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Process of Creation and Acculturation of Special Classes in South Korea: 1970 ~ 1974

  • Journal of Special Education: Theory and Practice
  • Abbr : JSPED
  • 2010, 11(1), pp.277-305
  • Publisher : Research Institute of the Korea Special Education
  • Research Area : Social Science > Education

곽정란 1

1대구대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to investigate the process of creation and acculturation of special classes from 1970 to 1974, thereby looking into the background behind the formation of the first special class and how it has changed thereafter. To establish this purpose, a primary literature research, site visits, and interviews with relevant people were conducted. The conclusion of this study is as follows:First, unlike what has been known so far, the special class in Daegu Chilsung Elementary School, the first special class for mentally retarded students, was formally included in the school system in 1970, not in 1971. This class was not spontaneously formed for educational salvage, it was made under the planning of those concerned with special education in Gyeongbuk, with an obvious goal of special education to guarantee education for mentally retarded students within an ordinary school. Second, special classes, which first started to be established in Gyeongbuk Province, was expanded in 1974 to the whole nation by the Department for Education, so their goal was characterized more by educational salvage than by special education. At that time general education was going through two sweeping changes: the expansion of mandatory education and the system of middle school entrance with no exam. During this process, the Ministry increased the number of special classes so that they could play a makeshift role of educational salvage, rather than taking education for poor learners and mentally retarded students. Furthermore, the organization employed special classes to discourage mentally retarded students from advancing to junior high schools. Third, special classes labelled poor learners mentally retarded. In addition, more emphasis was placed on educational salvage of poor learners, so education of mentally retarded students was largely neglected. As a result a large majority of the mentally retarded did not ender junior high schools. All the conditions above cemented the negative image of special classes and strongly influenced their identity in later years. For special classes to guarantee satisfaction of disabled students’individual educational needs and to play a role suitable for an era of integral education, new relationship with general education should be established and their original goal of special education at the time when their were first established should be pursued.

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