Inclusive Practice
Equality and Wellbeing
© L M Chapman 2010
Introduction
This draft document sets out the ideas, principles and practice that contribute to
young people’s long-term w...
Section 1 – Ideas and Theory
Defining terms:
Inclusive Practice
Definitions of ‘inclusion’ vary widely, and because people...
better entitlement for all children and ensure an increasing quality and better
standards across all provision.
The princi...
the one hand, people need the present to be positive; on the other, they need to
entertain and plan for a future that is b...
Loving Family X X
Friendship X X X X X
Healthy lifestyle X X X X X X
Effective education X X X X X
Mental health X X
Econo...
Trying to make people fit into the system has been identified as a significant cause of
disaffection, standardised deliver...
effectively ensure that all learners have an increasing access to wider opportunities.
In addition, addressing culture foc...
Section 2 - Principle and Practice
Invitation and Acceptance
Belonging is everything!
To be proactive in encouraging diffe...
Families, parents and carers are encouraged to stay and participate in
daily activities.
Primary school Ensuring links wit...
Family and Community Connection
Equal Contribution and Partnership.
Practitioners will only be able to support young peopl...
Organisation Practice
Early years and
Children’s
services
Supporting families as equal partners. Families, parents and car...
building relationships is viewed as central to developing a collaborative ethos. When families
and practitioners are encou...
Healthy lifestyle
Balance and congruence – informed choice.
Choice and option are very different; in order to stimulate ch...
biology facts into food technology classes. While young people
have a more personal choice in medium, key knowledge is
dev...
Effective Education
Right and Responsibility: All members direct their own learning.
In order to create a learning communi...
metaphor for the movement towards more ownership of theories of practice. By adding
creation to the idea of participation ...
newsletter which summarises the most successful stories once a term.
There is a prize from the Chancellor awarded to the m...
Capacity Development
Broaden-and-Build & Growth Mindset
The freedom to participate in a wide variety of activities that in...
Organisation Practice
Early years
and
Children’s
services
Activities are child led, practitioners build in learning goals ...
Personal Values
It is important that contribution is fully valued in order to ensure an ownership of knowledge
that can le...
Children’s
services
explore differences, and practitioners are very careful to use
neutral tones. This has necessitated a ...
Meaning and Purpose
Achieving Equity
Whilst achieving social justice is often seen as outside the remit of educational pro...
Sector Practice
Early years and
Children’s services
A play scheme changes the rules of games on certain days to
accommodat...
both within and outside the organisation.
In conclusion:
When well-being is viewed as one of many perspectives that make u...
Equity means all children are getting equal levels of satisfaction and benefit from shared
activities. Having an opportuni...
References:
Atweh, B. Kemmis, S. and Weeks, P. (1998), Action Research in Practice: Partnerships for Social
Justice in Edu...
Inclusive practice and wellbeing
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Inclusive practice and wellbeing

  1. 1. Inclusive Practice Equality and Wellbeing © L M Chapman 2010
  2. 2. Introduction This draft document sets out the ideas, principles and practice that contribute to young people’s long-term well-being in an educational setting. The ideas put forward are far from extensive, however they do provide a basic framework from which practitioners can build their own personal strategies. Progress is rarely linear. And yet we are all taught to think in a linear way from our earliest days to the end of university education. This is why creative people often find themselves at odds with education and why many people who succeed in education in increasing difficulties. These problems are deep enough to reconsider the fundamental assumptions on which we are now basing our systems of education and training. (Robinson, 2001, page 48) Understanding inclusive practice is fundamental to the good practice development within any organisation. Furthermore, supporting learner potential within an inclusive environment is a right to which all learners are entitled. To make this a reality however, mainstream practice needs to change in order to ensure fairer opportunity for all. To this end practitioners have a duty to share the responsibility to make it happen. Celebrating Creativity Well-being underpins creativity, because it is only when needs are met and learning is valued that people have the capacity to be creative. Feeling equal, and being treated differently, allows for individuality to be respected and for differences to be encouraged. This implies that people understand that however similar their needs are, the way they are met will be different in order to achieve fairness. When people feel well and free from harm, they are more likely to be honest about what they need to achieve their own success. However, being healthy and safe is only a minimum, to flourish people need to make progress, to be engaged and able to contribute to shared goals.
