Friday, July 02, 2010

Culture in Special Education - Work

Kalyanpur and Harry use "two criteria [to define] meaningful work: 1)It should be essential in that if one individual did not undertake the task another would have to, and 2) it should be paid." (p. 111)

We often hear the argument that one of the objectives of school is to prepare students for the world of work. In the case of special education students, it means specifically that parents and professionals will be setting goals for the work a student might do. At first read, I underlined the quote above and thought it was a good working definition of work. But, it was followed up with this, "As Harry and Kalyanpur pointed out, however, these criteria do not apply to all valued work even within the mainstream: work such as that of housewife... and that of an entertainer or an artist... These criteria also do not apply to entrepreneurs who create new new kinds of businesses for which there was no previous demand." (p. 111)

What is totally interesting to me is the arguments that we made for bringing laptops into the school mirror much closer the needs of the efforts that are outside the working definition of work. We never claimed that test scores would go up or that students would be better workers. We claimed they would be more creative, artistic, expressive, and musical because we see the laptops as the ultimate creativity machine. We claimed students would be more collaborative, and raising children requires support and collaboration. We claimed students would be more creative problem solvers, thinking outside the box like entrepreneurs.

May be this is cliche to say, but I am glad that we are not preparing students for the world of work. We are helping students become who God wants them to be. That will include using amazing skills in places of work and other places they never imagined to bring God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Posted via email from Jim's posterous

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