Degree Program Rationale - Essay Example

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Webster’s dictionary defines learning as the process of gaining knowledge or skill through the process of studying, being taught, practicing or experiencing something (Websters Dictionary, 2015). In essence, it is the activities done by someone who learns…
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Learning Assignment Learning Assignment What is learning? Webster’s dictionary defines learning as the process of gaining knowledgeor skill through the process of studying, being taught, practicing or experiencing something (Websters Dictionary, 2015). In essence, it is the activities done by someone who learns. But why would someone learn? The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2015) asserts that it is essential for one to interpret the meaning of one’s experience so as to guide an action. For instance, I work with disabled people and through my interaction with them, I learn quite a lot. Everyday is a learning experience. Therefore, this paper will explore my trajectory in learning and the experiences I have gained.
To begin with, I have learned that no matter who the person, there is a bright ray of light within everyone that sometimes has to be brought out. Sometimes the person simply needs to be positively encouraged to allow their insecurities to be kept it check so that their abilities and talents can shine through. I consider these individuals that I work with as an extended part of my family.
Secondly, I am passionate about erasing the stereotypes and prejudices individuals with disabilities face on a daily basis. Disabled populaces, especially mentally challenged individuals, are often stereotyped where people think they should be pitied on and disregarded. A change in strategies is definitely needed to stop the inaccurate representation of mental illnesses and to eradicate these harmful stereotypes. When the support and services needed are provided to individuals with all degrees of intellectual disability, they function positively and improve in a community-based setting.
In reference to Webster’s dictionary, a stereotype is an over simplified image of a person or group (Webster’s dictionary, 2015). Some of the stereotypes of disabled individuals inaccurately depict the following things; such as: that they are recipients of charity; or that they are aggressive and angry at all times. These stereotypes probably originate from feelings of fear, superiority and disgust within the general population (Patoine, 2005). How can I create a monumental shift in thought processes regarding individuals with developmental disabilities, especially from taking the focus off their perceived deficits to appreciating what they contribute and have? This is my main goal for enrolling in this Master’s Degree program.
Thirdly, life of a disabled individual was radically different 40 years ago where children with mental retardation were essentially shipped off to an institution, to live out their lives with minimal care and little hope for a better life. Ford (2011), notes that when someone learns today that they or their children will have a physical or cognitive impairment, certain specters of thought are likely to arise. I am not saying it is easy. I am a parent myself. If I was in the same boat today, I would feel emotionally burdened thinking of what the life of my child (if there were a disability that they were born with) would be like. However, at the same time, my main focus and core thought would be to ask, ‘What can I do to help my child function better? What kinds of support and services would I need to put in place to ensure adequate growth?’
Fourthly, over the years as an Assistant Director in a private organization, I have appreciated embodied learning as a significant approach to adult education. Embodied learning is most often linked to experiential learning in the sense that we learn through an experience (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2012). Somatic knowing is connected to adult learning though meaning-making. The embodied (somatic) learning approach trusts the individual to learn and listen to information received from the interaction with their environment. It is an approach that combines observation and experience to build the knowledge of the learner to the subject matter of the learning process (Kasworm & Ross-Gordon, 2010).
Additionally, I am a team player; therefore, I interact with members of the team to deliver services to the disabled children and adults. As a person that manages multiple group homes for my agency, it makes me feel quite good to know that there is a face to all the great work being done by every person in my agency. Individuals are trained to accomplish the following but are not limited to:
1 Preparing a balanced meal
2 Dressing for the weather.
3 Learning how to travel using public transportation.
4 Dialing 911 in an emergency.
5 Knowing if a cashier has given the correct change.
6 Learning to be self-medicated.
7 Learning about their rights.
Noteworthy, once they accomplish these basic life skills the world literally opens up for them, and their self-perceived limitations seem small. Many of the individuals reside in their own apartments, are married, have competitive jobs, budget their own money and plan their own social activities outside of the residence. Hence, when the right amount of support and service is provided to a disabled individual, they have shown that they can function and improve dramatically in a community-based setting.
Critically, the world is a diverse society. We all are unique in our ways. Sometimes differences can be a good thing, and I strongly feel we have to embrace our diversity in a very positive way. I have an inspired vision for the disabled individuals. I would like to continue focusing on the quality of life from the perspective of the individuals receiving the services. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they being treated fairly? Are they able to exercise their rights and are they free from abuse and neglect? The main goal of providing a safe, warm and homely environment for all the individuals is certainly an achievable one.
In summary, learning is the activities done by someone who learns and includes studying, practicing, being taught and experience. Working with the disabled has been and still is a good learning experience for me. It is important we erase stereotypes and prejudices against disabled people. Additionally, embodied learning is a significant approach to adult learning. Finally, being a team player, I have learnt the importance of cohesion within the team. In view of this, I want to make a difference by increasing awareness on the impact of stigma on the lives of a disabled individual. We need to start at our home, in the community, in the media and throughout the nation. Strategizing on finding more opportunities for the public to meet persons with severe mental illness may reduce the stigma (Penn & Couture, 2002). With my Master’s degree I would like to possess as much education and information possible to reach my goal. In due course, I want to create a shift in thinking about people with developmental disabilities, taking the attention away from their deficits to appreciating what the capabilities of each unique and talented individual. Throughout our life learning and understanding how to communicate on a grander scale allows for a better output and a Masters Degree only positively impacts that end result.
Ford, L. (2011, December 15). Talk point: Fighting the stigma of disability. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from The Guardian:
Kasworm, R., & Ross-Gordon, J. (2010). The Handbook of adult and Continuing Education. California: Sage.
Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2012). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. Illinois: John Wiley & Sons.
Patoine, B. (2005, April 01). Mental Retardation: Struggle, Stigma, Science. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from The Dana Foundation:,_Stigma,_Science/
Penn, D., & Couture, S. (2002). Strategies for reducing stigma toward persons with mental illness. World Psychiatry, 1(1): 20–21.
Royal college of Psychiatrists. (2015, April 23). Royal college of Psychiatrists. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from The Importance of Learning :
Webster’s dictionary. (2015, May 4). Stereotype. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from Webster’s dictionary:
Websters Dictionary. (2015, May 4). Websters Dictionary. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from Read More
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