  3. 3. Section 1 – Ideas and Theory Defining terms: Inclusive Practice Definitions of ‘inclusion’ vary widely, and because people’s views are polarised, perspectives can be highly contradictory. On one side there are definitions that support a degree of investment in segregated institutions, while at the other end of the scale there are those that state that any learner can be made to integrate a mainstream institution. Neither option is satisfactory in terms of the antithesis of ‘social exclusion’ which also suggests that some forms of exclusion are not social and are therefore acceptable (Ainscow 2006). Both perspectives do not take into account of the huge scale of change needed to realise a fully inclusive state, one that is highly unlikely to be achieved in a lifetime. Inclusion at best may be seen as a concept towards which both separate and mainstream services strive within existing constraints. For this reason in this document ‘inclusive practice’ has been chosen, in preference to ‘inclusion’, to reflect a lengthy process, one in which educational purpose may need reviewing. Furthermore, the articulated movement implied by practice, reinforces the idea that culture change is always subject to revaluation. The emphasis here is on reflection, and the development of knowledge and skills congruent with the influence of wider social pressures. Inclusive practice, therefore, implies both personal development and organisational transformation, both clearly articulated in the way people work. To reflect the understanding that inclusive practice is a way of working underpinned by an understanding of transformation. Inclusive practice is an emergent process: rather than offering an alternative to existing norms, it builds on existing best practice and develops new ways of working that eventually transforms culture. It is vital that inclusive practice is not understood as a tool to ‘mainstream’ the difficult or the needy. Crucially, practice needs to be person-centred if it is to respect and respond to individual need with flexibility. The development of inclusive practice fundamentally tackles the issue of equity - equal outcomes. Changes in practice made to address culture will ultimately secure a
  4. 4. better entitlement for all children and ensure an increasing quality and better standards across all provision. The principle of equality has to be reinforced and extended by the practice of equity. On the basis of the discussion so far three broad principles about the nature of inclusive practice will inform the rest of this document: Equality: every human being has an absolute and equal right to common dignity and parity of esteem and entitlement to access the benefits of society on equal terms. Equity: every human being has a right to benefit from the outcomes of society on the basis of fairness and according to need. Social justice: justice requires deliberate and specific intervention to secure equality and equity. (Chapman & West-Burnham 2009, page 26) Intentional steps towards greater equity engage all participants by creating an environment that enables well-being. It builds on existing success by changing practice and policies within organisations, in order to strengthen the relationships that help improve the lives of whole communities. Evidence from the UK shows that irrespective of their differences, all learners can be successfully included in appropriately accommodated mainstream settings. However, the challenge is to address both inequality and variation, so that all families can rely on high quality provision irrespective of locality. Inclusive practice is an important component of a wider move towards enabling environments and positive relationships, one which will ensure all children can reach and exceed expectation, fulfil early promise and develop latent potential. At the heart of inclusive practice is the expectation of participation, fulfilment and success. (NCSL West-Burnham 2008). The development of inclusive practice will ultimately have a positive impact on every learner’s well-being, as specific strategies are developed to give a worthwhile and more enjoyable experience. The extent to which children’s well-being is taken seriously and their experience monitored will help improve life-chances for all. Well-being Being proactive in seeking well-being can be understood as a two-step process. On
  5. 5. the one hand, people need the present to be positive; on the other, they need to entertain and plan for a future that is both hopeful and possible. According to research, people are happier when having identified their strengths; they can put them to good use in a meaningful way. If the skills enabling present happiness are so important to people’s long-term well-being, they need to be part of the organisation’s strategic priorities. Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities are quite prepared to teach learners many skills, yet those that underpin well-being are sometimes not seen as primary concern. One of the reasons this may be that well-being is viewed as deeply personal. However, to enable learners to flourish, practitioners need to gain a deeper understanding of its qualities in order to develop explicit strategies to build up learner resilience. Where these are successful, learners will be better able to achieve their potential within education and beyond. Increasing research suggests that happiness in the short term can be seen as a reliable indicator for future well-being. So teaching people in a way that enables present happiness will make it more likely that they develop in way that make well- being possible. From this perspective, and in congruence with an ethically committed and rights based approach, seeking to build well-being also delivers on fairness. Insofar as it is easier to extend to all young people the strategies that benefit well-being, rather than having to decide which categories of learners need help. While all learners are entitled to education, often a hierarchy of need imposes restrictions on access and opportunity. It could be argued that access is easiest for those who are most able to reach the highest places in educational attainment in the first place. If the purpose of an educational organisation is to support young people in their learning, and well-being impacts on development and creativity, by which criteria is marginalisation or exclusion permissible? Who does deserve a restricted entitlement? Table 1. Alternative perspectives on the components of well-being. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  6. 6. Loving Family X X Friendship X X X X X Healthy lifestyle X X X X X X Effective education X X X X X Mental health X X Economic security X X X X Physical welfare X X X Future potential X Personal safety X Community Connection X X Resilience Self-esteem X X X Cognitive development X Personal values X Meaning and Purpose X X Key: 1= Layard and Dunn 2= Alexander 3= ECM 4= UNICEF 5= New Economics Foundation 6= National Accounts of Wellbeing 7= Fauth and Thompson Any attempt to synthesise a range of alternative perspectives will always distort and this figure is no exception... However it is very interesting to reflect on the dominance of the interpersonal perhaps at the expense of the intrapersonal. There are only very limited references to moral and spiritual dimensions of life and, equally significant, no reference to happiness; although it is clearly implicit to most of the models. (West-Burnham 2010, unpublished) Why consider well-being? Why change culture?
