PROGRAMMING: ALIGNING TEACHER THOUGHT PROCESSES WITH THE CURRICULUM
Kenneth W. Howell Marcia R. Davidson Western Washington University
A few years ago Ken Howell bought a boat and took it out in the ocean off of the San Juan Islands in northwest Washington state. At one point the boat stopped and started leaking. Recognizing these occurrences as problems, Howell tried to figure out exactly what to do to correct the situation. At that time, he knew little about boats, which presented a completely different problem.
The story of Howell's boat, and his lack of knowledge about boats, serves as a good metaphor for the fix one finds oneself in while trying to develop a program for students with mild learning problems. First of all, given the current political context, and the increasing dissension regarding mildly disabled students within special education ( Zigmond et al., 1995), the image of a sinking ship seems uniquely applicable. Second, however, and more befitting to the theme of this part of this text, it raises certain propositions one must consider when discussing the topic of programming. These include: (a) the nature of need; (b) the nature of helping; (c) the general nature and purpose of problem solving; and (d) the quality of the various programming procedures and actions one must employ to recognize need, solve problems, and provide help for students with disabilities.
Students who need help should receive programs that supply quality services. These are developed through the process of problem definition and problem solving that we call Programming. Programming for students with mild disabilities (or even those with severe disabilities) involves a set of activities which, in order to be effective, must be grounded in the con-