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An Intercultural Approach to Preparing Special Education Leaders for Qatar. Maha Al- Hendawi , Ph.D. Clayton Keller, Ph.D. Special Education Program Qatar University. INTRODUCTION. The education of children and youth with disabilities is a universal challenge faced by all countries
An Intercultural Approach to Preparing Special Education Leaders for Qatar
Maha Al-Hendawi, Ph.D.
Clayton Keller, Ph.D.
Special Education Program
The education of children and youth with disabilities is a universal challenge faced by all countries
Much of the knowledge base to support such efforts comes from the West, though, and the United States in particular
This body of knowledge cannot be ignored by any program that prepares special education teachers and leaders
But can the policies and practices reported in this literature be applied completely outside the West?
Standard assumptions about the transferability of educational research would suggest not
Policies to be borrowed may also be based on different underlying conceptions of rights and justice
How, then, might the policies, knowledge, and skills, developed in one cultural context be effectively transferred, adapted, adjusted, and so embraced, by educators in another context?
Describe how the M.Ed. Program in Special Education at QU approaches this challenge, highlighting
The multicultural composition of the faculty and students
The use of dialogues with international leaders
The curriculum’s multinational and international content
The assignments that explicitly require intercultural examinations
From McGlaughlin (2010):"It is in the best interests of the children and youth with disabilities in [Qatar's] public schools for policy makers to come to terms with the conflicting beliefs and understandings of equity that underlie current policies and engage in serious debate of their relative merits." p. 276)
From Winzer & Mazurek (2009):"It is clear that there are unique local and cultural responses to international mandates....Different cultures, different nations, and different regions can be, and indeed sometimes are, on different paths. Inclusion is defined by an inspiring litany of moral imperatives. However, the philosophical and conceptual bases rest on a value system grounded in quite specific conceptions of social justice, ethics, and individual and civil rights....[I]f the particular vision of social justice embedded in the ideology of inclusion is not a universally shared concept, and it is not, then it cannot find acceptance in cultures and nations founded on conflicting principles of social justice." (p. 4)
From Al-Thani (2006):"As Special Rapporteur on Disability, and as a woman from the Arab region who belongs to the Muslim faith, using such pronouncements by Muslim scholars ["Islam sees disability as morally neutral. It is seen neither as a blessing or a curse...It is simply a fact of life which has to be addressed appropriately by the society of the day."] has been extremely helpful in advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. In societies as deeply religious as those in the region, it is important to use the tools of their beliefs in order to change social attitudes and replace discrimination with acceptance. This is especially true when talking about the obligations of society towards persons with disabilities and the accommodations that need to be made in order to achieve their full participation in all aspects of life." (p. 6)
Leading a class. You will choose a major issue or topic in special education, either one that we will examine in class or another related to your professional interests, examine how aspects of that issue or topic are currently manifesting themselves in Qatar and the Arab world (and your home country if you would like if it’s not an Arab country), and then serve as the instructor on what you have learned for a brief class.
Practices of assessments in some Arabic countries which are Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen
Is their accountability system represented by the national tests in these countries?
Do education systems in the Arab countries hold high expectations for people with disabilities by including them in the measures of educational accountability?
Observation of the practice of inclusion. The purpose of this assignment is to observe what exactly inclusion looks like in Qatar in a school. You will use ideas about inclusion and the treatment of individuals with disabilities in society as the framework for your observations.
The center should take advantage of these visits in achieving the possibility of an inclusive education in the minds of those visitors, as a prelude to achieve it in their schools in future. It is very important to invite the normal students not only to see their peers with disability but to encourage them to communicate with them and to participate with them in activities…it is more effective if giving the chance to the general schools students to realize that these other students with their strange external appearances and with their strange movements are children too and they can play, learn, and make friends . I call here what was mentioned in Salamanca Frame Work of Action about the role of regular schools to change the community perspectives towards people with disabilities and the center as a school is trying to do what regular schools will do in a system that supports inclusion.
FINAL REFLECTIVE ESSAY FROM CULMINATING INTERNSHIP
While attending a workshop, at the end of the semester, about suggested standards for special education, the presenter, who is well known in special education field, asked us to be realistic when considering evidenced based practices in our schools saying, in general, what works in the west doesn’t necessarily work here and that we should depend on the teacher’s educational sense in choosing the suitable practice. I disagreed with him on the part of when to let teachers use their sense. After my experience with this student and how research studies where very helpful in teaching her letter-sound correspondence, I think that teachers in my country should be aware about the evidenced based practices, and it is the academic personals in universities duty to write them in a more reader digest publications, in order to simplify practices for those teachers. On the other hand, because we are working with individuals with different abilities and uniqueness we might find students who are not responsive to those practices, here is where teachers are given the chance to use their educational sense and not before that.