  7. 7. Trying to make people fit into the system has been identified as a significant cause of disaffection, standardised delivery also reduces the possibility of creative solutions. Therefore, in the present climate of austerity, focusing on children’s well-being may not only help create positive strategies that improve opportunity for learner success but also increase effective use of resources. As every young person’s learning is enhanced by moving away from a view of children as passive receivers of adult- controlled provision and by empowering them in the process of change. In difficult times it is crucial to identify the strategies that act as levers, the ones that have most beneficial and longer-lasting impact. Furthermore, if these also increase the well- being of adults within the organisation, the whole culture may change in ways that are congruent with deeper ethical commitment to rights. In this way, well-being is seen less as a fad and taken as a moral imperative in addressing inequality. The Rights agenda covers participation, and identifying what may prevent people from participating fully is therefore at the heart of good practice. Addressing environmental inequality reinforces the understanding that everyone has a right to fair participation in equal opportunities. Moreover, it encourages practitioners to focus on physical, attitudinal and systematic barriers that stand in the way of reduced opportunity in accordance with compliance. A minimal understanding of discrimination is important: some people will face greater disadvantage because each day they experience less opportunity to participate in shared activities. Examples of environmental barriers include: • a failure to make activities accessible and enjoyable. • a failure to remove barriers to engagement. • a failure to identify stereotypical ideas and imagery and prejudicial behaviour. • a failure to provide equality in support services and adequate benefits for families. • a failure to take cases of unfair treatment to court. By empowering practitioners to actively change their environment, organisations can
  8. 8. effectively ensure that all learners have an increasing access to wider opportunities. In addition, addressing culture focuses attention on a responsibility for provision, and away from a ‘deficit model’ of the child, adult, family or community.
  9. 9. Section 2 - Principle and Practice Invitation and Acceptance Belonging is everything! To be proactive in encouraging different people to come through the door, practitioners need to have an outward looking attitude to the welcome. As well as having lots on offer in order to suit everyone within the organisation, the invitation to join in needs to be intentional. When information is readily shared with other professionals, families will be better supported when they move to new organisations. When practitioners are both confident and competent, their skill and knowledge is available to deliver a flexible service. When everyone is encouraged to tell others what they need to participate, and they are properly listened to, the welcome is assured in a way that suits them. On the most basic level, belonging is nurtured when the culture is accepting and allows each individual to be honest about his or her needs. Getting it right can often be straightforward if the strategies put in place help people feel they belong. However, things go wrong when practice does not support responsibility to develop acceptance, and people are expected to fit in. It is a lack of ‘shared and common agreement’ that is sometimes not expressed, and further reinforced by rigid systems, that can make people feel unwelcome. All too often information is held back, or decisions are made without enough thought as to who holds power in decision making. It is all too tempting for professionals to take charge and organise activities in ways that suit them and not the wishes of the child and families, parents and carers. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Working with other agencies to secure an intentional path for newborns and their families. Each member of the organisation taking personal responsibility for outreach and getting to know local families.
