Tag Archives: relationships

The Power of Relationships⤴

from @ EduBlether

You know those children that take your breath away? The children who keep you up at night with thoughts of exactly what else you can do to help them. The sort of children who require constant curiosity to unpick and unravel their unpredictable behaviour. The children who no matter what you do, and what you try, they refuse to conform to a system that is not designed for them. I’ve been thinking a lot about those children recently.

Every teacher has worked with these children. Every person working in education has a story of a child that they can’t forget after many years have passed. We have all felt the frustration of believing we are failing a child because, despite all the effort and energy, we still haven’t cracked the puzzle of the individual and unique range of needs this child has.

This post is a celebration and recognition of those children first and foremost, but also of the team of dedicated and incredibly resilient professionals who have worked tirelessly to help these children. In the time I have been teaching and working in schools I have had the absolute pleasure and joy of working with so many children whom, for whatever reason, do not fit the traditional mould of schooling. So many children who have required a creative, flexible and alternative approach to achieve progress, success and flourishment. And the successes I have observed are incredible. Heartwarming. Life-changing.

The key to every single element of success I have ever experienced with children facing challenges like this, is relationships. Strong, meaningful and at times irrational relationships. The teachers and support staff and other professionals I have worked with who have invested heavily in these relationships have made the difference. Tireless in the pursuit of helping that particular child feel more safe, more valued, more loved.

Relationships are the keystone in the bridge between these children and them feeling like they belong. Professionals who are dedicated above all else to making the child in front of them feel loved and cared for. Someone who is willing to look past the rigid and inflexible pursuit of conformity and to see that child for who they truly are; a fellow human with their own outlook and perspective of the world. From my experience, with the gifted and incredibly talented staff I have had the pleasure of working with, it is this that makes the difference beyond anything else. When you boil it down, taking away all the strategies, interventions and different approaches, what you are left with is an adult who cares enough to care.

That adult who believes in relationships is not weak. They are not simply allowing the child to do what they like. No. Because they care so much, they are relentless in their approach to helping that child do better. They are dogged in their attempts to make that child succeed despite the challenges they face. I get frustrated when I hear a focus on relationships described as a “soft” approach. It’s the hardest thing I have ever been a part of. It would be easy to let a child do what they like and not hold them to account. It would be soft to give out high fives when being met with flying chairs.

But any teacher who has ever invested in relationships knows that in order to build meaningful relationships with children like this, the key lies in unwaveringly high expectations. Difficult conversations, consequences and accountability are a hugely significant aspect of relational practice. But these are far more powerful If that child knows that you care about them, and are holding them to account because you care too much about them to allow them to fail. These practices have much more impact if they run alongside a huge level of support, where the professionals change their practices and adapt approaches to ensure that they can better meet the needs of the child they are working with. High levels of support crossing over with high levels of expectation and challenge is where you build strong and purposeful relationships that lead to a child facing significant challenges beginning to realise their potential.
As well as the child beginning to flourish I believe that relationships also come with a significant reward for the professionals involved. I say this from personal experience. My understanding of fairness and respect has been altered by my interactions with these children. I am more aware of the impact of my decisions and the unequal amount of power I have as the professional adult in these relationships. I have a better awareness of the lived experience of children who have faced unimaginable challenges, and this has fuelled a passionate desire to create a more inclusive and understanding school and education system for them. I have laughed, cried and created memories I will cherish forever with these children. In short, my life has been changed for the better by the relationships I have formed with these truly amazing, incredible and breathtaking children, and by working alongside some truly inspirational colleagues in the pursuit of something great.

Dragons on Social Media⤴

from @ blethers

Now here's a thing. I have an ambivalent attitude to Facebook. It shows in the fact that I very rarely
post directly to it; I will share something that I find interesting or provocative but apart from that anything that appears from me comes through other social media outlets, primarily Twitter. But I use Facebook because it's useful - useful for contacting people, for posting group updates, for finding people.

That said, there are some implications in using such a medium. I came up against one yesterday, when I discovered quite by accident that someone I know in real life (RL) had "unfriended" me. (Vile phrase, but that's what it says). I only found out when I wanted to tag this person, to draw his attention to a piece of local news that could have had an effect on him. What could I have done to offend him? Had I snubbed him hideously? Maligned him in public?

Not being the reticent type, I asked him. His reply indicated that he'd found my posts too limited in range (i.e. not interesting to him personally). I'll not say anything about the things he posts about, nor about the online "friendships" he has struck up with people who are actually my friends. (I know - I've just said it. No details, though ...) 

And I realised - or at least I think I did - that actually it was ignorance that had caused him to cut me off in this unseemly fashion. For it is perfectly possible to hide the posts of someone you find tedious without actually consigning them to virtual outer darkness. Either he didn't care (so not ignorant) or he hadn't realised.

The fact is that I don't actually care either. But it brought home to me the added dimension of having an online connection with someone you see on a regular basis. It made me want to shun Facebook, as a goodly number of people do - but that's just silly. When I suggested it to another friend (RL as well as virtual) she protested that she enjoys my posts and links. So I'll just carry on for now.

But I realise that my attitude to this chap whose grasp of the niceties of relationships is so inadequate has changed. Perhaps I've learned something about him that it's good to have found out before it impinged on my everyday life. And I am reflecting on the fact that I originally signed up for F/b (long after I was an early adopter of Twitter) because it allowed for a more varied collection of people to stay in touch - former pupils, former colleagues, my family - and that is as important as it ever was.

But I shall think twice before automatically accepting the "friendship" of people I consider acquaintances - for there be dragons.


