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Higher Diploma in Learning Difficulties ( Guiding Plan )

 

Introduction

The National Center For Learning Difficulties
Implementation
Training Courses Abroad
Resources

Upon taking into consideration the educational, social and human benefits that can result from combating learning disabilities/difficulties (LD) through early intervention, accurate diagnosis and proper educational attention, Princess Sarvath College (PSC) took the responsibility of implementing the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Sarvath El Hassan, chairperson of the College's Board of Trustees, of addressing the inadequacy regarding learning disabilities/difficulties in our educational system. Hence, in 1992, after coordinating with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Planning and getting their support, the PSC signed an agreement with the Canadian government according to which the Canadian side was to offer the needed financial and technical assistance for training a number of Jordanian teachers in the field of learning difficulties in both Canada and Jordan over a period of three years.

 

A trained team was considered by the College most essential in setting up a distinguished national centre that would cater for the needs of L.D. victims. It is worth mentioning here that the educational area of learning disabilities has been gaining importance in the educational systems of advanced countries because the number of sufferers is on the increase. When a student's particular disability is neglected, he experiences repeated failure, develops low self-esteem and eventually drops out of school without getting equipped for the labour market despite normal intelligence.

Building on the above and the return of our trained teachers, the College established in 1995 its National Center for Learning Difficulties to achieve the following:
a- Training teachers to become “resource teachers” or what is called "resource room teachers” in their schools.
b- Providing public awareness of learning difficulties through different media channels and educational workshops.
c- Assessing cases of L.Ds referred to the Centre by schools or parents and drawing an individual educational plan for each in accordance to his particular disability. The NCLD works in this regard as a referral national centre.
d- Providing a number of necessary standardised assessment tests in mental, perceptual, and academic achievements to help teachers assess L.D particularities.

Educational Curricula

The Higher Diploma in Learning Difficulties is an academic programme offered by Princess Sarvath College under the supervision of Al-Balqa Applied University. This diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete the requirements of the programme. The logos of the College and the University appear on the certificates which are signed by the Dean of the College, the Dean of higher studies and the President of the University as well. The programme's objectives are as follows:


Main Objective

This programme aims to improve the quality of education in the basic educational cycle by providing the teachers with knowledge, skills, and attitudes which qualify them to be “resource teachers,” able to assess learning difficulties by using suitable assessment tools and to suggest and execute compensation and remedial programme's through individual educational plans (I.E.P).

 

Special Objectives

- Introducing the concept of learning difficulties to the learner so that he can distinguish it from other learning problems.
- Acquanting the learner with the neurological and psychological causes of learning difficulties.
- Enabling the learner to evaluate and diagnose learning difficulties.
- Enabling the learner to use suitable formal and informal tools in the assessment process.
- Enabling the learner to draw and implement individual educational plans (I.E.P) for L.Ds students.
- Applying behavioural modification rules for improving the abilities of L.Ds children for learning.
- Enabling the learner to take part in awareness programmes directed to the public.
- Enabling the learner to assist his colleagues at his school in the field of screening L.Ds, to cooperate with them in dealing with L.D.s, to explain their roles in the comprehensive assessment process and in the implementation of I.E.Ps.
- Building a psychological background in guidance and counseling that helps in dealing with L.Ds in proper ways and getting assistance from specialists in the field of child comprehensive assessment and instruction.

 

Means and Methods

To achieve the programme's objectives, the adopted educational plan offers the learner both theoretical and practical courses. The programme depends on the theoretical side on a number of courses that were provided by the Canadian experts. These courses were translated into Arabic and edited by educationalists. The programme depends in its practical side on training the students on applying a battery of standardized tests adapted to suit the Jordanian culture and on using the assessment results in writing out I.E.P.s.

 

In order to achieve the objectives to the utmost, the teaching methods depend on discussions, dialogue and brainstorming activities, jigsaw, role playing, case study, and sample analysis. This plan provides the following courses:

 

Courses
To achieve its objectives, the programme offers required basic courses and optional, elective courses. Besides these courses there are prerequisite courses for students who lack a satisfactory educational background.