  10. 10. Families, parents and carers are encouraged to stay and participate in daily activities. Primary school Ensuring links with nurseries and secondary schools are made, and that relationships are established and developed, i.e. people from each organisation having contact details (first name terms). The use of documents to ensure transitions are stress free and enjoyable for all. i.e. ‘All about Me’ books describing the individuality of each child. Secondary school Ensuring links with primary schools are made, and that relationships are established and developed. Children moving to new schools are invited to orientation day. Schools using activity days, such as murder mystery, to give new young people a chance to explore the environment is a safe and meaningful way. FE and HE ‘Fresher Week’ does more than offer a social life to new students, it is understood that students who make friends are more likely to feel secure, reducing chances of drop out, and increasing the likelihood of academic progress as a result.
  11. 11. Family and Community Connection Equal Contribution and Partnership. Practitioners will only be able to support young people fully when families, parents and carers are considered to be valuable and are treated as equal partners alongside professionals. Furthermore, families are a valuable resource for all organisations. Families, parents and carers have expert knowledge on their child. In many cases when parent groups are hugely supportive of organisations they will make a vital contributions to the running of events, fund raising, helping out and so on. An inclusive setting needs this relationship, which is mutually beneficial, as the interaction between parents and the organisations has a wider positive impact on the community. However, some parents may need supporting in order to become involved, so the drive for involvement needs to come from within the setting needs to be intentional Association Assets: • the individual capacities of members • the power of relationships • shared interests • common goals • local connections • leadership potential • energy • local knowledge • commitment (Kreztmann & McKnight, ABCD Institute at Northwestern, 2010)
  12. 12. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Supporting families as equal partners. Families, parents and carers working in the setting as colleagues or time-share. Families attending meetings, in-house training and events. There are close links with Social Services and Sure Start to support families needing support: low-income families, young mums, and absent parents. Primary school Families, parents and carers involved in sharing children’s strengths and setting shared goals for development through individual profiles and learning personalizing learning plans. Behaviour plans are drawn up with family members so that preventative strategies are shared. Secondary school Families, parents and carers involved in parent partnership activities such as skill share programmes and adult teaching sessions extended to the whole locality. Family support has replaced respite care, with different groups of parents taking turns in providing out of school activities to enable others to have personal time. Meetings are held at different times so they do not always conflict with work; language and communications are made accessible for all, and parents views are routinely sought and acted on. FE and HE Professionals are appreciated for expressing a ‘can-do ‘ attitude, such as extending invites to both under- and post- graduates to help develop an ethos of collaborative learning where people are supported through relationships and teaching methods that support sharing. Meaningful Relationships Mutual Respect - Everyone is equally valued. A team approach is characterised by equal respect for everyone, where the importance of
  13. 13. building relationships is viewed as central to developing a collaborative ethos. When families and practitioners are encouraged to ask for, and accept, support trust grows. With trust comes the honesty to speak about weaknesses that can lead to new ways of working with a broader view and a different perspective. When everyone is encouraged to lead innovation in areas they feel confident with, mistakes are embraced, and opportunities for learning multiply. Also, according to most of the research, relationships are the most important factor affecting the wellbeing and ultimately life chances. Where practitioners understand that their work enhances resilience they know it protects children against wider social pressures. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Practitioners find it easy to say “it’s not ok” as there is a trust and good communication between everyone. Staff meetings are set out to support sharing: what’s going well, what do I need, what can I give. Primary school Friendship groups are respected and are used to facilitate inquiry work. Children are supported to work together on life based projects, such as restaurants or papers, where different abilities are needed and therefore skills and knowledge are shared. Secondary school While friendships are respected, effort is valued, when young people find ways of working with different individuals – across the group in peer coaching relationship, or between years with peer mentoring relationships. Great effort is taken to skill up young mentors and they attend teacher training sessions as often as possible. FE and HE Inter-school relationships are promoted by creating both inter- departmental areas for shared event, visiting lectures, and joint research. The intra-web supports a wiki of shared projects and findings with open access for contribution. Through the business school under and post graduate research is funded by local businesses who employ talented learners on fixed term contracts for development.
