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PROPOSED THESIS:

THE EDUCATION OF THE LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS IN THE


DIVISION OF MARINDUQUE: AN ASSESSMENT

Chapter I
THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND

Introduction

The offering of various curricular programs in Philippine educational system is one

of the many responses by the government to address specific needs of learners in the

country. These specific curricular programs being offered in basic education are anchored

on the premise that individual learners have different learning needs and interests that

can be addressed, improved or enhanced, thereby maximizing the potential of these

learners. However, the successful implementations of such programs depend on among

many factors which include the objectives of SPED, teachers, administrators, instructional

materials, equipment, facilities, ancillary personnel and parents.

The fundamental purposes of special education are the same as those of regular

education: the optimal development of the student as a skillful, free, and purposeful

person, able to plan and manage his or her own life and to reach his or her highest

potential as an individual and as a member of society. Indeed, special education

developed as a highly specialized area of education in order to provide children with

exceptionalities with the same opportunities as other children for a meaningful,

purposeful, and fulfilling life.

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Perhaps, the most important concept that has been developed in special education

as the result of experiences with learners with special needs is that of the fundamental

individualism of every child. The aspiration of special educators is to see every child as a

unique composite of potentials, abilities, and learning needs for whom an educational

program must be designed to meet his or her particular needs. From its beginnings,

special education had championed the cause of children with learning problems. It is as

the advocates of such children and of the concept of individualization that special

education can come to play a major creative role in the mainstream of education.

The special competencies of special educators are more than a collection of

techniques and skills. They comprise a body of knowledge, methods, and philosophical

tenets that are the hallmark of the profession. As professionals, special educators are

dedicated to the optimal education of learners with special education needs (LSEN) and

they reject the misconception of schooling that is nothing but custodial care.

The focus of all education should be the unique learning needs of the individual

child as a total functioning organism. All educators should recognize and accept that

special and regular education shares the same fundamental goals. Special education

expands the capacity of schools to respond to the educational needs of all students. As

advocates of the right of all children to an appropriate education, special educators affirm

their professionalism.

The focus of special education programs is to facilitate access to an appropriate

education, regardless of the disability, to help the student achieve academic and life

success. Special education programs facilitate academic progress by providing the least

restrictive environment and tailoring instruction and assessment to the individual. A

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written plan, called an Individual Education Program or IEP is drawn up to outline special

accommodations and modifications within the educational environment for each special

education student. This plan's focus is structuring the elements that drive the educational

process -- instruction and assessment -- so that the individual can benefit from the

educational environment. Without this specialize educational plan, the student's disability

might stymie educational efforts.

In some Special Education Program, learners with special needs (LSEN) are

routinely included in the general education environment, a strategy referred to as

inclusion. The inclusion environment not only facilitates academic progress, but also acts

to socialize special education students. This socialization is vital to their personal growth

and learning social skills that will be useful in the workforce.

Moreover, some special education programs are geared toward teaching life skills,

such as dressing, personal hygiene, safety, handling money and day to day decision

making. Students in these programs are also educated on workplace expectations and

often engage in programs that provide workplace training. For example, the local food

chain joint may employ one or more of these students during a period of the school day

so that they can get some on-the-job experience. These special programs are essential

if these students are to eventually enjoy any degree of self-sufficiency.

Similarly, Special education programs also teach behavior that is appropriate and

acceptable by society. Some students with disabilities may exhibit behaviors that are

objectionable, offensive or disruptive to social and classroom situations. Special

education allows for some tolerance of these behaviors within the instructional

environment, as teachers work to educate the student academically and behaviorally.

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Students who are overly aggressive or exhibit behaviors that are socially inappropriate

benefit from special education programs.

Background of the Study

Special education (also known as special needs education, aided education,

vocational education, and limb care authority education) is the practice of educating

students with special educational needs in a way that addresses their individual

differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and

systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and

materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help learners with

special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school

and their community, than may be available if the student were only given access to a

typical classroom education.

In the recent report of the Department of Education (2017), the DepEd ensures

inclusive education for learners with special needs, this is in line with the Department’s

thrust in providing quality and inclusive basic education for all, the Department of

Education (DepEd) continues to provide the necessary educational interventions for

learners with certain exceptionalities through its Special Education (SPED) program.

Accordingly, the SPED program of DepEd provides a holistic approach in catering

to the needs of learners with various exceptionalities. This program ensures that learners

with exceptionalities will have access to quality education by giving them their individual

and unique learning needs. This initiative caters to learners with visual impairment,

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hearing impairment, intellectual disability, learning disability, autism spectrum disorder,

communication disorder, physical disability, emotional and behavioral disorder, multiple

disability with visual impairment, and to those who are orthopedically handicapped,

chronically ill, and gifted and talented.