 

Basic Core
Eight basic theoretical courses and a graduation project are required. The total is twenty-seven credit hours (a credit hour equals 16 theoretical classes, including test time). Following are the theoretical and practical training courses:

 

Course Number Course Credit Hours
501 Introduction to Special Education 3
502 Introduction to Learning Difficulties 3
503 Neuropsychology 2
504 Assessment and Diagnosis of LD 2
505 Educational Strategies (1) 4
506 Educational Strategies (2) 2
507 General Psychology 3
508 Graduating Project 6

 

Optional Core
Four theoretical courses are offered in this core to foster the learner's abilities and to enhance his psychological educational knowledge. The student is given the choice to study two out of the following:

 

Course Number Course Credit Hours
509 Psychology of Growth 3
510 Behavioural Problems 3
511 Mental Hygiene 3
512 Counseling 3

 

Prerequisite Core
This core is provided for students who lack the necessary educational or psychological background. It consists of nine credit hours amounting to three courses:

 

Course Number Course Credit Hours
401 Fundamentals of Education 3
402 Educational Psychology 3

403

Measurement and Statistics in Education 3

Course Description
1- Introduction to Special Education
(501) 3 credit hours / Basic
This course provides a knowledge of the concept of special education: its bases, its categories and the behavioural features of each category, percentage, causes, diagnostic methods, aids and supports, and adoption of modern educational trends in providing services like early intervention, inclusion in the mainstream, or the least possible restricted environment.

2- Introduction to Learning Difficulties
(502) 3 credit hours / Basic
This course presents the theoretical information needed to clarify the concept of learning difficulties, the attitude towards L.Ds children, and the skills needed to screen and diagnose sufferers. Besides, this course describes the personal characteristics of these children, discusses L.D causes, and concentrates on educational services provided to deal with them in school and at home.

3- Neuropsychology
(503) 2 credit hours / Basic
This course concentrates on the nervous system especially the central, the importance of its normal functioning for good social adaptation, and the effect of minor dysfunction causing learning difficulties.

4- Assessment and Evaluation of LD
(504) 2 credit hours / Basic
This course shows the theoretical bases in evaluating learning difficulties, techniques used in diagnosing different cases and in categorizing and distinguishing these cases from other educational problems. It teaches how to use the results of diagnosis in forming proper individual educational plans for systematic intervention.

5- Learning Strategies “1”
(505) 4 credit hours/ Basic
This course works on linking concepts and terminology used in learning difficulties to suitable strategies in dealing with children suffering from L.Ds. In addition, the course teaches the students how to write out I.E.P and specify appropriate strategies taking into account the learning style and the special needs of the targeted child.

6- Learning Strategies “2”
(506) 2 credit hours / Basic
This course provides theoretical information and requires the application of practical procedures to enable learners to understand, select and apply appropriate strategies which would help L.Ds children overcome their difficulties, or adjust to them in the fields of Arabic and mathematics.

7- General Psychology
(507) 3 credit hours / Basic
This course offers knowledge about human behavior in general, proposes different theories that try to explain it and studies the factors that affect the behaviour of a human being as a social being with a well integrated personality. It studies the psychological processes a human being undergoes from early childhood to the latest stages of his development. The course also exposes the disorders that might influence human behavior.

8- Graduating Project
(508) 6 credit hours
The practical component of the programme is given special attention. Its plan was laid out in a way that the student could apply his knowledge and skills on actual cases of school children. The plan requires the student to apply tests available at the Centre and subsequently submit his application results in a portfolio for the purposes of discussion and correction by members of the Centre. After that, the student chooses one of his cases where comprehensive evaluation showed that the child is suffering from learning difficulties. The student begins intervention by writing an individual educational plan. This plan must contain long and short term objectives, special educational strategies, evaluation methods and dates. The plan must be evaluated by a committee of three external examiners who decide passing or failing the project. The student is required to visit two resource room teachers to be familiar with their work.

9- Psychology of Growth
(509) 3 credit hours / optional
This course examines the principles and factors that influence a child's growth and the formation of his personality from different sides. It concentrates on roles which teachers could play to facilitate normal growth and actualization of potential.

10- Behavioural Problems
(510) 3 credit hours / optional
This course provides a comprehensive look at concepts, causes, types, theories, evaluation methods, diagnosis of behavioural problems and suggested treatment. This stems from the idea that these disorders do not influence the educational process only, but influence also the process of interaction between the individual and his personal equilibrium and the social environment.

11- Mental Hygiene
(511) 3 credit hours / optional
This course deals with the concepts and characteristics of mental hygiene and its importance for a proper life. It includes types of accommodation, and causes of bad accommodation. It also discusses the personality, its theories, normal and exceptional behavior, personality disorders, like frustration, anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, justification, impulsiveness, and ways of treating these disorders.