  14. 14. Healthy lifestyle Balance and congruence – informed choice. Choice and option are very different; in order to stimulate choice, options are needed, but the two are not synonymous. Choice requires a degree of freedom and control. What feels important to us is not always what is important for us. Exploring a person’s needs from these different perspectives may help practitioners develop more individual practice. Starting with what is important to each individual may help unlock their potential; this in turn may enable a more balanced approach to physical and mental health. Furthermore, building in activities that strengthen understanding of what is important to the learner, while addressing what is important to them, ensures a balanced approach that is more likely to ensure a further possibility of long-term well-being. Important to What is important to a person includes all of what they are ‘saying’: their words and their behaviour. It translates as being viewed as valuable members of the community. Important for What is important for people includes those things that we need to keep in mind for people regarding Issues of health and safety, or what others see as targets or standards for the organisation. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Ensuring equal and supported access to a whole range of activities for all children. This may involve freedom to enjoy risk in an environment free from hazard. From complex jigsaws to high climbing frames risk does not necessarily equate to danger. Primary school Facilitating wider option, by exploring choice/option that interests the learner most. Subjects are negotiated with young people in order to ‘double up’ on time for skill development. For example, incorporating maths principles into design classes, or
  15. 15. biology facts into food technology classes. While young people have a more personal choice in medium, key knowledge is developed using different approaches and teaching methods. Secondary school Supporting young people to explore their chosen area of specialisation by building in real involvement with local business partners. These partners take time in allocating jobs for young people that are both important to the business and worthwhile to the individual. Better relationships between school / community are a direct result of bringing resource into the school and a path for school leavers. FE and HE Mental health is a core priority, as staff are aware that students experiencing health issues are more likely to become isolated and disengage from their work. Each department supports a groups and society. Field trips and joint community volunteering are encouraged so that student sense of belonging is affirmed. Emotional well-being is discussed in tutorials and supervision. Preventative activity is suggested to all in order to strengthen resilience rather than rescue when it is too late.
  16. 16. Effective Education Right and Responsibility: All members direct their own learning. In order to create a learning community, practitioners need to develop their own autonomy. To be able to innovate, creative freedom and acceptance of failure are important. In order to create strategies that facilitate other people’s learning, practitioners need to first be able to understand and extend their own intelligence. For this, adding to an increasing knowledge base, across organisation or sector, is pivotal. Furthermore, each member will need opportunities to extend their learning and develop their own understanding in practice. Activities that are developed to support a deeper understanding of how people learn will add to well-being, if they are led by the interest and enthusiasm of individuals. Knowledge development should not be limited to existing good practice, but a wealth of exploratory strategies, preferably with an emphasis on play to foster enjoyment in the shared activity. A culture of possibility, demonstrated by a can-do attitude, will be one where materials show positive roles models of success rich in diversity. Ongoing education and support can be accessed between organisations and from other agencies to share and promote diverse approaches to best practice. Also, not all options involve traditional training, with self- assessment tools, reflective diaries and peer-mentoring opportunities all adding to every professional’s opportunity for reflective practice. The abstract nature of identity, makes the depth of learning important with regard to the moral dimension, as ethical principles need to be understood before they can be transferred into professional behaviour. ‘It is how we translate our values into daily practice that determines our morality.... deep and profound learning is where knowledge is created and understood through the use of higher-order cognitive skills, profound learning is an extension of deep learning so that it becomes personal to the learner’ (West-Burnham and Huws Jones, 2007, pgs 35-47). The idea of a window is to look inside at self, to understand the way I am thinking (head), feeling (heart) and responding (hand) to situations as I do, and also use the window to look out at practice, in particular the way the environment influences the way I am thinking, feeling and responding. I shall assume the effective practitioner seeks congruence between head, heart and hand. (Johns, C. 2004, pg. 5) This articulation of the reflective process involved in defining professional identity is a
  17. 17. metaphor for the movement towards more ownership of theories of practice. By adding creation to the idea of participation to the rights of liberty and redistribution expressed by Rawls (1972) and the ideas of entitlement to processes of acquisition and production countered by Norzick (1976). Sharing what is created is fundamentally too limited if people are excluded from the creation of knowledge. If tools, such as dialogue are not used during to process to remedy inequality, it leaves the sharing of knowledge to the benevolence of private charity later in the process. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Individual profiles are put in place when the child joins the setting. Learning plans are agreed with specific goals for each four areas (the strong child, the skilful communicator, the healthy child, the competent learner). Photos are taken to facilitate sharing of positive strategies and evidence of children’s success. Primary school Children are supported to understand intelligence, they explore the basics of learning theory and multiple intelligence. In order to negotiate different ways to access learning, they build in activities which both create ease to extended strength, and challenge to build on weakness. This synergetic approach is supported by ICT, which is used to give every child an individual path that is flexible enough to provide increasing complexity to match skill development. Secondary school Alongside the ordinary work and test activities. Young people are asked to peer assess personal portfolios. Marks are given for progress and effort, while the class is tasked with developing a fair marking system. the system is revaluated at the beginning of the school year to take account of the different targets imposed by school and curriculum. FE and HE Students are supported to find ways of extending learning opportunities in groups and on-the-job placements. Freedom of enquiry is encouraged with learning sets providing conferences and seminars that are hosted by inter-department association. The innovation group publishes a
  18. 18. newsletter which summarises the most successful stories once a term. There is a prize from the Chancellor awarded to the most enterprising collective effort.
