I attended a workshop with John Armstrong last week. It was a two day seminar on Social Role Valorisation. And, while for me, he is probably preaching to the converted, there was one line he said that really stood out.
“Your duty of care to someone with competency issues is to ensure they ‘grow and develop’. ”
It is THAT simple.
Too often those working in education claim it is ‘too hard, the child is too disabled, too dangerous, there’s not enough funding, will impact on the learning/safety of others, they are not trained for this, there’s places for children like this’.
But, when you break it down to simply ENSURE they GROW and DEVELOP then surely much of the fear can dissipate.
If those adults in roles of power took this on board then the goals could be simpler, clearer and specific to the child in question – not confused by anything other than growth and development appropriate to the individual.
To grow and develop would mean every child would be striving to achieve PBs (personal bests) again, appropriate to the individual (btw, this does not mean life skills –that is a cop out by educators).
Everyone has the ability to learn, everyone is educable and everyone can grow and develop given the opportunity.
We wondered if it would happen? What would it be for? Did we want him to receive something just because it was his turn? Would he be truly deserving of such recognition? How will it not be seen as the “sympathy award”?
OK, we are new to this school caper… plenty of kids get awards for all sorts of funny little reasons – clearly important to that individual… who cares if they seem silly to others. Personal growth is indeed more important than comparison to others – we absolutely understand that – nice to have the reminder though.
We had a nice chuckle to ourselves when we realised this. We thought back to the pride we felt when we were five years old receiving an award for one thing or another but we did wonder, was our award ever as insightful as this one for Mac, did our Teacher “nail it” as far as really ‘getting us’?
Mac received a Merit Award for his “Keen Interest in Music”.
This is a very appropriate award for Mac (although the fact he cried when they turned off the heel-n-toe polka might have been a bit of a give away). Even so, there are a few things that make Mac tic… music is one of them.
It was wonderful to have that not only identified, but recognised.
Ever wondered how to get school uniforms for a very small child?
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