Tuesday, April 24, 2012

IEPs _ Individual education plans - CPS/RDI and the autistic spectrum

The pedagogy of poverty discriminates not only against poor children and their families but also against kids who receive ' special ed' ,  or are behaviorally challenged. The IEPs – the individual education plans   that are supposed to remediate their problems  often fail them because they do not  address kids' needs for autonomy , competence and relatedness.

'In 1991, Martin Haberman, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, coined the phrase “pedagogy of poverty.” Based on his observations in thousands of urban classrooms, Haberman described a tightly controlled routine in which teachers dispense, and then test students on, factual information; assign seatwork; and punish noncompliance.  It is a regimen, he said, “in which learners can ‘succeed’ without becoming either involved or thoughtful” -- and it is noticeably different from the questioning, discovering, arguing, and collaborating that is more common (though by no means universal) among students in suburban and private schools.'  - Alfie Kohn

The same approach – a top-down drill and skill approach   is used for special ed kids or kids whose  cognitive skills are lagging behind.  The truth is that these kids need a   constructivist   approach more than regular kids. All kids need a constructivist approach to help them develop a love of learning and to become creative and critical learners. The challenging kids need the approach to also help them overcome developmental   delays and promote cognitive skills that they can use in dynamic environments.  Teaching kids skills like a pet dog in a static way does not promote dynamic skills. Teaching that focuses on kids' thinking and how they make meaning of what they learn will promote skills.

Teachers need to undergo a paradigm shift and focus more on ' guiding ' and less on 'getting' certain responses and certain things from their child. Deborah Meier, the esteemed educationalist said that teaching is more about listening and learning is more about talking. Here is an article by Libby Majewski  , a RDI relationship development intervention consultant – http://www.rdiconnect.com/tips-on-creating-an-iep/  Tips on creating an IEP

She recommends a teaching and communication style that uses a lot of non-verbal communication, the use of indirect prompts and hints rather than telling them or direct prompts.  We should give them more time to process language by waiting longer for responses, share  experiences, and use  'declarative ' language to introduce open-ended questions. Expressive language which is driven by the kid's thinking and autonomy is far more important than answering questions or quizzes.

These   tips however are only a part of the plan. They focus on teaching skills ' in the moment ' , as part of one's  general interaction with kids. The IEP also needs to include the collaborative problem solving of the kid's pile of specific   unsolved problems which are predictably occurring on a regular basis.
IEPs should be replaced with the CPS Plan ( collaborative problem solving Plan ) – CPS Individual education plan  and include the RDI – relationship development intervention plan

1 comment:

  1. Allan, I totally agree w/ you. What a wonderful model we would have if we consistently blended Collaborative Problem Solving (as in Ross Greene, correct?) alongside a solid developmental understanding of where the child is and how to help them get to the next step (as in RDI). A marriage made in heaven, I think! Thanks for the mention.