Essay on Special Education Reflection

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Reflection Paper

En Tseh Wang

Lehigh University

     Special Education 332 (Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs) has been enlightening for me as a secondary mathematics educator. In the beginning of the semester, my feelings towards special education were those of apathy and insensitivity. I now understand that my feelings were due to my lack of knowledge and my judgment based on stereotypes.
I always knew that making fun of students with learning disabilities was wrong. However, I never felt that inclusion of special education students in general education classes was plausible or made sense. I felt that special education
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I always believed that there was something wrong with people with learning disabilities, and thus classified them as abnormal. The activities made me realize that with their learning disability aside, they were no different from me. People with learning disabilities had their strengths and weaknesses, and I had mine.
The activities, without fail, made me frustrated. I wanted to lash out at the world, and I always wondered why students with learning disabilities had emotional problems. I came to realize that people with learning disabilities live with their disabilities for the rest of their lives. That these sensitivity activities were only temporary for us, but it was reality for those dealing with the disabilities. This is what changed me the most, realizing this simple truth.
Throughout my years at Lehigh, I have proclaimed that I have a passion to teach, to show students that mathematics is not difficult, and that they are able to understand mathematics. However, when it came to special education students, my philosophy changed, due to their learning disability. I was ignorant to the special education movement of inclusion, because I feared the idea of teaching students who were not “normal”.
I use the word normal in quotations because I now realize that special education students are like anybody else, and that we, special and general education students alike, are all normal. There is nothing wrong with special education students.

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