Dragons on Social Media⤴

from @ blethers

Now here's a thing. I have an ambivalent attitude to Facebook. It shows in the fact that I very rarely
post directly to it; I will share something that I find interesting or provocative but apart from that anything that appears from me comes through other social media outlets, primarily Twitter. But I use Facebook because it's useful - useful for contacting people, for posting group updates, for finding people.

That said, there are some implications in using such a medium. I came up against one yesterday, when I discovered quite by accident that someone I know in real life (RL) had "unfriended" me. (Vile phrase, but that's what it says). I only found out when I wanted to tag this person, to draw his attention to a piece of local news that could have had an effect on him. What could I have done to offend him? Had I snubbed him hideously? Maligned him in public?

Not being the reticent type, I asked him. His reply indicated that he'd found my posts too limited in range (i.e. not interesting to him personally). I'll not say anything about the things he posts about, nor about the online "friendships" he has struck up with people who are actually my friends. (I know - I've just said it. No details, though ...) 

And I realised - or at least I think I did - that actually it was ignorance that had caused him to cut me off in this unseemly fashion. For it is perfectly possible to hide the posts of someone you find tedious without actually consigning them to virtual outer darkness. Either he didn't care (so not ignorant) or he hadn't realised.

The fact is that I don't actually care either. But it brought home to me the added dimension of having an online connection with someone you see on a regular basis. It made me want to shun Facebook, as a goodly number of people do - but that's just silly. When I suggested it to another friend (RL as well as virtual) she protested that she enjoys my posts and links. So I'll just carry on for now.

But I realise that my attitude to this chap whose grasp of the niceties of relationships is so inadequate has changed. Perhaps I've learned something about him that it's good to have found out before it impinged on my everyday life. And I am reflecting on the fact that I originally signed up for F/b (long after I was an early adopter of Twitter) because it allowed for a more varied collection of people to stay in touch - former pupils, former colleagues, my family - and that is as important as it ever was.

But I shall think twice before automatically accepting the "friendship" of people I consider acquaintances - for there be dragons.


Dragons on Social Media⤴

from @ blethers

Now here's a thing. I have an ambivalent attitude to Facebook. It shows in the fact that I very rarely
post directly to it; I will share something that I find interesting or provocative but apart from that anything that appears from me comes through other social media outlets, primarily Twitter. But I use Facebook because it's useful - useful for contacting people, for posting group updates, for finding people.

That said, there are some implications in using such a medium. I came up against one yesterday, when I discovered quite by accident that someone I know in real life (RL) had "unfriended" me. (Vile phrase, but that's what it says). I only found out when I wanted to tag this person, to draw his attention to a piece of local news that could have had an effect on him. What could I have done to offend him? Had I snubbed him hideously? Maligned him in public?

Not being the reticent type, I asked him. His reply indicated that he'd found my posts too limited in range (i.e. not interesting to him personally). I'll not say anything about the things he posts about, nor about the online "friendships" he has struck up with people who are actually my friends. (I know - I've just said it. No details, though ...) 

And I realised - or at least I think I did - that actually it was ignorance that had caused him to cut me off in this unseemly fashion. For it is perfectly possible to hide the posts of someone you find tedious without actually consigning them to virtual outer darkness. Either he didn't care (so not ignorant) or he hadn't realised.

The fact is that I don't actually care either. But it brought home to me the added dimension of having an online connection with someone you see on a regular basis. It made me want to shun Facebook, as a goodly number of people do - but that's just silly. When I suggested it to another friend (RL as well as virtual) she protested that she enjoys my posts and links. So I'll just carry on for now.

But I realise that my attitude to this chap whose grasp of the niceties of relationships is so inadequate has changed. Perhaps I've learned something about him that it's good to have found out before it impinged on my everyday life. And I am reflecting on the fact that I originally signed up for F/b (long after I was an early adopter of Twitter) because it allowed for a more varied collection of people to stay in touch - former pupils, former colleagues, my family - and that is as important as it ever was.

But I shall think twice before automatically accepting the "friendship" of people I consider acquaintances - for there be dragons.


Solution Oriented Approaches⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

The Rights, Support and Wellbeing Team hope to revise the current guidance and training materials on solution oriented approaches in schools in the coming school session. We hope to update this to reflect the ongoing innovative work that is being implemented in local authorities and will be looking for a number of representatives to support a working group to take this forward.

 

If you are involved in this work and are interested, contact:

gail.nowek@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk.

Nurturing Approaches in Secondary Schools⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Following the successful launch of ‘Nurturing Approaches in Secondary Schools’ training materials at the Scottish Learning Festival, we have a number of National Training events coming up soon. Part 1, of a 4 Day Training, will be held in Glasgow on the 2nd and 3rd of November and Part 2 will be held in Glasgow on the 23rd and 24th of November.   There will be a second event in Edinburgh with Part 1 being held on the 10th and 11th of November and Part 2 on the 15th and 16th of December. This training will cover all the key modules over a 4 day training period and will enable key staff to deliver it and embed it within a local authority or within their own school. Recommended participants at this training would include: Authority representatives with a key inclusion/support remit; school senior management; nurture teachers and Educational Psychologists. There will be an expectation that attendees with evaluate the impact of the training immediately after and 3 months after attending.

Places can be booked on through the Education Scotland Events Page

A number of local authorities have also embarked on their own bespoke training for Nurture including East Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire. This can be negotiated as part of an authorities strategic focus with link officers and the RSW Team. There is also ongoing evaluation and support for a number of pilot schools who are taking this initiative forward and we look forward to sharing more on how this has been going, with you in the future.