  19. 19. Capacity Development Broaden-and-Build & Growth Mindset The freedom to participate in a wide variety of activities that influence learning and enhance possibility of well-being. The opportunity to make contact with other young people is vital, without it children risk becoming isolated, and will lose out on the social skills that only other children can teach. Learning from other young people supports both physical and social development in a way that adult-led activities will not. Furthermore, to make friends, each child needs to have met many other children in order to select those they like. Practitioners need to recognise the importance of young people’s culture. Building opportunity for relationships for all children can maximise the opportunities for contact across age and social groups and with it the development of knowledge. It is easy to confuse access to all activities with the need for all children to join in. While good practice demands that preparation anticipates any specific need, inclusive activity should also respond to the emerging needs of the group. Inclusive practice demands a response which accommodates the needs of both the individual child and the group during any activity. The issue is not about what is a right or wrong way of doing things, but about shared experience. Personal Capacity Development : Gifts of the head. (Things I know something about and would enjoy talking about with others, for example: art, history, movies, birds…). Gifts of the hands. (Things or skills I know how to do and would like to share with others, for example: carpentry, sports, cooking…). Gifts of the heart. (things I care deeply about, for example: protection of the environment, conservation and animal survival, civic life, human rights…) (Kreztmann & McKnight, ABCD Institute at Northwestern, 2010) Personal capacity inventories carried out to identify strength will never harm individuals in the way some intelligence questionnaires or other tests can.
  20. 20. Organisation Practice Early years and Children’s services Activities are child led, practitioners build in learning goals into the areas of interest identified by individual children or groups. Practitioners make sure turns are taken and that everyone gets a go. Naturally individuality emerges, as no 2 children will reach the same outcome, but effort is rewarded to ensure fairness. The children decide on the ‘fair-play’ awards, with prizes awarded for giving, friendship, sharing etc. Primary school Children are encouraged to identify what they view as contributing to both personal and shared learning. In addition to more traditional activities, each class explores the areas they do most work in, the curriculum areas are then introduced and the children are invited to find ways to explore key ideas by suggesting new activities which are then given marks and voted on. Ironically teachers report that despite initial effort, their preparation work has now decreased. Secondary school Young people are tasked with identifying others that have more or less ability in different subjects. Groups are then created to work on projects whose themes are chosen by each group. At the end of term each group has to have identified how much they have contributed, therefore they are tasked to ensure effort is fairly shared. FE and HE Students are divided into learning sets after course leader has met them. Congruence between method and content is deliberate, so that each assignment requires a high degree of dialogue to establish self-direction and self-evaluation. Student report a high degree of different, but results have improved and drop-out rates have fallen.