Up to date, DepEd has recognized a total of 648 SPED Centers and regular

schools offering the program—471 of which are catering to elementary pupils and 177

are catering to high School students. The Education Department has recorded around

250,000 enrollees with certain exceptionalities at the elementary level and around

100,000 at the high school level in school year 2015-2016 (DepEd, 2017).

Despite the initiative and several steps provided by the Department of Education

to the continuous implementation of the Special Education Program in selected schools

across country, there are still many challenges and problems encountered in the

implementation of the Special Education Program across country.

In the Division of Marinduque, there 34 teachers handling learners with special

educational needs, 17 of them are Special Education Program teachers (SPEt) or with

plantilla item as SPEt while the remaining 17 are resource teachers, handling LSEN but

with plantilla item of regular classroom teacher. It can be deduced that some teachers

who are handling learners with special needs in the Division of Marinduque are non-

specialized of the program, thus, the teaching of LSEN is at stake, because the teachers

may not possess the competencies and skills needed to handle LSEN. Also, teachers

may not be equipped with the strategies, methods, and techniques in teaching learners

with special needs. They might be teaching LSEN with the strategies of teaching

kindergarten because they were not trained to teach children with special needs.

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Moreover, there are observations, that some facilities are lacking for specific

disability, for instance, braille for the blind, and hearing aid for the deaf. In addition, it has

been observed that the disability of some children are not properly assessed, for instance,

a child with learning disability (LD) may have another disability, which were only

discovered during the teaching.

With this background, the research aims to find out whether the schools in the

Division of Marinduque offering Special Education programs meet the objectives of the

educating learners with special needs.

Theoretical Framework of the Study

The study is anchored on the theories of assessment. It is emphasized that

assessment can be elaborated as a concept by looking into the following perspectives

and contexts: (1) outcomes of schooling (Brady & Kennedy, 2003), (2) economy

(Tapscott, 2005), (3) equity (Kennedy, 2000), (4) accountability (Linn, 2000) and, (5)

personal fulfilment and satisfaction (Smith & Goodwin, 2000). It is believed that these

perspectives and contexts significantly shape how the school system and the society in

general perceive assessment for children with disabilities (Brady & Kennedy, 2003;

Tapscott, 2005; Kennedy, 2000; Linn, 2000; Smith & Goodwin, 2000).

On outcome of school perspective, it is important to highlight that because of the

fact that young people are considered the citizens of the future, the society as a whole

takes an interest in the outcomes of schooling (Brady & Kennedy, 2003). This perspective

highlights the different and contradicting interests or expectations of the community

stakeholders - students, parents, business and industry, governments - about the role of

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assessment in relation to the outcomes of schooling. This is the reason why in the school

setting, teachers may be faced with a challenging task of meeting and reconciling the

differing interests and expectations of the community stakeholders. For the business and

industry owners, for example, they are not ashamed to take the interest that young people

who leave school can directly contribute to their economic activities. This scenario

significantly contributes to one of the economic implications of assessment - knowledge

economy.

As to economic contexts, this perspective, Tapscott (2005) focuses on knowledge

economy as a concept related to assessment. Knowledge economy, as he defines it, “is

based on the application of human know-how to everything we produce and how we

produce it” (p. 7). This means that ‘knowledge economy’ is dependent on intelligent

people who have the capacity to solve problems and create new and innovative ideas for

a consumer-oriented society (Tapscott, 2005).

For equity, Kennedy (2000) emphasized that assessment has the potential to

influence the social contexts of students in different ways. He adds that it can exacerbate

social problems if assessment outcomes are interpreted outside of the social contexts

they inevitably influence. Smith and Goodwin (2000) support Kennedy’s idea by

concluding, “assessment can alert us to potential social problems and inequities and

provide the grounds on which specific action can be taken” (p. 98).

Equity brings the different issues of assessment being a discriminatory aspect to

students’ ethnicity, language, and ability or disability (Kennedy, 2000). This is primarily

because in a number of instances, for example, students are compelled to take

assessments using languages that are not necessarily their own. Expectedly, as Smith

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and Goodwin (2000) assert, “the students get low scores and are then labelled as slow

or low performing” (p. 25).

This brings to the question, “how accountable are the policy makers, government,

and the society in general in ensuring that the assessment processes bring positive

impacts to schooling, rather than making them an agent to label and discriminate

students”?

On accountability as a perspective to assessment, refers to “processes related to

student learning, the expenditure of public funds, and aligning educational outcomes with

the perceived needs of society and the economy” (Linn, 2000, p. 3). This concept is

directly linked with the teachers and the education authorities primarily because they play

a central role in accountability processes and they are often held to be accountable for

the broad outcomes of schooling.

