Slavin and Schunk (2021) posit that intentional teachers, both individually and collaboratively, purposefully create ways to foster learning and to meet the needs of each one of their students.
The word “intentional” is very profound. It implies that one takes the initiative to purposefully carry out a task for an intended objective. When it comes to individuals with exceptionalities and diverse needs, some individuals warmly embrace these individuals and welcome them into their classrooms while others do not for a myriad of reasons.
In this module you are studying about learner differences and individuals with exceptionalities. When Germany was under the Nazi regime the phrase “life unworthy of life” (in German: “Lebensunwertes Leben”) was used since some felt that some individuals had no right to live. There were times throughout history that people felt that individuals with disabilities or diverse needs should be treated differently. When you examine the realities of history, the power of language, and the ethical or unethical behaviors surrounding caring for and educating individuals with differences, it provides a deeper understanding as to why laws have been created throughout the years to promote ethical practices and to cultivate effective learning opportunities for all individuals. It is essential for educators and future leaders to have an understanding of history, critically analyze it through a biblical lens, and determine how to approach, nurture, and educate these individuals with diverse and special needs. Review the 1968 documentary, “Suffer the Little Children: Pennhurst Pennsylvania State Home for Disabled Children.”
Regarding what happened at Pennhurst:
- How does this affect you as an educator, aspiring educator, and individual now, and in what ways has your own attitude and language changed over the years?
- What is a biblical approach to welcoming, nurturing, and educating learners with diverse needs or exceptionalities that you can intentionally apply in your own life?