7214.10 - Special Pedagogy: Pedagogical, Didactic and Psychological Aspects

Course number
Special Pedagogy: Pedagogical, Didactic and Psychological Aspects
In this course students will be acquainted with special pedagogy as a research field and as an aspect of the profession of social educators. Important and contemporary theories, methods and concepts will be presented. Students will integrate theoretical knowledge with practical tasks and methods used when working with people with special needs. In this course, students will • understand what characterises special pedagogy as a research field • gain competence in discerning what defines the methods, which are central for those who work within the field of special pedagogy • gain insight into how children, youth and adults who have special needs mature, develop and learn. • be able to discern how social structures and political decisions influence the life contexts and possibilities of people with special needs, as well as their quality of life. • become aware of how the perspectives and methods of a social educators influence how those they work with are able to develop, learn and thrive. • gain thorough knowledge about the idea of inclusivity and the approaches and methods, which are tied to the notion of inclusion. This means that students will work on how actual day nurseries, kindergartens or schools give or make room for children with special needs.
The course consists of 6 parts. Although each part focuses on a particular theme, the parts make up an interrelated whole. The goal is that each student will gain insight into relevant literature and research results, so she or he, on their own initiative, may explore particular themes in-depth. Part one. Historical perspective – the concept of special pedagogy. In this part we will define the idea of special pedagogy. What is it? Is there a singular paradigm that covers the entire field? Or is the research in this field, its boundaries, theories and characteristics, understood differently from a variety of theoretical perspectives? This part consists of a historical and sociological focus. The students will examine what circumstances and possibilities people with special needs have had in distinct historical eras and cultures. Part two. Legal framework and basic rights. History has shown us that cultural and ideological currents in a society influence the place people with special needs occupy in that society and the possibilities offered to them in it. In this part we will make close readings of current laws, regulations, treaties and curricula for people with special needs in the Faroes. Part three. Diagnosis – advantages and disadvantages. In our society there is much talk about how children with special needs ought to receive a psychiatric diagnosis. Recent Nordic research results show us that never have there been more children sent to psychologists and psychiatrists than today. Taking our cue from the current situation, we will evaluate what is meant by the notion of ”children with special needs.” Who has the right and authorization to stipulate what constitutes normal behaviour and what does not? In this part, we will carefully and critically consider diagnosis as a concept. Part four. Inclusion as concept and goal. The law for day institutions, § 5, states that ”children with special needs have the right to be offered a place in a day institution and in day care on an equal basis with other children….” On basis of this legal paragraph, we will discuss inclusion, as concept and idea, and how it has become dominant in research on people with special needs and among those who work with these people. Part five. The role of the social educator. In the fifth part, we will shed light on people with mental retardation and examine what must be done, if these people shall have a good and meaningful life. We will look at social education as a vocation and ask what role the social educator has when she or he supports people with special needs, helps them to develop and mature. Part six. Tools and methods for working with people with special needs. In this part we familiarise us with the diverse array of tools and methods for helping people with special needs, which have been developed lately. Among others, we will work with the consultative perspective, the pedagogy of recognition and a variety of models for observation. A practicum, lasting 6 weeks, is part of this course. Students will receive guidance on the practicum in class.
Assessment method
On completion of the course, students will write a research paper. The paper must either be grounded in or relate to the practicum. The research paper will be written in groups and is to be defended in an oral presentation. The practicum is an important part of this course. Toward the end of the practicum, students’ practicum guides will write a practicum review in which they report whether the student/s they have guided has/have passed the practicum. External examiners will be used. Grades will be awarded according to the current grading scale. In order to pass the course, students need also to pass the practicum.