Tag Archives: Inclusive education

Words HURT…

Image credit: http://www.tolerance.org/bully-at-blackboard
Image credit: Mark McGinnis

“Teacher, I forgot to do my homework”

“Why haven’t you forgotten your head instead?”

Most of the teachers at my elementary school felt themselves responsible for making us pay for our errors by punishing, humiliating in front of the class or even calling our parents. I always felt sorry for one boy, Utegenov, who usually had to stand in front of the class while listening to the teacher’s sermons. His head down, he would then follow her finger which pointed to the corner of the classroom. Did it change anything? No. Every day was Groundhog Day for him. Lessons associated with humiliation and fear of failure are never going to inspire children to study. The students learn best in a mistake-friendly environment and when they are told that making mistakes is normal.

Just out of curiosity, I tried typing “дети учатся лучше когда …” (students learn best when) on the search engine and the findings were not surprising at all. “When parents believe in them” and “when they do mistakes” are the most popular ones. One of the reasons of fearing failure is high expectations (Steifer, 2001). It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that parents believe in their child’s abilities. The notion that the failure equals intellectual inferiority is fundamentally wrong. Students who are afraid to fail are most likely to abate their efforts next time (Cole, 2014). There is even a word for the fear of failure – atychiphobia. To change the attitude towards the mistakes, children should be taught that failures are inevitable and they should be viewed as valuable lessons.

By creating a psychologically safe place for children, it is likely that we diminish the chance that students will become reluctant to learn. According to the most eminent proponent of human development theory, Albert Bandura (1989), it is crucial that one has a belief in one’s own efficacy:

Persons who have a strong sense of efficacy deploy their attention and effort to the demands of the situation and are spurred by obstacles to greater effort (p. 394).

Hence, one particular solution comes to my mind. Imagine those children so excited to write their first letters at class, pinching the pen between those little thumb and point finger. They do their best to write correctly and neatly, but mostly they fail to do it the first times and unmerciful red “F” is written in their workbooks. Imagine another situation where children are given pencils instead of pens. They would be able to erase their mistakes and have a chance to correct them – this would be a good lesson to start with. Helping children to perceive their mistakes positively is priceless. Even when we have to discipline children, teachers and adults should uphold the dignity of the children because as in the case of Utegenov, humiliation never worked and never will.


Bandura, A. (1989). Regulation of cognitive processes through perceived self-efficacy. Developmental psychology, 25(5), 394.

Cole, S. “Fail again. Fail better.” Failure in the Creative Process. Steifer, S. J. (2001, 10). Don’t let fear of failure hold you back! Current Health 1, 25, 14-16. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/209833604?accountid=134066

Steifer, S. J. (2001,10). Don’t let fear of failure hold you back! Current Health 1, 25, 14-16. Retrieved from http://http://search.proquest.com/docview/209833604?accountid=134066

Children with disabilities’ development outside the school.


Children with disabilities often have weaknesses in the areas of communication and socialization and a variety of actions, like preparing for everyday life, communicating with animals, listening or performing music are used to enhance their abilities in skills’ acquisition.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a way to teach the children with special needs to be as independent as possible and also their parents how to help them. A variety of specializations exist in that field: some are experts on different diseases, others work with distinct age groups and thirds use different approaches. Occupational therapy with a sensory integration approach was established by Jean Ayres for children with difficulties in sensory data processing (Schaaf & Miller, 2005).

There are different types of activities that are being improved:

– self care (eating, dressing, toileting, bathing and grooming);

– school (adapting to regular school);

– play (interacting);

– environment (participating);

– motor skills & handwriting;

– splinting.

This therapy was oriented initially on children with learning disabilities, but after some experiments therapists applied it on other patients (autism spectrum disorders, regulatory disorders, attention deficit disorder, fragile X syndrome).

Pet therapy

“Dogs and humans became best friends in Europe more than 18000 years ago.”

Saey, 2013, p. 6.

That interaction between animals and people started when they were used as defenders, totems, and helpers and were an important part of everyday human life. Also pets operated as healers; nowadays this cooperation between a trained animal, patient and a therapist called animal-assisted therapy. The main goal of which is to develop social, physical and emotional functions of a person being treated (Braun, Stangler, Narveson & Pettingell, 2009).

The target population of that kind of therapy is people with physical and mental disabilities, elderly, chronically ill patients and children. The latter group is being most effectively treated by pet therapy. Animals – not only dogs, cats and dolphins, but also horses, birds and fish – could increase child’s bonds with their environment (Odendaal, 2000).

Music therapy

Music therapy is another way to help children to enhance their abilities and develop their social, physical and oral-motor skills. More specifically, music may facilitate communicative responsiveness in children with disabilities. In addition, music can stimulate spontaneous speech.

