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Palgrave Macmillan

Investigating the Language of Special Education

Listening to Many Voices

ISBN 9781137434708
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Investigating the Language of Special Education guides the reader through the complex issues and ideas pertinent to understanding the language of special education. It responds to some of the subject's most pressing concerns, including the function and effects of language in labelling disabilities and disorders, the extent to which current special educational language reflects legal frameworks and definitions, and whether changes in language can lead to changes in perceiving a 'social reality' of special education. This volume brings clarity to these and other ambiguous areas in special education.

Utilising a wide range of theoretical traditions from philosophy, sociology and anthropology, this book aims to raise the reader's awareness of the power as well as the limitations of language in relation to special education. It will therefore be of great interest to educators as well as students and researchers of applied linguistics and disability studies.

Michael Farrell is a private consultant in Special Education based in the UK. Professionally, Michael has worked as a head teacher, a lecturer at London University and as a local authority inspector. He managed a national psychometric project for City University, London, and directed a national initial teacher-training project for the United Kingdom Government Department of Education. Currently, as a private special education consultant, he works across the world with children, families, schools, local authorities, voluntary organisations, universities, and government ministries. His many books on education and special education include Debating Special Education, Effective Teachers Guides to Special Education, Educating Special Children: An Introduction to Provision for Pupils with Disabilities and Disorders, and N ew Perspectives in Special Education: Contemporary Philosophical Debates.

Introduction: The Importance of Language in Special Education
1. Past Voices: Historical Terminology
2. Present Voices: Current Language in Special Education
3. Grand Designs: Constructing Social Meaning
4. Labelling: New Labels for Old?
5. Disability Memoirs and Student Voice
6. Problematizing Meaning: Deconstruction
7. Immersed in Language: Discourse
8. Analysing Concepts in Special Education
9. Persuasive or Misleading Language


'Michael Farrell's powerful and thought-provoking book presents a thorough examination of language related to special education, and the way we wield it. Readers will be challenged to confront their own language assumptions, beliefs, and biases which is essential for the progression of our profession. This is a must-read for all of us involved in special education.' - Desirée Gallimore, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, RIDBC Renwick Centre, University of Newcastle, Australia.
'Michael Farrell, a well-known advocate of good special schools, applies the work of philosophers such as Foucault and Derrida to special education, with results that challenge our use of language. He writes convincingly about the power of language but also its limitations as an agent of change.' - Ann Sydney, education consultant, UK
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