  21. 21. Personal Values It is important that contribution is fully valued in order to ensure an ownership of knowledge that can lead to the development of professional identity. The moral idea of social justice requires a co-operative community in which rewards are not determined solely on production, but on need and the rights to participate in a social life - a community that is not genuinely co-operative cannot be just. (Atweh et al, 2005, pg 52.) When dealing with learners with varied individual with knowledge and skill the tools need to be fit for purpose. ‘It may well be that the adult model is the most appropriate for any learner as it recognises and respects individuality and demonstrates consistency in relating learning strategy to need irrespective of age and ability’ (West-Burnham and O’Sullivan, 1999). Teaching is more than delivery of facts ‘it has a very important moral and social dimension, in which teachers care for the pupils welfare and foster the values of mutual respect and tolerance required in a democratic society’ (Burton and Bartlett, 2005, pg. 7). Unlike the shared nature of principles, people tend to hold different values, these will be influenced by personal background, preference and sensitivity. A culture that treats people fairly will therefore uphold principles that both support shared ideas but also respect different views, in order to allow enough flexibility for different values to be celebrated equally (Oliver 2003). Where practice is flexible, people are not expected to agree or conform to rigid ways of working but instead, they are encouraged to voice their own ideas or to respectfully challenge the existing practice that poses constraint to different beliefs. Procedures are in place to ensure sensitive and confidential identification of individual requirements. In the worst possible scenario, organisational values that are defined by a management committee impose conformist ideas. This will lead to meetings where senior and articulate voices will dominate, and where people will not be able to interrupt bullying at meetings. This example illustrates a culture where values such as ‘respect’ are not demonstrated and despite a friendly atmosphere, prejudice is rarely challenged. Organisation Practice Early years and Children are guided in thought for others, difference is talked about and perspectives are sought. Children are encouraged to
  22. 22. Children’s services explore differences, and practitioners are very careful to use neutral tones. This has necessitated a lot of personal development because they identified to understand a wealth of backgrounds and ideas to which they were previously unaware. Primary school Spirituality is explored from many angles, as children develop a language to support new ideas. Teachers have paired up to deliver a stronger message across year groups, and have adopted a model that meets the community’s needs. This has supported their own confidence when dealing with the more intangible measures of improvement in school culture. Secondary school Young people take part in the school organisation, with members of the school council attending appointment interviews. The young people review teacher practice, with exchanges taking place with other schools in order to compare strategies. Policies are updated by the council to reflect the development of understanding as new ideas become embedded in the school culture. FE and HE Staff are encouraged to join the Cultural Understand Leadership programme, this not only ensures that skills are developed to aid sustainability among management, but the shared stories have created a more flexible attitude among senior staff as their understanding of different issues is heard first hand.
  23. 23. Meaning and Purpose Achieving Equity Whilst achieving social justice is often seen as outside the remit of educational professionals, much of what contributes to achieving greater equity has a bearing on core purpose. The development of inclusive practice, therefore, has moral implications. While educators cannot impose morality, demonstrating ethical commitment can go a long way to giving learners the environment in which they can start to fulfil their potential. While commitment is often seen as a personality trait, such as passion that is sometimes ridiculed, the congruence of core purpose and wider positive impact is worthy of exploration. Not addressing the issue, by handing over responsibility, in an effort to side-step responsibility and shift blame, is far from what may be defined in a professional code of practice. The term ‘force-for-good’ may be in vogue for good reason, inequality has deepened as gaps have widened, and discontent is being voiced against the status quo. As the following article about Evan Williams’ demotion to a strategic role underlines, it is so often the theme of many publications: Keeping to Twitter’s foundational principle (the Google-like “be a force for good”) and fostering corporate experimentation… It is no small irony, of course, that a man so ill at ease on the big stage is a pivotal force in a communications revolution, one that has made it easier for people to chat, disseminate information and mobilize locally and globally with almost anyone who has a cellphone or an Internet connection... It has helped transform the way that news is gathered and distributed, reshaped how public figures from celebrities to political leaders communicate, and played a role in popular protests in Iran, China and Moldova. (New York Times 31 October 2010) In a fully inclusive environment where people’s needs are met,capacities are equally respected and where opportunity to develop is open to all, people may begin to work to maximum potential. It may jar slightly with accepted custom to think of ‘fairness’ as some people getting more than others. However, in order to create environments where possibility can be entertained, practitioners need to expand their understanding to mean ‘everyone gets what they need to participate fully’. Achieving a culture where all can flourish means doing more than simply meeting need, it will be one where conceptual dialogue is part of every day conversation about business.
