The Big Picture
Professionals are dealing with a fragile entity, parental hope.
(Hart 1995, pp.58–59)
Bringing up and educating children is indeed a humbling experience. There has never been a shortage of theories on how to do so. Who would dispute the reputations of Dr. Spock, John Dewey, or Horace Mann? Yet, practical, everyday experience with children is an illuminating one: one which does not always follow the textbooks.
Parents and teachers of all children have an important moral and ethical responsibility; and it is best when we face this responsibility together. We create the lens through which our children see the world. We shape their thinking process, their social patterns, and their knowledge base. We organize and prioritize their growing minds. Finally, we germinate their opinions and their values. We bolster their self-esteem, and modify prejudices. Through our overt enthusiasm (or our covert silence), we get them ready for the world.
When we determine what children should learn, we must do so with conscientious deliberation and forethought. The outcome of their education is directly related to this process. This is an overwhelming task for everyone, but it is an especially daunting one when mapping the education for children with special needs.
Children learn what parents, teachers, and schools want them to. Most school communities are now able to gauge with precision and