During therapy, all children show increased communicative responsiveness, suggesting that music therapy may be effective in increasing communicative behaviors in children with autism and severe communication impairment (Braithwaite & Sigafoos, 1998).

Considered in total, occupational, animal-assisted and music therapies may lead to increased communication among children with various special needs and to develop a lot of other skills that sometimes cannot be achieved at school .


Braithwaite, M., & Sigafoos, J. (1998). Effects of social versus musical antecedents on communication responsiveness in five children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Music Therapy, 35(2), 88-104.

Braun, C., Stangler, T., Narveson, J., & Pettingell, S. (2009). Animal-assisted therapy as a pain relief intervention for children. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 15(2), 105-109.

Odendaal, J. S. J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy – magic or medicine? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 49(4), 275-280.

Saey, T. H. (2013). Modern dogs originated in Europe. Society for Science and the Public, 184(12), 6.

Schaaf, R. C., & Miller, L. J. (2005). Occupational therapy using a sensory integrative approach for children with developmental disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 11(2), 143-148.

Article 31, Section 1

…. of the South Korean Constitution affirms that all students in South Korea have a right to be educated equally based on their abilities (Constitution of South Korea, 1948). On the basis of this article, in 1977, the Special Education Promotion Act (SEPA) protected the right of people to get equal education throughout the country. Since that period, educational opportunities have risen for people with special needs extremely in terms of educational institutions, number of programmes and other opportunities. The number of students with special needs who were educated in schools increased from 1343 in 1962 to 53,404 in 2003 (Kwon, 2005). In this regard, inclusiveness has become one of the central matter in education in South Korea. Many researchers and education practitioners believe that inclusion is necessary for people with different disabilities to keep equal educational opportunities and social participation within the country.

In 1935, Chang-Ho Lee built a Kwangmyung school for learners with visual impairments in Pyung-Yang (Chang, 1996; Lee, 1995). Since, the system of inclusive education has dramatically changed and reconstructed. Present South Korean people with special needs can get education in three directions: special schools, special classes in regular schools, and regular classes in regular schools (Kwon, 2005). Approximately 53,404 children with different health impairments receive education within the primary and secondary level. Amidst them 24,192 students were educated in special schools, 26,868 students were in special classes, and 2,344 which is over 4% of students were fully educated in regular classes with the assistance of tutors for 2003 (MEHR, 2003). As it is seen, special schools and special classes in regular schools are mostly used for children’s study.

According to several scholars (An, 1969; Lee, 2000; Lim, 2001), people usually perceive students with special education needs (SEN) as stubborn, irresponsible, unsocialised, and incapable. Because of such negative attitudes about people with disabilities, majority of students and their parents prefer to be isolated as having a disability.
In regualr classrooms, students ususally wish to stay without any support rather than getting appropriate services for their needs (Jung, 2002). Also, many students with special needs do not want to be included, but want to go to separate special schools with similar peers (Seo et al., 1992). In this sense, families believe that if a child with SEN will be educated in special school, this will be more beneficial for him or her.
Another pity point is that even professionals such as social workers and special education teachers working with students with SEN, sometimes are not concious and aware about the significance of inclusion (Shin, 1998). As Kwon, (2005) claims: “Many special education professionals in South Korea believe the benefits for children educated in a segregated system outnumber the harmful effects, and argue that regular schools do not have the ability to serve most students with disabilities.” Because of these several reasons special education services are still catered mainly in special schools in South Korea.

Many countries operate in different manner for inclusion. This is my peace of information I wanted to share with you. What do you know about other countries’ efforts toward inclusion?


An, T. Y. (1969). A study of traditional Korean thought toward the handicapped. Unpublished master’s thesis, Korean Social Work College, Taegu, Korea.

Chang, S. (1996). The effect of special class management in children’s learning achievement and attitude change. Unpublished master’s thesis, Chonnam National University, Korea.

Constitution of South Korea. (1948). Reauthorization in 1987. Article 31, Section 1 (1987). In Chang, K. S. (1996). The effect of special class management in children’s learning achievement and attitude change. Unpublished master’s thesis, Chonnam National University, Korea.

Jung, D. Y. (2002). The issues and tasks in the concept and diagnostic assessment of learning disabilities. Journal of Emotional Disturbances & Learning Disabilities, 18, 63–87.

Kwon, H. (2005) Inclusion in South Korea: The current situation and future directions.International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. 52(1), 59-68, DOI: 10.1080/10349120500071910

Lee, S. J. (1995). The historical study about the special education administration in Korea. Unpublished master’s thesis, Cheju University, Korea.

Lee, H. B. (2000). A study on the awareness of and attitude toward the persons with disability: Focused on the social workers in Kangsuh-Ku. Unpublished master’s thesis, Hansung University, Seoul, Korea.