  24. 24. Sector Practice Early years and Children’s services A play scheme changes the rules of games on certain days to accommodate a child who thrives on higher levels of activity. At other times playworkers make sure children have time to talk about the rules. These are deliberately left open so that the children can decide on what is fair depending on what the purpose they decide for the game that day. The point is not solely that adjustments allow everybody to join in, but that the group has an opportunity to shape the possible outcome according to different expectation and changes in each other’s vision. Primary school Children are introduced to philosophy and talk about rights and wrongs. Children talk about the way external factors may help or hinder the progress in their learning. Classroom and activities are changed to support different outcomes, these are compared so that children can decide on most beneficial to all. Children are involved in planning key strategies, i.e. mentoring, which put in place to facilitate conversations about what the whole school wants to achieve through its different school activities. Secondary school Young people are given opportunity to explore wider implications of their learning in groups and over time they support there own MAPS and Paths, and encouraged to explore their own vision. Goals are taken seriously and built into the Individual Education Plan, there is an onus on the school to make time available for the availability of individual study paths, where school capacity falls short local networks enable the creation of shared projects between schools and colleges. FE and HE Each school is expected to hold meeting with staff and students to talk about its contribution to the institution and its impact on the locality. Members represent all aspects of the institution’s life, purpose is defined and revaluated, no two meetings are ever similar, but over time their impact on learning and community life has benefited people from
  25. 25. both within and outside the organisation. In conclusion: When well-being is viewed as one of many perspectives that make up core purpose, the impact on learning may be hugely beneficial. In short, whilst personal impact may ensure long-term health, in the short term people are far more likely to flourish. In simple terms, the broaden-and-build approach unlocks a creativity that fuels discovery and helps young people move towards a broader understanding of their own success. Wellbeing serves as a double duty. It directly supports literacy and numeracy; that is, emotional health is strongly associated with cognitive achievement. It also is indirectly but powerfully part of the educational and societal goal of dealing with the emotional and social consequences of failing and being of low status. In this sense political leaders must have an explicit agenda of wellbeing, of which education is one powerful component. (Fullan 2007, page 46)
  26. 26. Equity means all children are getting equal levels of satisfaction and benefit from shared activities. Having an opportunity to share in all setting activities enables the personal development that supports increasing levels of life satisfaction, physical and mental health. When children enjoy an equal experience, inclusive practice is working well. It would be unrealistic to say that all settings are able to cater for all children in their current state - much change must still take place. However, this long-term change needs to be the goal for every setting. While workers plan long-term changes, working more closely with multiagency teams can support and add to the settings resources. In addition to where segregated settings exist, they have much useful knowledge to share with mainstream settings. This can greatly benefit the community, particularly where there are plans for different groups of children to experience new relationships across existing settings. Without such interaction, access to community relationships and experiences is limited. It is crucial that workers move on from the idea that the typical child loses out is put at risk when those requiring more thought and assistance are included. Equality is not about ‘bringing faulty children up-to-standard’. Well-being will not be supported adequately where it is seen as an adjunct, a peripheral consideration, left to the enthusiasts who have goodwill. In uncertain times it may be one of the few ways open to practitioners who wish to reach the outcomes of a society that views targets a important indicator of achievement. However, if this is the case, then taking certain aspect, such as Invitation, Respect, Relationships, and Personal values seriously will demand that practice reflects more a profound understanding of morality in order to express both a professional willingness to aim for ethical commitment in a culture that supports transformation.
  27. 27. References: Atweh, B. Kemmis, S. and Weeks, P. (1998), Action Research in Practice: Partnerships for Social Justice in Education, Routledge: Abingdon. Block, P. and McKnight, J. (2010) The Abundant Community, Berret-Koehler publishers: San Francisco. Block, P. (2008) Community: The Structure of Belonging, Berrett-Koehler publishers: San Francisco. Chapman, L. and West-Burnham, J. (2010), Education for Social Justice: Achieving Wellbeing for All, Continuum: London. Dweck C (2006) Mindset, The New psychology of success, Random House Fullan M (2007), The NEW Meaning of Education Change, Teachers College, Columbia University Johns, C. (2004), Becoming a Reflective Practitioner. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford Oliver, P. (2003), The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics, Open University: Maidenhead Robinson K (2001) Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, Capstone Senge, P, ScharmeR, C.O., Jaworski, J. and B.S. Flowers (2004) Presence Cambridge MA: SoL West-Burnham, J. and Coats, M. (2005), Personalizing Learning, Network Education Press: Stafford. West-Burnham, J. and Huws Jones, V, 2007, Spiritual and Moral Leadership in Schools, Continuum:London West-Burnham, J. and O’Sullivan, F. (1999), Leadership and Professional Development in Schools, Times Press: Throwbridge Wilkinson R (2005) The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier, The New Press: New York.

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