From paradigm to K Mart : an alternative approach to teaching students with severe mental retardation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dennis George Shaw (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
David E. Purpel

Abstract: This dissertation documents a public school special education teacher's efforts to create an alternative method to teach language and functional skills to teenagers with severe mental retardation. Over a 3 year period, the students were taught to sequence photographs of school and community experiences into simple photo-based personal stories which were "told" to their families and friends. In addition to the acquisition of language, the work stresses the importance of personal narratives and the short story form for the formation of interpersonal relationships, the creation of meaning, the establishment of limits and boundaries, the development of affect and empathy, and personal empowerment. The paper concludes with examples of the students' stories and interpretations of their developmental effects. Influences that directly contributed to the development of this method of teaching include new educational and service delivery models for handicapped people, and readings on the new scientific paradigm (best represented by the work of Albert Einstein), liberation theology, Piaget's cognitive developmental theory, characteristics of human oppression, and the nature of the creative process. The author contrasts his method to common public school special education practices which are significantly influenced by behaviorism (Skinner) and beliefs and values stemming from classical Newtonian science and the Industrial Revolution.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1992
People with mental disabilities $x Education
Special education
Language acquisition

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