Special education GOALS program : a case study of great expectations

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Miller, David Glen
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2002
Accountability to the students in special education classrooms is critical and in today's uncertain political climate it becomes mandatory to ensure that these programs are successful. How then is it possible to evaluate these programs to determine whether or not they are successful, given their complexity? Specifically, would an evaluation of the GOALS (Generating Occupations Academics and Living Skills) program, a special education classroom designed for students considered EMH (Educable Mentally Handicapped) demonstrate that the program was successful? An evaluation of this program was undertaken using triangulation and the hermeneutic phenomenological human science research method. In this particular triangulation, multiple observers of the same object are used: the "object" in this case being the ex-students from the GOALS program. Interviews were conducted with four of the students who passed through the program; interviews were conducted with significant others of these students; and research on successful practices employed in special education classrooms was conducted and the research was compared to the practices employed in the GOALS program. Finally, the ex-students are narratively researched by the author as teacher, in the stories written. These narratives are presented in order to speak to "the groundless ground of ambiguity that marks the human condition, a site of vibrant original difficulty, at times agonizingly difficult" and the "question of how life together can go on in such a way that even in difficulties, new life is possible" (Aoki, 1996). The author determined that the students leaving the program enjoy a high quality of life, and they consider themselves successful. They appreciated the programming provided in the classroom and the relationship they had with the teacher in the program. The significant others of the students interviewed felt the relationship with the teacher was the most important aspect of the program. The research indicates that the teachers in GOALS are using special education best practices successfully in the program. As a result of these findings the author finds that GOALS is a successful, meaningful program.
vi, 149 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Children with disabilities -- Vocational education , Special education -- Activity programs -- Evaluation