16th October 2017
Continuing Proffessional Development
Staff met in faculty groups to review how ‘Independence’ has been covered and plan developments ready for the second half of the Spring Term when it returns as a whole school focus.
We began by watching a video clip in which adults with learning disabilities talked about the value they place on their independence, particularly with regards to having the power to make choices. We also had the opportunity to look through the residential care plans where each boarder has a list of life skills targets set by their key worker and it is anticipated that each young person will develop these self help skills regardless of their academic ability.
Each Faculty has different strategies that they are using to improve the skill of independence however they all experience similar stumbling blocks that seem to stem from issues of the pupils’ maturity rather than their academic abilities. Staff agrees that they have the tendency to intervene and offer support too quickly rather than stepping back and allowing the pupil time to sort things out for themselves. Sometimes the protracted amount of time needed for pupils to complete a task independently requires the staff to hold their nerve. Sometimes it is about practicing and maintaining a routine until it becomes embedded and this requires a judgment call to ensure that there is pace and challenge to learning situations.
The Pastoral Support Team notice that part of the process of pupils learning to self regulate their behaviour can lead to them becoming opportunistic, requesting time out to avoid their academic work and this leads to another piece of work for the Team.
Generally staff are finding that a difficulty for our pupils is problem solving in a group situation, pupils appear not to understand the different roles in group work, many individuals want to lead but the leaders are not very effective communicators and delegators, individuals focus on completing the task rather than involving the group; pupils are either passive or bicker with each other. This could be a focus for the communication work next half term.
Staff members are noticing that pupils are recognising that they have completed a piece of work independently; pupils are proud of this and seem to use it as a consoling factor if they have made mistakes.
The Creative Arts Faculty recognise that the pupils will refine, practice and develop their work when there is the pressure of a performance or an exhibition but in normal lessons struggle to do this, they focus on completing a task. Is it the case that for performances the pupils opt or are selected for the work and they are perhaps like minded or at a similar developmental level?
To summarise staff are working to ensure that pupils are not passive learners in all aspects of the curriculum in diverse and creative ways befitting the nature of the subject. An aspect to work on is resilience and something that we feel we need to add is a focus week to celebrating mistakes so that we learn not to be fearful of them.