Students all over the world face the problem of getting low grades in their educational career. There are various factors which play a significant role in student achievement. Certain entities which play a role in student achievement includes, but not limited to, ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapists, speech therapists and physical therapists. For the purpose of this study, we have selected Sto-Lo Youth Healing Centre as our sample school. It is located in New York district 75 Mission with excellent systems and processes for special/gifted students. It is located in British Columbi (Eastern Fraser-Valley). In this research, we have analyzed the roles played by these service providers and its impact on special student achievement. For the purpose of this study, we have selected case study methodology in which interviews of special students and ELL teachers, counselors and other service providers is analyzed to reach an authentic conclusion.
Table of Contents
Rationale of the Study
Significance of the Study
Data & Data Collection Process
Limitations & Delimitations
Impact of Service Providers (Counselors, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and ELL Teachers) on Special student Achievement
A significant percentage of special students in secondary public schools fail to maintain minimum academic standards, placing them in academic jeopardy and increasing the likelihood that they will drop out of the very institutions designed to prepare them to fully participate in an ever-increasing competitive world (Land & Legters, 2002; LeCompte & Dworkin, 1991; McPartland, Balfanz, Jordan, & Legters, 2002). In many instances, failure to meet academic standards has little to do with inherent abilities. Rather, there are a number of other factors outside the control of the special student, and schools for that matter, which negatively affect special student academic performance. Minority status, low socio-economic conditions, lack of parental involvement, ineffective parenting skills, lowered expectations for academic performance, stressful home life, drug or alcohol abuse in the home, and low parental educational levels are just a few of the indicators that may place a special student at risk of failing to meet minimum academic standards (DeBlois, 1989; Gibson, 1997; Goodlad, 1984).
Rationale of the Study
The rationale of this study was to explore role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist among low-performing special students and high-performing special students from Cedar Valley School and teachers' perceptions of providing support to their special students (Creswell, 1998). In doing so, this study attempts to lend empirical validity to Starratt's (2004) model of the ethics of responsibility, authenticity, and presence.
ELL teachers are uniquely situated to provide the common thread of support to their special students which impacts special student academic achievement (Scales, Benson, & Mannes, 2002). There is a paucity of literature, however, that explores role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist and the relationships those service providers may have with self-efficacy, motivation to support mastery and goal attainment, and ultimately on academic achievement and special student success.
This qualitative study addressed the following questions:
1. What is the role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist in improving special student achievement?
2. What are the service provider's perceptions of role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist of their special students?
3. What are the service provider's strategies for providing support to their special students?
Recalling Starratt (1991), the ethic of service requires educational service providers to acknowledge a professional responsibility to recognize the unique needs of individual special students and to take action with respect to meeting those unique needs. To do so requires a commitment to others (Oster & Hamel, 2003), especially to those who are least like us. Mayeroff (1995) asserts that by serving we must be aware of the other person's needs and requirements and then to act on his or her behalf.
The concept of service requires that an important distinction be made between serving for and serving about another human being. To serve about another person not only means making a commitment to ones own responsibility, but it also requires the service provider to step out of his or her comfort zone and be willing to make sacrifices; in short, it requires action (Beck, 1994; Oster & Hamel, 2003).
To help develop this sense of self, Starratt (2004) asserted that the service provider is fully present in the lives of those he or she purports to lead or teach. To be present implies a level of concentration and sensitivity to the signals others send. It means to be fully aware of that which is immediately in front of us, or to individuals with whom we interact and on whose behalf we have a responsibility to act. Carter (1998) suggested that the ethic of presence requires educational service providers to come fully into the presence of another human being with a sense of awe and gratitude.
Starratt (2004) suggests that the ethics of responsibility, authenticity, and presence interpenetrate and enrich one another and that they need each other for their fullest exercise. It is within this framework of interacting ethics that educational service providers may find the key components of support for their special students-support that will ultimately provide the foundation upon which special students can more fully engage in the educational process.
Significance of the Study
In response to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- and the "no child left behind" accountability requirements for adequate yearly progress that are contained within the legislation-state departments of education across the country have begun
To integrity of curriculum to promulgate sweeping reform regulations that will require all special students to meet rigorous standards of academic performance-including those special students who are in a deficit position as a result of circumstances sometimes beyond their control. Districts failing to provide the educational opportunities for their special students to meet those standards face the loss of state and federal funding, among other more invasive consequences. In short, the message is that all special students can and will learn. Failure to follow through with this message not only results in higher dropout rates (McPartland et al., 2002), but also produces a citizenry less likely to vote, less likely to assume leadership positions, with less earning power, and less likely to be adequately trained for jobs of the 21st century (Stringfield & Land, 2002).
As a people, we have promised to all children that their educational experiences in school will not be influenced by gender, race/ethnicity, and social class. All will receive equal educational opportunity. We have not fulfilled that promise; what must be done? (p. 42) If there was ever a more urgent time to explore opportunities to better engage our special students, it has been dwarfed by the crisis that exists in many public schools today. And even for those schools that have managed to avoid crises in their classrooms, Wheatley (1994) reminds us that organizational equilibrium is a sure path to institutional death.
The current investigation seeks to reinforce relevant research with respect to role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist as they relate to academic achievement. Additionally, the study hopes to expand current research by exploring possible disparities in perceptions of role of ELL teachers, counselors, occupational therapist, speech therapist & physical therapist between low and high academic performers. If a disparity is supported by this study, then educational service providers have an opportunity to explore causes and interventions-both within their immediate control. Teacher preparation and professional development opportunities for 13 educational service providers can be explored in an attempt to reduce the disparity between special student and teacher perceptions with respect to support. Initial training and on- going professional development will ultimately benefit special students by improving the delivery of support that is necessary for academic success. Whatever the outcome, special students will ultimately benefit by receiving the type of support that is necessary for academic success.
Finally, attention is re- focused on Gibson's (1997) assertion that the common denominator in special students who have failed to experience success in school is the absence of a significant attachment to a serving adult who will give them the attention and direction needed to flourish. If nothing else, we can correct that situation beginning today.
A reasonable argument can be made that special students come to school with varying degrees of readiness and willingness to learn. Certainly, the educational level of parents, environmental factors, or socio-economic status can influence readiness to learn (Goodlad, 1984; Goodlad & Keating, 1994; Lutz & Iannaccone, 1994). Obviously, these are factors that are largely beyond the immediate control or influence of educational service providers. However, the fact that there are high performing and low-performing schools-with high-performing and low-performing special students in each-suggests that there is something inherent within the school that contributes to the…