“I’m Not Going to No Library”
Exploring the Use of a Collegiate Discussion Group for Staff Working With Children Out of School
This contribution to Other Education follows the narrative of two cases from the point of view of a school inclusion service. It illustrates that school exclusion can have a negative impact on children’s learning motivation and self-esteem. Through the reflective space of a work discussion group set up to support the one-to-one teachers in the service, the narrative shows children with unidentified special needs can be punished with exclusion for behaviour they may not be able to control.
This contribution considers a local authority has a duty to provide education for these isolated children. Yet, one-to-one teaching is an expensive provision. At the same time these “school drop-outs” are often deemed as “hopeless cases,” and when they fail to turn up because they are past the point of motivation, they present a challenge for the local authority staff managing “squeezed” budgets. Bureaucratic delay for educational psychologist assessments adds to lost development time, reducing education, yet apparently reinforcing it.
The children themselves have lost all belief in their capacity to learn. The teacher has to actively re-awaken their belief that they can learn and develop. For example, one pupil kept tearing up his work and throwing it into the bin in the public library where he was being taught. The work discussion group wondered whether he himself felt thrown away and of no value to society.
The two case studies discussed in this paper illustrate typical problems confronting the children and teachers...
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