Lim, R. (2001). Study on changes in public attitudes towards people with disabilities through Korean literature. Unpublished master’s thesis, Yongin University, Korea.

Ministry of Education and Human Resources (2003). Special education annual report to congress. Seoul, Korea: Ministry of Education and Human Resources.

Seo, G., Oakland, T., Han, S., & Hu, S. (1992). Special education in South Korea. Exceptional Children, 58, 213–218.

Shin, S. (1998). A study of teachers’ perceptions toward the inclusion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Taegu University, Korea.

Classical organizational theory

Dear HE, SL, MA, and Inclusive education, I want to share with you some ideas from Organiztional Behavior and Governance classes. We all more or less will work in organizations and this information can be useful. I want to start from the begining of the “organizational era”, from classical organizational theory. It includes historical roots of the organizations.

It is hard to say at what time exactly the Classical Organization Theory exist. It is usually associated with industrialization period in Great Britain, when huge factories operated, because it is the field of organization. However the roots of management come from ancient time of Moses and Socrates. The idea of Socrates is that good manager in one field can operate successfully in another field. The reason of it is that any organizations have the same structure, even if the goal of organizations is different (p. 27). Classical organization theory is the first fundamental theory, which is true even in our time. It was modernized, but basic features remain the same. According to Shafrits et all. (2005) they are: Org-n exist to accomplish production – related and economic goals; there is one best way to organize production, and that way can be found through systematic, scientific inquiry; production is maximized through specialization and division of labor; people and organizations act in accordance with rational economic principles (p.28). The way organization operates reflects the need of the time, the social values. In the past, organization was viewed as a machine. Workers were not individuals, but elements of those machines. To use all possibilities of machines were key to success. And it means that workers had an idea of “the best way” to organize production.

There are several important people. First, Adam Smith, the father of economics, found correlation between economics and organizations. His main idea was division of labor. The second name is Daniel C. McCallum, the authority of American railroad industry; his main idea was division of responsibilities. Next is Frederick Winslow Taylor, found general applicable principles of administration trough scientific investigation- “scientific management”. It helps to raise productivity, spirit of workers, rise profit. He made possible to plan and control organizational operations. His theory later started to call Taylorism movement. However the first man who developed comprehensive theory is Henri Fayol (french). He theorizes all elements needed to organize and manage big organizations .Max Weber studied bureaucratic organizations. Core of any org-ns: economic, social, political. Daniel A. Wren wrote that management is a process which reflects to the cultural environment.

To crown it all classical organization theory based on the “one best way” approach. One best way can be used in any given production task, therefore it can be used in any task of social organization.


Shafritz , J.M. , Ott, J.S.,  Jang, Y.S. (2005). Classics of Organizational Theory,  Cengage


Is it fair that Inclusive schools does not include children with Down Syndrome in Kazakhstan?

http://http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://d1435t697bgi2o.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/social-exclusion.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/dont-work-on-your-401k-those-days-you-feel-left-out-64114/&h=400&w=600&tbnid=aXIVDN_wTM_uQM:&zoom=1&docid=9lsR75pRr3vTnM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CFcQMygwMDA We all know that by 2020 70% of schools should be inclusive. But, have you ever thought about who will attend this school? What type of disability among children will deserve to be known as “educable”? Few days ago I met one woman. She has a four-year old daughter with Down syndrome. To my surprise, her daughter is highly developed; she speaks, understands and does things just as other kids are doing.  I had a great conversation with that woman, we had one thing in common (beside of being mothers of girls with Down syndrome). Similarly to me she had negative experience with Psychological- Medical and Pedagogical Commission (further PMPC). She asked advice, as PMPC did not want to send her daughter to the advanced special group in the kindergarten (integrated groups in the kindergarten are not similar, one group is attended by speechless children, another –advanced, by children with minor delayments), and further, even if the girl will continue to make progress in her development, PMPC denied to send her to inclusive school. They convinced their rejection with facts that children with Down syndrome has psychological problems and their presence among typically developed children is unsafe for latter, moreover legislation system of Kazakhstan do not allow children with such diagnosis attend normal or inclusive school. Overall, having being humiliated, poor woman decided to move to Russia, where her daughter can easily attend inclusive school. http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/pictures/620xAny/0/3/3/2077033_Screen-Shot-2014-02-06-at-18.01.40.png&imgrefurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/group-risk/group-risk-features/exclusion-confusion/2006377.article&h=371&w=620&tbnid=tPDgXE-CpYW_qM:&zoom=1&docid=FbJRdkeFYkhgCM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CCYQMygMMAw Currently, Psychological-medical- and- pedagogical commission (PMPC) is the key stakeholder in special education in Kazakhstan. The PMPC is responsible for diagnosis, assessment, and determination of treatment, training and education. They develop individual programs for each child, and monitor their progress. PMPC provides assessment for all children after they are 4 year old, and before other transition within the educational system. In other words, PMPC makes decision, whether a child with disability can attend special school or his developmental level is low. In another words, it is the organization, which provides individual approach in choosing the educational niche for children with disabilities. Let me clarify one thing, we all think that children with special needs are covered with special education, because all children must attend school because it is obligatory. But unfortunately, children with special have to prove PMPC that they are knowledgeable and deserve place in special school and kindergarten. So by looking to the answers of that woman’s questions, I started skimming different types of documents and laws, and there were no word in them, that children with Down syndrome cannot attend the inclusive schools. It was unfair from the side of PMPC not to include this girl to the special advanced group in the kindergarten, and this would be severe discrimination to reject sending her to inclusive school, even if she will have required abilities. I am finishing this blog with a sad sense, because there are still unwritten rules discriminating vulnerable children and excluding them from proper education and society. Can we as future leaders challenge this system or not????

