When EAL and SNE hook up: an analysis of selected Manitoba curriculum documents

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Kirwan, Simone Eunice
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This thesis represents a journey: after many years of teaching both in Canada and overseas, I found myself working with students who were learning English and had profound intellectual disabilities, but had no idea how to teach them. This thesis, therefore, follows my path of exploration and discovery as I looked for ways to support these students’ learning. In chapter one, I provide an introduction to my study where I present an overview of the problem, discuss the confusion surrounding the meaning of various kinds of disabilities, consider several normative definitions of EAL (English as an Additional Language) and SNE (Special Needs Education), and provide my own stipulative definitions of EAL/SNE. I also state my research questions and purpose for conducting the study, illustrate the significance of the study, and acknowledge its limitations. In chapter two, I examine the strengths and weaknesses of the research literature and end with five principles that flow from my reading of the research. In chapter three, I explain my means of analysis, where I critically examine three Manitoba curriculum EAL documents and three Student Services/Special education resource documents. In chapter four, I summarize the six curricular documents (three in the area of SNE and three in the area of EAL) and criticize each one, determining its uses and relevance to students with EAL/SNE needs and how appropriate and helpful these documents are for classroom teachers who work with these students. Finally, in Chapter five, I discuss the implications of my study of these documents and suggest future needs in the areas of research, policy, and teaching in the area of SNE/EAL.