Education forms an integral part of the intellectual, social and economic development of a human being. Children are exposed to education very early in their lives. Parents plan and sacrifice so much to give their children a good education.
Early Childhood Education.
Early childhood education gives children the chance to explore their world and learn new things. Parents especially the mothers bear the burden of being the first teachers of their children. This direct relationship leads to the formation of life-long bonds. The child learns to walk, talk and behave through the guidance of the mother.
When children start attending school, the teacher takes over much of responsibility to introduce the child to the world. In traditional societies, children learnt from their interaction with other adults and members of their extended family unit. Here, they discover values, vices and taboos thus making them beave in the desired ways of that society.
Today, teachers complement the traditional education patterns. They teach students about discipline, religious and cultural values, historical and numerical studies as well as economic and entrepreneurial skills. Education becomes a vast body of knowledge for these children. Children’s education has become an important investment for every modern society including authorities.
Indeed, governments and other authorities budget extensive resources towards the education of the young generation. They cite the fact that education opens up the mind to limitless opportunities. It empowers children to realise their potential and work for the benefit of their families and societies.
Special Needs Education.
We have to contend with the apparent reality that human beings are endowed with different mental and intellectual capacities. At the classroom level, this fact manifests itself in the diverse capabilities of students to grasp concepts.
Parents and educators agree that children possess different thinking and responding capacities. Some are fast learners while others are slow. Some portray desired behaviour while others take time to adjust accordingly.
Special education works to harmonize the learning process with the individual traits of each child in the classroom setting. At the end of the day, special education contributes to the achievement of behavioural and academic goals.
Special education in Malaysia, for instance, receives support from authorities and all stakeholder involved. Parents contend that each child must be incorporated effectively into the learning process. At home, special education receives a boost from the family unit whereby parents, uncles and aunts shape the patterns of behaviour among their children.
In most cases, academic ability and behavioural patterns are interdependent. Disciplined children are likely to produce better academic results. Therefore, special needs education demands a holistic review of the curriculum to incorporate values. These values are emphasised upon as part of a comprehensive learning system.
The goals of special education include the social, intellectual, spiritual and economic empowerment of the student. At the end of every year, student evaluation takes place on these four fronts. The final product is an adult with adequate life skills such as critical thinking, ethical and moral behaviour.
Special needs education relies heavily on collaborative links between parents, educators and the entire society. The learning process does not start or end with the classroom. Everybody has a part to play.