Synesthesia Superpower – Embrace it!


Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRbebvoYqI&feature=youtu.be

What color is letter “A” in your mind? How does green color sound in your head? – Are you able to answer these questions without hesitation?

So, if the letter A in your head is of a red color, or purple, or even white as snow and if green color sounds like the growl of a dog or like a heartbeat or if it doesn’t sound anyhow but smells like grandmamma’s baked bread, congratulations, you are a synesthete!

What does it mean? Don’t worry, synesthesia nor is the name of a sect, neither it is a new crossfit movement. Basically, synesthesia is a superpower ability to perceive the world through various senses. It is a condition, when the stimulation of one sense may arouse other senses at once due to the neuro-connectivity increase (Nunn, et al., 2002). That is, when figures, dates, sentences or music transform into personalities, colors or smells or anything else in your mind involuntarily. Literally, when you can feel the taste of Homer’s “Illiad” or the smell of the “Yellow Submarine” by Beatles in your head.


Image source: rabiscos.madeincoimbra.org

The most popular synesthesia type is assumed to be coloured hearing, when sounds and music are perceived as colors. That is why, many famous musicians are appeared to be synesthetes, like talented Russian composer Nikolay Rimski-Korsakov, famous American composers Duke Ellington and Billy Joel, French composer Olivier Messiaen and classical pianist Hélène Grimaud and my favorite musician and singer Pharrel Williams. Likewise, such brilliant artists as Kandinsky and David Hockney had this ability along with an author of “Lolita”, Vladimir Nabokov, who perceived the letters of Russian alphabet as various tastes.

And referring to the learning theory, learning processes can be fostered by using multiple techniques, because it is more likely that the visual information supported with the sounds will be sent to the long-term memory, thus, improving the overall intellectual potential of a learner. In this case, being a synesthete can become an advantageous trait. However, in order to make maximum use of this opportunity, one must be aware of this condition and should recognize it. Because unless you are cognizant of your ability, colorful numbers and names in your head can make you feel befuddled or it can have more detrimental effect when colors of different digits create a dichotomy and become distracting during the exam, for instance. Also the incongruence between the digit’s color on the board (if the teacher used multicolored markers or chalk) and in the head make students feel nervous and diluted, which can result in a bad mark.


Image source: courses.evanbradley.net

Though it may seem as a very rare and unusual phenomenon, according to the statistics, about one in 2,000 people is a synesthete, and about one in 300 people is reported to have some variation of this condition (Carpenter, 2001). Having discovered the synesthesia condition, educators around the world help the students to embrace their ability and take advantage of it. Making students accept their unusual condition may increase their self-confidence, since they will not be shunning their uniqueness, and it will improve the general psychological development of the children.

All in all, there are so many synesthetes around you, and maybe they are not aware of their superpower, so give them a clue! Or, who knows, maybe you are the chosen one too =)


Carpenter, S. (2001). Everyday fantasia: The world of synesthesia. Monitor on Psychology32, 26-29.

Nunn, J. A., Gregory, L. J., Brammer, M., Williams, S. C. R., Parslow, D. M., Morgan, M. J., et al. (2002). Functional magnetic resonance imaging of synesthesia: activation of V4/V8 by spoken words. Nature Neuroscience, 5(4), 371-375.

Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Humang learning 5th. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

What are the benefits of inclusion?

As schools get more competitive and parents increasingly want to send their children to the most elite and prestigious schools, it seems that exclusivity is on the rise. It is exclusion that sets one student above another, leading one to get into the best university and on to the best jobs.

Where does inclusive education fit in this modern day competitive model? What benefits do students–both those with disabilities and those without–get from an inclusive education model?