowledge and abilities (p. 290).

Thoughts About Retention:

Thoughts About Retention Jimerson and Kaufman (2003) stated that, although the intention of retention is to give a student extra time and instruction so they can improve their reading or other academic ability, many negative effects are linked with the practice. These effects include behavior problems, low self-esteem, and lack of self-confidence. Children whose parents were very involved in their education were less likely to be retained. Research demonstrates that simply giving a student more of the same…additional time with the same instructional approaches provided the first time through a grade, has no academic benefit. I believe that retention causes more harm than good, and that it should be used in very rare circumstances.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Bode, P. & Nieto, S. (2008). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education . Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Feeney, S; Galper , A.; & Seefeldt , C. (2009). Continuing issues in early childhood education . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Inc. Gardner, H. (1985 ). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences . New York: Basic Books. Jimerson , S. & Kaufman, A. (2003 ). Reading, writing, and retention: A primer on grade retention research. The Reaching Teacher, 56(7). Rodriguez, L. (2010 ). Perceptions of adult English language learners about audience response systems (clickers) as communication aides . Minneapolis, MN: Walden University. References

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