A Family's
Culture:
Impacting
Educational
Services.
Introduction
Overview
Varying cultural complexity is found in modern-day
families and may impact the education and services
provided to students with disability. Families of
different culture may hold conflicting values,
norms, customs and practices which may impact the
services they choose to accept or the services that
may be provided to them. Understanding and
building on a family’s cultural interpretations of
disability is essential in creating partnerships
with parents of children receiving special
education services. Parent beliefs about the
nature of disability are related to parent beliefs
about and participation in treatment and
intervention. The disproportionate representation
of racial and ethnic minorities in special education
and the inequities in educational opportunities are
among some of the trending issues impacting the
educational system. When a careful examination is
made of today's world, minorities and cultural
diversity goes hand in hand. Similarly, students
from some racial and ethnic minority backgrounds
are more likely to be disproportionately placed in
special education programs and classes; impacting
he education and services provided to these
students. Also, a family's culture may influence
their belief system, and may not readily accept
special services that are provided for a disabled
member of their household; which will therefore
impact and limit the services provided to that
students with disability. A family's culture may
influence the language they speak and may pose a
challenge as they enter a new culture that speaks a
different language. Due to diversity in language,
these parents may not readily communicate factors
affecting their disabled child and as a result may
impact the education and services that are provided
to them.
Disproportionate
Representation
The disproportionate representation of
racial and ethnic minorities in special education
and the inequities in educational opportunities
are among some of the trending issues
impacting the educational system. When a
careful examination is made of today's world,
minorities and cultural diversity goes hand in
hand. Similarly, students from some racial and
ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to
be disproportionately placed in special
education programs and classes. Also, these
students are usually underrepresented when
quality services and programmes are compared
with their white counterpart .But the question
remains," Why are there so many minority
students in special education?" Without a
doubt, there are varying factors that cause the
overrepresentation of minority students in
special education. Some of these factors include
inadequate and inappropriate referral,
insufficient assessment, cultural differences and
evaluation procedures. Economic and Social
status have also played a tremendous role with
the overrepresentation of minority groups
within Special Education. Students of these
families are sometimes deems as under-
privileged as a result, the needed assessments
are not done to ascertain certain key factors that
may be affecting the students and their needs.
As a result, these students are misclassified or
inappropriately placed in special education
programmes; whereby increasing the number of
minority students within the programmes.
Without a doubt, it is important that
teachers, administrators and professional in the
field understand that they have a great role in
ensuring that students are properly diagnosed
and given the suitable help needed. This will
help to bridge the gaps within the education
system and eradicate disproportionate
representation. Teachers who do not have an
understanding of their students' cultural
differences may make misinformed referrals
and may take into consideration how these
students are socialized or customs and practices
that may influence their behaviour. Educators
need to understand that learning is diverse and
may take place differently across culture and
family. Teachers’ knowledge about and
attitudes toward cultural diversity are powerful
determinants of learning opportunities and
outcomes for ethnically different students.
Similarities (and
other important
factors) among
Multi-Cultural and
Special Education
Multicultural Education and Special Education
have many things in common. They share
similarities in "historical roots, philosophies,
theories, and pedagogies"- Irvine, J. J. (2012).
Both Multicultural and special education share
similar ideals about fairness, social justice,
equity and critical consciousness. Instructional
principles in both multi-cultural and special
education follow a student centered guideline
and students are seen as key priority in the
learning setting. Differentiated instruction is among
the instructional strategies used and students are
able to make meaningful connections as they learn
at their level and gradually advance. Within both
educational setting, much is expected of the
students and the teachers seek to avoid deficit
thinking and stereotypic behaviours.
Although Multicultural and Special
Education share many similarities, there are also
trending issues that are of concern. Issues such as
disproportionate representation, cultural
misunderstanding, tension between home and
school and limited funding. Overall, students of
different groups should be identified for special
education in similar proportions. Classroom in
today's 21st century is diverse and teachers need to
be culturally responsive to appeal to how these
student learn and how what is taught. Teachers need
to use research based practices that work and
learning strategies that appeal to students of diverse
culture. Students need to be engaged in high-level
cognitive activities that challenge them to think
critical and soar for excellence.
Culturally
Responsive
Pedagogy
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is a
student-centered approach to teaching. The premise
of this approach takes into consideration the leaner
and how culture helps to shape learning and the
students’ unique cultural strengths are identified and
nurtured to promote student achievement and a
sense of well-being about the student’s cultural
place in the world- Lynch (2012). To be effective in
multicultural classrooms, teachers must relate
teaching content to the cultural backgrounds of their
students. Culturally Responsive Pedagogy can be
divided into a three functional dimensional: the
institutional dimension, the personal dimension, and
the instructional dimension. According to Lynch
(2102), the institutional dimension emphasizes the
need to reform the cultural factors affecting the
organization of schools, school policies and
procedures and community involvement. The
personal dimension refers to the process by which
teachers learn new techniques and become
culturally responsive, while the instructional
dimension refers to practices and challenges
associated with implementing cultural
responsiveness in the classroom.
According to Griner, A. and Stewart,
M.(2012). " Culturally responsive practices in
schools and classrooms have been shown to be
an effective means of addressing the
achievement gap as well as the disproportionate
representation of racially, culturally, ethnically,
and linguistically diverse students in programs
serving students with special needs." It is there
important that educators use culturally responsive
pedagogy to guide their practice and view the
learning arena with a multicultural view in mind;
catering for children of diverse ethnicity and
culture. Culturally responsive practice embodies the
use of innovative strategies in education that
facilitates diverse teaching techniques that
accommodates cultural diversities in the learners. It
may also includes making various accommodations
to allow students to succeed academically despite
the cultural beliefs , traditions, customs and
background that the students may bring to the
learning environment.
References
Griner, A. and Stewart, M.(2012). Achievement
Gap and Disproportionality Through the
Use of Culturally Responsive Teaching
Practices. Retrieved from
https://fiu.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/
pid-5036748-dt-content-rid-
48815858_1/courses/1168-
EEX6756XDB1168_msspeol-T.pdf
Irvine, J. J. (2012). Complex relationships
between multicultural education and
special education: An African American
perspective. Journal of Teacher
Education, 63(4), 268-274. Retrieved
fromhttp://ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=htt
p://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.fiu.edu
/docvi ew/114
0128332?accountid=10901
Lynch, M.(2012).What Is Culturally Responsive
Pedagogy? Retrieved on November 23,
2016 from-
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-
lynch-edd/culturally-responsive-
pedagogy_b_1147364.html