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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Impact of Globalization on Education

The flattening or globalization of the world has significant implications for education. For one, we have already begun to use workflow software in-place of humans in many industries. In fact, on-line learning has become increasingly more popular. Students can easily opt for home schooling, thus on-line curriculums, lesson plans, teaching resources and media are readily available and easily accessible by most people today. Another important implication comes from outsourcing. Friedman (author of The World is Flat) writes about the ever increasing option for manufacturers to find unskilled, cheap labor outside of the U.S. Those who are unskilled in the U.S. will have greater difficulty finding jobs in the U.S. as a result of this trend. As a result, the importance of education in this country can not be emphasized enough. In order for Americans to survive in this country, they will need to learn a skill and continue to become educated. Further, globalization has increased competition and has raised the bar for creativity and ingenuity.

It appears that American children of today will be facing greater competition for jobs in the future. So what happens to our special needs children in this growing global economy? Special education has not proven to restore cognitive functioning and academic achievement; in fact quite the opposite appears to happen to children in special education. These students grow increasingly further behind their average age peers and often drop out of high school all together. Jobs that were once available in this country for uneducated and unskilled Americans appear to be disappearing across the seas at an alarming rate. What is not being outsourced is being taken over by technology. Interestingly, Friedman in his book mentions that some McDonalds in the United States have outsourced the drive thru position to overseas!

What are we doing to ensure the futures of our special needs children? In your opinion, has the special education curriculum taken into consideration globalization and the impact it will have on its students? In your experience, have you seen special needs children improve academically or do they appear to fall further behind? How do you think this will affect their ability to secure employment? If you had the power to change special education, what would you change and why?


This blog was created by Rosa DeAngelis

4 comments:

vincent said...

Even if the modifications help the students out academically, the label is more emotionally damaging than the academic help in my opinion. I really think that being labeled as learning disabled crushes students' confidence, which in turn minimizes the effort they put forth in the class because they develop an internal locus of control. In my opinion, motivation and positive mentors are key factors to helping students with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities obtain good jobs. Some students that I've known in the past excelled or had strong ability in areas that were passionate hobbies of theirs. For example, I knew a cognitively impaired student who loved to watch sports. He was able to memorize tons of stats and related information about college and professional sports but then struggled in school. Obviously, abilities needed to learn successfully in school don't consist solely of memory abilities; however, there is something to be said for his level of motivation, or lack therof. If you could find a way to relate some academic material in a way that interests students, teachers may see more favorable outcomes in the classroom. Further, a mentor might encourage them to pursue a career in a field that is related to their interests and push them to at the very least show competency in areas in which they struggle. I think it's important for a positive role model to nurture students' likes and strengths as the progress in education. If someone discouraged me from pursuing what I loved I'd imagine feeling very hopeless about my future. Positive mentors and motivation are clearly not the solution to this problem, but they may play a part in helping or hindering special education students' success.

vincent said...

Even if the modifications help the students out academically, the label is more emotionally damaging than the academic help in my opinion. I really think that being labeled as learning disabled crushes students' confidence, which in turn minimizes the effort they put forth in the class because they develop an internal locus of control. In my opinion, motivation and positive mentors are key factors to helping students with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities obtain good jobs. Some students that I've known in the past excelled or had strong ability in areas that were passionate hobbies of theirs. For example, I knew a cognitively impaired student who loved to watch sports. He was able to memorize tons of stats and related information about college and professional sports but then struggled in school. Obviously, abilities needed to learn successfully in school don't consist solely of memory abilities; however, there is something to be said for his level of motivation, or lack therof. If you could find a way to relate some academic material in a way that interests students, teachers may see more favorable outcomes in the classroom. Further, a mentor might encourage them to pursue a career in a field that is related to their interests and push them to at the very least show competency in areas in which they struggle. I think it's important for a positive role model to nurture students' likes and strengths as the progress in education. If someone discouraged me from pursuing what I loved I'd imagine feeling very hopeless about my future. Positive mentors and motivation are clearly not the solution to this problem, but they may play a part in helping or hindering special education students' success.

christen0518 said...

What would I change about special education???? Hmmm… I wish that question were easy to sum up on a blog…I feel that a quick easy fix would be to educate parents on what is NOT being done in schools. The words, “I leave it to you, you are the professional” resonate…scratch that… SCREAM in my head. If parents were to understand child development, both normal and abnormal, it is likely that they would be able to see the signs of atypical development. This would be a catalyst to seek intervention early before a child even enters the school building. Yes, this would dramatically alter our job function and role, but this really would better the lives of children.

If parents only knew the statistic’s of special education and what some teachers consider a modification, they would be catapulted to learn and take action themselves before the “professionals” intervene. Let’s be honest, some professionals are not always professional nor do they have the best interest of the child in mind. So my friends, my rant about early education continues this time with another one of my favorites…parent involvement…because how can we help around the clock. We have all heard the phrase in some form of another, “…They come to us…we “fix” them and then they come back the next day and we have to start all over again…” This indicates the key involvement of parents in the lives of their children. If parents do not understand how to help their own children, then how can we see results?

Is the question really, “How do we change special education?” Should it not be, “How do we decrease the number of children referred to special education?” In short, if you want to make a change, start two steps back in order to fix the problem you are really after.

judy said...

So much to change, so little time…..so little cooperation…..
I would LOVE to see federally mandated, super high quality PRESCHOOL education. Hmmm… I wish I knew a lawyer who could tell me how to get the ball rolling on this…..

As for the job market, wouldn’t it make sense, under specific circumstances, to put students on vocational tracks early on, instead of leaving them behind academically? (thought we were not supposed to be leaving anyone behind)Why graduate academically mediocre (at best) students, with no motivation, who have been beat down and held back by special education, who lack positive role models and incentive to do better for themselves….. when years could have been spent in worthwhile, effective preparation for the job force???? Shouldn’t one of the goals of education be to make productive members of society, regardless of ability level?
I'm entirely too cynical today.....