Guerrillamum's Blog


‘Experts’, children and inclusion and why teaching is about so much more than just being an expert
November 9, 2010, 10:31 am
Filed under: A few thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

Our son has been rehearsing for a concert and I have been helping to organise it. The organisation putting on the concert has always been very inclusive and those involved in working with the children are very nice people. However things came to a head last week, when one of the organisers criticised some of the children who had individual pieces to do for not being ‘of the required standard’, and sought to exclude some from playing the parts they had volunteered for. This person was not alone in their thoughts. Others within the organisation, however, leapt to the children’s defence, making clear that all children who volunteered would be included and were appreciated for their talents and all that they brought to the production.

However, the children who were ‘not of the required standard’ were not even children with SEN! The whole experience has left me with an overbearing sense of sadness that I am finding difficult to shift. Everyone else seems to have moved on, which is good, and as it should be and we are all now focussed again on getting the production on to the stage. It should be fun! The children are not aware of what happened, are all enjoying themselves and that is great.

I am still very disappointed with the attitudes of the people who criticised the children in such a negative manner. We may have won this battle but we still have a long way to go to win the war and change people’s exclusionary attitudes. I think you are probably used to hearing positive and upbeat messages from Guerrilla Mum but in truth this experience has left me weary. This is because I know my boys face attitudes like this every day, and probably will for the rest of their lives.

This is part of what worries me about free schools and using experts instead of qualified teachers to teach children. The people who were negative about the children in our production were undoubtedly experts in what they were teaching the children. However they were not trained teachers and, nice as they are, they failed the inclusion test completely. That is the lesson I would pass on to those planning free schools in which teachers do not have to be properly trained.

All of the children in the production are having a positive experience and having fun which is the main thing and what I will try to focus on in the next few days.

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2 Comments so far
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I had something similar happen to me but I was one of those talking about standards! I did not talk to the children about it however. For me the teacher in charge was not insisting that the children worked to their standards, allowing them to muck about & be silly. It meant that the whole performance was of a very low standard ‘compared to that normally presented’. It was nothing to do with the children but the adults. I think that the children would have felt unhappy if they had been allowed to continue & their audiences were disappointed. Glad it is now moving forward well!

Comment by jfb57

Well, the children in our production have been brilliant throughout, and so proud and excited to have an individual part to play. They are a real pleasure to work with – that is why I was so upset that anyone could find fault with them, and I was sad to think that if these able kids were ‘not up to standard’ there was little hope for any kids with SEN these people might work with. However, I can see what you are saying and would have felt equally frustrated in your place.

Ellen P

Comment by guerrillamum




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