12- Counseling
(512) 3 credit hours / optional
The course explains counseling theories, well-known definitions, basic concepts, basic principles and the characteristics of an active counselor. It requires the practical application of theories on hypothetical cases representing psychological problems in addition to mastering the most important counseling methods and their proper application.

13- Fundamentals of Education
(401) 3 credit hours / prerequisite
This course sets forth the meaning of education and its different concepts. It discusses goals, functions, purposes, necessity and its relation to other fields. It also discusses its different philosophical schools as well as the psychological, social, cultural, economic and environmental bases on which it stands. The importance of innovation in education is also raised in this course.

14- Educational Psychology
(402) 3 credit hours/ prerequisite
This course handles in a systematic way the cognitive behavior in different educational situations and the factors that interfere in learning. It tackles learning principles and ways of improving them. Besides, the course concentrates on different theories of learning to explain the process of learning and their educational application. The course is concluded by showing the importance of statistics and evaluation in learning.

15- Principles of Statistics and Educational Measurement
(403) 3 credit hours / prerequisite.
This course introduces basic concepts of measurement, evaluation and statistics in education. It shows the importance and functions of evaluation in the educational process It examines its diverse methods and stresses the strong relation to goal achievement. The student also studies the basic concepts of descriptive statistics for the purposes of showing evaluation results and explaining them in an efficient way.

The Formal Tests
Listed below are the formal, adapted tests available at the Centre. They are used in assessing and diagnosing learning difficulties. The higher diploma students are trained to apply them on the different cases they study and analyze their result:

1- Perceptual Tests:
- Auditory Analysis Skills Test
- Auditory Sequencial Memory Test
- Auditory Memory Span Test
- Auditory Discrimination Test
- Visual Motor Association Test
- Visual Motor Integration Test
- Visual Analysis Skills Test

2- Academic Tests
- Diagnostic Scale of Basic Arabic Skills
- Reading Miscues Analysis Inventory
- Classroom Reading Inventory
- Diagnostic Scale of Basic Arithmetic

3- Intelligent Tests
- The Jordanian version of “Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children” (WISC-111).

Administration Instructions
Admission Policy

To be accepted in this programme, the candidate should have and do the following:-
1- A general certificate of secondary education or its equivalent.
2- A university first degree obtained by regular attendance with not less than "good" average.
3- A teaching experience of not less than two years and not exceeding fifteen.
4- Submit an application with (JD30) as administration fees together with the following accredited documents:
a. A copy of the university certificate.
b. A copy of the university transcript.
c. A copy of the general Tawjihi certificate transcript.
d. A copy of the birth certificate.
e. A copy of the ID card.
f. A copy of the Family Civilian Record.
g. A copy of the military service document.
h. Two photos.
i. A copy of experience certificate.
5. Pass a special interview.
6. Adhere to the study regulations of Al-Balqa Applied University.

Study Period and Credit Hours
The duration of study is one calendar year. It covers 33 credit hours distributed over two academic semesters and a summer term for students specialized in education, psychology and high diploma holders in education. For other relating specializations, the study period lasts two academic semesters and two summer terms because of prerequisite courses.
A student's load in each semester is between 6-12 credit hours. The upper limit allowed for a student to complete the diploma requirements is six semesters excluding the summer one(s). A student can postpone study with acceptable reasons after the first semester for not more than two semesters.

Attendance
Classes in the two semesters are afternoon classes from 3p.m. to 6p.m. 3 or 4 days a week for all education specializations. The non-education specializations attend classes all weekdays. In the summer term, lectures are held in the morning from 9a.m.-2p.m. all weekdays for all students.

Fees
Fees are to be paid in full before attending classes during the registration period. Twenty five JDs are required per credit hour. The charge covers textbooks and testing battery.
According to a signed agreement with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry pays the credit hours fess, while a school donation fund pays for the student's testing battery. No student is exempt from paying for the testing battery, even if he is working as a teacher in a school that owns such a battery, unless he gets a special permission from the College's dean.

Graduating and Privileges
The passing mark in each of the theoretical courses is 60%; marks are distributed as shown below:
A- First exam., 25%
B- Second exam., 25%
C- Final exam., 50%

Upon the successful completion of the required courses and the graduating project, the student is awarded a higher diploma in L.D.s by the PSCC sanctioned by a decision issued by the AAU authorities. This diploma qualifies its holder to become a resource teacher or to pursue his higher studies at universities.