Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

How do YOU fit into your education?

February 18, 2010 · 1 Comment

“Education is the transmission of civilization,” (Will Durant) therefore, factors such as what we teach, how we teach, and who we teach in our education system should send a message about your society. Afterall, Durant states it is indeed a direct representation of our civilization. As I have been volunteering with an organization, BUILD, for the past three months I have been observing how the English education system, as well as the society, regards individuals with learning disabilities. Furthermore, without the ability to control it, I have been analyzing the American education system as well. Does our society and the English society have full acceptance of individuals with learning disabilities, or are they still viewed as burdens? What kind of support is provided to individuals with learning disabilities? Is that support enough?

Rarely do we think of what teenagers and adults with learning disabilities have to deal with when they enter educational and social settings. BUILD, which is a Norwich based organization, uses a range of services to reach out to individuals with learning disabilities in the Norfolk area. These services include socials where individuals get to interact with mentors/volunteers and other participants of the program, one-on-one mentoring, educational programs and etc. Through this organization, individuals get to expand not only their social skills, but also gain comfort and confidence. Organizations like BUILD provide individuals with learning disabilities services and needed advice that the education and the government system does not. From the success of the organization, it is safe to say that the volunteers and the participants are doing something right. But it is also unfortunate to say that organizations such as BUILD is non-profit and relies on the donations of individuals. It is important to further question what kind of support the government and the education system in U.K. provide to individuals who might need further help, and whether that further reflects our society’s view on individuals with learning disabilities. Some of these questions I hope to further answer in my research paper.

One workshop that BUILD is hoping to hold within next few weeks with which I’ve been helping to organize is regarding educating participants of BUILD in government, policies, and voting system. When I heard the plan that the director of the organization is organizing, I was impressed and excited, because even I still need help with learning about UK political system. However, the demographics of voting are not positive. Although 80% of people with learning disabilities are registered to vote, only 1 in 6 participated in their local election and 1 in 8 in the last general election. Upon further research and discussion, it seems that the complexity of the system, and a shortage of accessible information keeps individuals from actually voting. Therefore, BUILD’s workshop would encourage individuals to get involved and educate in areas where the society and the education system fails to do so. The first goal is to have more accessible information about candidates and the actual voting system. I wonder for why the running candidates do not reach out to individuals who have learning disabilities. The possibility is that our society still does not view all individuals as equals, equals in learning, achieving the same level of success, or picking their next leader.

As I  continue to volunteer with BUILD, I learn that such organizations pick up the slack of where the actual system fails. We should all further question what does our education system represent, is it a mirror image of our society?

I plan on exploring this further.

Categories: Jeyla

1 response so far ↓

  •   Karl // Feb 21st 2010 at 09:52

    It sounds like you are off to a good start and are beginning to formulate some good questions.

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