With regard to personal fulfilment and satisfaction, Smith and Goodwin (2000), in

elaborating this perspective, recognize the concept of student-centred assessment, which

involves being in “constant conversation with the children about the sense they are

making of their work, what it is they are learning and doing” (p. 103). This means that

assessment takes the responsibility of being alert to where children are, how they are

responding to lessons and activities, and how they are or are not progressing. Genishi

(2000) asserts that “nothing is scientific about this kind of assessment – it is based on

developing a relationship with students, knowing who they are and being interested in

who they are become” (p. 26). In addition, it is critical to emphasize that the perspective

of personal fulfilment and satisfaction brings the progressivist notion that children are able

to construct their own knowledge in meaningful ways, and they make meaning of the

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world around them and they do so in deliberate and purposeful ways (Smith & Goodwin,

2000).

It is also anchored on the researcher’s own concept on the importance of

assessing the education of the learners with special needs in terms of teaching,

strategies, methods, techniques used by the teachers, the facilities, instructional

materials, and equipment used in teaching, the support of the administrators, parents and

other stakeholders on the Special Program implementation in the Division of Marinduque.

Thus, the study focused itself in assessing the education of the learners with

special education programs in the division of Marinduque since its operation in 1997 to

present.

Statement of the Problem

The main focus of the study is to assess the education of the learners with special

needs in the Special Education Program in the Division of Marinduque.

Specifically, it seeks answers to the following questions:

1. What is the extent of attainment of the objectives in educating the learners with

special education needs (LSEN)?

2. How effective are the teaching methods, techniques, and strategies used in

educating learners with special needs?

3. How adequate are the instructional materials, equipment, and facilities used in

educating the learners with special needs?

4. How adequate are the supports of administrators, parents, and external

stakeholders to the education of the learners with special needs?

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5. What is the degree of seriousness of the problems encountered in educating the

learners with special needs?

6. What intervention can be proposed to improve the education of learners with

special needs?

Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study focuses on assessing the education of the learners with special

education needs (LSEN) in the Division of Marinduque for SY 2018-2019.

It covers the following variables, the extent of attainment of the objectives in

education the learners with special needs, the level of effectiveness of the teaching

methods, techniques, and strategies used in educating learners with special needs, the

adequacy of the instructional materials, equipment, and facilities used in educating the

learners with special education needs, the adequacy of the supports of administrators,

parents, and external stakeholders to the education of the learners with special needs,

and the degree of seriousness of the problems encountered in educating the learners

with special needs.

It involves the 17 teachers with SPET item, and the 17 Resource Teachers with

plantilla item of regular teachers with a total of 34 teachers in the 14 elementary schools

in the seven districts of the Division of Marinduque namely, Boac North, Buenavista,

Gasan, Santa Cruz East, Santa Cruz North, Santa Cruz South, and Torrijos. In addition,

it also involves the administrators of 14 schools that offers Special Education program as

respondents of the study.

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Significance of the Study

Assessment is a management tool. It is an indispensable function of national

management. Assessing the education of the learners in the Special Education Program

in the Division of Marinduque is deemed significant in obtaining and providing useful

information for judging decision in the implementation of the program.

As a consequence of the study, this may give significance to the following:

This study may give ideas to the key persons and Special Education Program

implementers in the Division of Marinduque for the improvement of planning and

implementation of the Special Education Program. Through this study, the problems

encountered by the program implementers may be identified and then remedial measures

can be applied.

This study may give light to the reactions or attitudes of the School administrators

and SPED Teachers towards the implementation of the Special Education Program,

specifically the teaching of learners with special needs, as one of the government and

DepEd thrusts.

For the teachers the SPED teachers and resource teachers, results of this study

may determine their strength and weaknesses to which may lead for planning towards

professionalism and enhancing teaching competencies in terms of methods, strategies

and techniques for teaching children with special needs.

For the parents, they may continue to cooperate and support their children

especially those with special needs for their guidance.

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For the stakeholders, the result of this study may broaden their mind, to give heart

with helping hands and open opportunities for learners with special needs.

This may benefit for all the learners with special needs in the Division of

Marinduque to access equal opportunities in Education.

For other schools without the Special Education Program but have clienteles, this

study may inspire them to open the program in their respective schools.

The study excludes Boac South and Mogpog districts, hence, these districts are

not yet offering Special Education Program in any of their schools. Also, the study

excludes the gifted and talented learners because these learners are taught under Head

Start Program. The parameters are inclusive to those learners with specific disability such

as specific learning disability, intellectual disability (mental retardation), severe disabilities

(autism and cerebral palsy), hearing impairment, physical impairment, speech and

language disorders/communication; and emotional behavioral problem.

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