Mrs. Joanna (Asha) Teresa Dyakowska, teacher , advocate and mom

My portfolio

Here is my portfolio for the Masters in Special Education Program which I completed over the three year period of 2002 and 2005. It contains the three goals that I set out to achieve as well as the supporting evidence of having arrived at these goals. The metaphor I used for my journey through the program is that of a hallway with many rooms. The doors represent the courses I took. The artifacts linked to the above goals represent my interests in the three areas of concentration explored by me in the program. There are some visuals here which represent my philosphy and interest in integrating the arts with the academics as well as my strong love for freedom of expression, ownership of learning outcomes and long lasting love and passion for discovery. Feelings, emotions, music, sounds, textures, colour all are part of my gathering of tools as a teacher, educator and parent.

My final Presentation
Power Point Presentation of my Final EPSE 590 course. It is a description of my journey through the MED Program.

Narrative for Power Point

Goal 1

Role of Parents in Special Education

Importance of Collaboration with Parents in Planning and Developing of Intervention and/or Individual Educational Plans for Students with Disabilities

My goal here is to examine and learn about the origins of parental advocacy movement and how it had influenced the provision of special education services to children with exceptionalities. Iâ‚„d like to focus on the importance of the collaborative processes in developing intervention plans and particularly the significance of understanding family contexts in building capacity for diversity in Canadian schools with specific focus on Special Education

Role of parents in collaborative processes
Poster on collaborative processes between parents and educators in developing and implementing Positive Behaviour Support plans and other interventions

Parents Create Better Schools
This paper I wrote at the end of EPSE 573, a course on Diversity in Education, brought a together some of my thoughts on the research papers I collected over the years as well as courses I took where I focused on the role and importance of parents in the educational system. I tried to emphasize here the importance of individual advocacy efforts of parents as well as the importance of collaboration and meaningful dialogue between parents, teachers and schools.

My Reflection

I think that the best way to summarize my reflection of my journey in the program I took is to look at the attached annotated bibiliography. "Anna's Story" is an article that describes my feelings and untold reasons for wanting to help those children who are different and learn differently. It is my motive for wanting to help find a voice for children with learning difficulities.

"Anna's Story"

Goal 2

Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities , Theory Practice Links

My goal here is to learn about the theoretical basis of Learning Disabilities, to examine the definitions, types of LD, funding for LD and latest approaches to interventions in LD. In particular my aim is to find links between theories of Multiple Intelligences, Multisensory teaching and their effectiveness in creating supportive and inclusive learning environments for a wide range of learners.

Choices in Education
This is a buffet table of choices :Choices in Education and Choices in the classroom. This table of choices can serve as a powerful tool when teaching children with learning disabilities as well as highly able learners. It allows for freedom,creativity and choice in designing and accomplishing tasks.

Learning Disabilities - Definitions
The following are some of the definitions of learning disabilities as discussed in my courses on LD

Math disabilities
Hands on Math - this is a remedial approach to addressing Math disabilites using Mortensen Math Manipulatives. This presentation is a result of a workshop I took with Marilyn Wardrop. It involves the use of color coded manipulatives , drawing and coloring the equations and naming/writing the equations.

Painting in the garden, colors, textures, feelings
Painting in the garden, colors, textures, feelings

My resume

In addition to my academic accomplishments I think of myself as a creative person, always learning and wanting to learn new things. My special interests lie in the area of art and multisensory teaching, the use of colour and artistic expression in learning and teaching. I have completed courses and workshops in drawing, painting and the use of colour and different art media in creating special effects. I specialize in "face" and "body" painting in my spare time, where I transform ordinary human beings into extraordinary animal look alikes. I enjoy volunteering my time at community and school fairs as a resident face painter.


Gifted Kids
Gifted Kids

Goal 3

High Ability Learners

In this goal I would like to broaden my understanding of Gifted or High Ability Learners, examine how learning disabilities fit into the context of GLD and how Emotional Fragility changes the understanding of what a gifted learner is. I would like to confirm my understanding of the importance of creativity, interest and choice in achieving optimum outcomes in the learning objectives of gifted and LD students.

I would like to learn about motivational constructs, how they are defined and how they can be enhanced to provide a wide range of learning opportunities and possibilities for such students.

Social-emotional aspects of highly able learners

This poster accompanies the above paper, it is a graphic representation of a problem. It can be used as a presentation tool at a parent/teacher interview, planning meeting etc. It can also serve as a template for looking at problems and creating solutions.

Poster on Social-emotional aspects of a gifted learner

Creativity and the high ability student
Here are some of my ideas on addressing high ability students and creativity. I focused here on the use of Multiple Intelligences in the classroom which would allow students to explore their passions and learn using their innate strengths.

Courses I took

The program consisted of a selection of courses, most in seminar form, all offered by knowlegeable instructors, most of them experts in their fields. I was fortunate enough to work professors and instructors from academic as well practical fields. Some of them included Dr. McBride, former director of the Special Education Branch for the Ministry of Education of BC, Dr. Carter, director of Special Education Services for several school districts in the province of British Columbia, Dr. Porath, an expert in the field of High ability learners, Dr. Lucyshyn and Dr. Mirenda both highly regarded academics in the field of Functional Assessment, family collaborations and autism.

This is a list of the courses I took in my MEd Program 1.EPSE 512 Critical Issues in Special Education 2.EPSE 505 Developmental Psychology 3.EPSE 584 Motivation in Education 4.EPSE 433 Functional Assesement and Positive Behaviour Support Plans 5.EPSE 514 PBS and Intervention Plans 6.EPSE 565 Social-Emotional Developement of Gifted Learners 7.EPSE 573 Diversity in Education 8.EPSE 516 High Ability Learners 9.EPSE 526 Learning Disabilities 10.EPSE 316 Learning Disabilities 11.EPSE 590 Graduating Portfolio

This electronic portfolio was created using the KML Snapshot Tool™, a part of the KEEP Toolkit™,
developed at the Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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