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דוקטורט Movement as a Tool Empowering MLD Pupils in a Special Education School in Israel. (עבודה אקדמית מס. 1097)
248 עמודים . דוקטורט באנגלית.עבודה אקדמית מספר 1097
Focusing on body movement, this thesis and following qualitative research (supported by a quantitative research) demonstrates movement's potential for improving social relations as well as academic achievements in schools and classrooms. The research was conducted in a special education school in Israel, emphasizing body movements' bettering potential with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) pupils in particular.
My interest in this research was prompted by pupils' constant restless movements as welas the general difficulty in preserving pupils' attention during lessons. Such problems have thus far been attributed to the absence of a specific and personal attention deficit. Adding the poor teaching strategies practiced in Israel and specific pupils' needs to the above, paints a gloomy picture of pupils' attention in class and furthermore- its reflection on their future.
This thesis will focus on a research field thus far neglected- children's need to move their bodies. The typical instruction method in Israel, as well as worldwide, in mainstream and special schools, is mainly verbal and frontal, while pupils devote majority of time spent in class to listening, reading, writing or developing these skills. Aside from pupils' inactive class attendance, the traditional physical alignment of classrooms, being mostly congested with tables and chairs which increase pupils' restlessness, must too be taken into consideration.
Consider the above in comparison to the easiest games played by children outside which consist of highly complex, verbal and non-verbal elements of communication. A simple hoop game, played by three children, requires the participants to coordinate their actions, calculate timing as well as understanding and implementing circularity for the equal participation of all children. Other elements include spatial orientation, the ability to switch roles and adjust to new positions, the ability to for the force and speed of others' movements while simultaneously practising verbal skills, explaining correct timing for action performance, cycle description, progression definitions and more. All of the above are preformed spontaneously by children; by thus develop their perception of self, others and their physical surrounding.
It has been found that such movement skills are farther more important for children with moderate learning and behavioural difficulties within special education frames. These children's success in performing a given task strengthens all aforementioned aspects and increases their confidence, self-esteem, verbalisation, intra-personal abilities and interpersonal relations. For children with special needs, movement serves as a channel leading to knowledge, simultaneously supporting social relations.
From the standpoint of movement's individual perception, this paper will demonstrate the connection between movement to body image as well as its connection to the facilitation of social relations in schools and classrooms. Through the information processing theory, movement including learning activities will be set as pupils' grounds for development.
Following the quantitative research portraying successes of movement integration within formal and special educational frames, this paper will also discuss and examine the introduction, integration and implementation of such programmes in schools, in order to promote social relations and academic achievements in typical educational frames.
This paper's main goal is to demonstrate a programme of movement skills training both outside and inside the classroom and its ability to help pupils adapt to the classrooms' constraints and improve pupils' social relationships with their classmates. I will also show such training as improving class' attention and, therefore, enhancing classroom learning skills of children with moderate difficulties.
My thesis is based on a qualitative study using an action research approach. The research tools used for the study are observation of nine special education professionals, open staff interviews as well as parents' interviews. Children were also videotaped as much as possible during activities, in order to increase the amount of data. For ethical reasons, these tapes are discussed, but not included in the body of the work.
My experience as a physical educator and dance teacher, as well as musician and expressive/creative therapist had taught me that the frontal traditional education methods result in a rapid loss of concentration and in decreasing interest in the materials taught. This notion leads to pupils who are bored and demonstrate low progress with academic achievements as well as poor social relations.
My thesis and research demonstrate the vast improvement on the test group's behalf in both academic achievement and social relations along a twelve months' experiment. Moreover, these pupils have proven a continues improvement increasing along time, an increase that confirms my initial standpoint- the integration of movement into traditional education frames will better children's educational experience, improve MLD children's academic achievements and produce a social and self-confident generation.
Following the elaborate research and its result based analysis, this thesis proposes a subject by subject change to education objectives, study objects and standards of evaluation that if executed- will have the potential of revolutionizing education known to us today.
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