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KNOWLEDGE DISCUSSION ESSAY LAVIN PORTFOLIO I

Knowledge Discussion Essay

One of the most important things I have learned about the field of special education, from

a doctoral student perspective, is this - being in academia is not easy. Academia is not just about

teaching classes and writing manuscripts that get published. Being a professor includes planning

courses and teaching students, conducting research studies, submitting conference proposals and

presenting at those conferences, publishing the findings of your research after countless hours of

writing and editing. It also includes advising students and performing service to the university

and the profession. Still, it is a prospect that excites me.

I look forward to teaching at the university level. I have been a teacher assistant on three

different occasions and next semester I will teach my first course as the instructor of record. But,

this is just a small part of what becoming a Ph.D. entails. Research also plays an important role

in the life of college professor.

My classes at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and George Mason University

helped me focus on the type of research I want to do, and how to frame this research in my field.

During PROBLEMS AND METHODS IN EDUCATION RESEARCH (EDRS 810), Dr. Mason

exposed us to different research methods. This introductory class clarified why the research

questions (or puzzle) used in qualitative methods resonate more with my research interests than

quantitative research. In conjunction with EDRS 810, during my WAYS FO KNOWING (EDUC

800) class I researched new ways of knowing and furthered my knowledge about the different

research paradigms. Not only did I affirm that qualitative research appealed more to me, but I

discovered how Participatory Action Research (PAR) creates partnerships between the
KNOWLEDGE DISCUSSION ESSAY LAVIN PORTFOLIO I

researcher and the participants during any project.

An aspect of research that I did not think I was going to like much is conducting literature

reviews. However, after the INTERVENTION RESEARCH IN SPECIAL EDUCATION (EDSE

841) class, I discovered that I really enjoyed the process. I like making connections between

articles and finding information available on a certain topic. I found myself sitting in front of the

computer for hours coding articles without noticing the time. There was something soothing and

satisfying about the task. Another class that really helped me was ASSESSMENT,

EVALUATION, AND INSTRUMENTATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION RESEARCH (EDSE

846). Currently, I am working on a project about inclusion in Mexico City. As part of this project

I adapted a scale from Hsieh, Hsieh, Ostrosky, & McCollum, ( 2012). Thanks to this class I can

justify the reason behind using this scale instead of other available scales.

Conducting the Inclusive Education in Mexico research project is a good way for me to

begin concentrating on my area of specialization. I am interested in analyzing the

intersectionality of disability and being Latino. Although intersectionality is usually applied to

women of color (Crenshaw, 1991), there is a growing body of literature that uses the term to

analyze situations where a group of people are being discriminated against in more than one way

(Annamma, Connor, & Ferri, 2013; Blanchett, Klingner, & Harry, 2009; García, Ortiz, &

Sorrells, 2012). Conducting research in Mexico will allow me to be more insightful about

students from Mexico with disabilities.

In schools, Latinos comprise over 70% of the ESL population. Due to the increase of

Latino population in schools, and thus increasing the English learner (EL) population, it is no

surprise that interest in EL students in special education is increasing. I gathered this information

through personal conversations with people like Dr. Diane Rodriguez (Fordham University), and
KNOWLEDGE DISCUSSION ESSAY LAVIN PORTFOLIO I

Dr. Brenda Barrio (Washington State University). Even though more articles are focusing on the

EL population that receives special education services (Kangas, 2018). Currently, there is not

much literature concerning EL -more specifically Latino EL- students in special education,

especially on the perceptions of Latino families (Who are also EL) and their children about

special education or the services they receive.

This is the area on which I want to concentrate my research EL Latino students in special

education. There is an important need to understand this population: (a) how culture influences

their decision making process and (b) what systemic barriers exists in schools and how to

circumvent them or tear them down. I want to concentrate my research in this topic using the

critical perspective I was introduced to during EDUC 800 and further developed in my

SEMINAR IN EDUCATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY (EDUC 893) class.

Resources

Annamma, S. A., Connor, D., & Ferri, B. (2013). Dis/ability critical race studies (DisCrit):

Theorizing at the intersections of race and dis/ability. Race Ethnicity and Education, 16,

1–31. doi: 13613324.2012.730511

Blanchett, W. J., Klingner, J. K., & Harry, B. (2009). The intersection of race, culture, language,

and disability: Implications for urban education. Urban Education, 44, 389–409. doi:

0042085909338686

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence

against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241. https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039

García, S. B., Ortiz, A. A., & Sorrells, A. M. (2012). Intersectionality as a framework for

research and practice in special education. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse
KNOWLEDGE DISCUSSION ESSAY LAVIN PORTFOLIO I

Exceptional Learners, 13, 1–3.

Kangas, S. E. N. (2018). Why working apart doesn’t work at all: Special education and English

learner teacher collaborations. Intervention in School and Clinic. doi: 1053451218762469