Find out of what Keys to Inclusion is?
Inclusion Mindset Training - for Mental Health Leads
Dates: 14th April, 30th April, 13th May and 27th May. From 9.30am to 3.30pm.
About the training: An introduction to guiding ideas that underpin an inclusion mindset and inclusive practice. This training day is both a values primer and a practical guide to successful
strategies for developing wellbeing and resilience through inclusive practice in educational settings for children and young people of all ages.
During the training we dig deep into your values and views in order to reflect fully on what inclusion means to you.
These are some of the topics below covered in the 'Key to Inclusion Mindset' training:
The Importance of Welcome
Welcome is the First key to the successful inclusion of anyone!
Ask us in all the world what is most important? ‘Tis people, ‘tis people, ‘tis people. (Maori Proverb)
Never underestimate the importance of welcome!
Who needs a good welcome?
Inclusion cannot really begin until you are present, participating and feeling valued.
You have to be in the front door – this requires a good welcome.
We need to pay particular attention when welcoming parents, carers, staff members, pupils and other family members to a situation. This is especially important when the situation is unfamiliar to them or when they are feeling anxious, apprehensive, aggressive or defensive.
It appears that some adults, children and their families get a much worse welcome than others. Of course, the welcome extended in a whole range of community settings will be different for people for many reasons.
Differences in gender, sexuality, race, culture, disability, behaviour, reputation and simply physical appearance all dramatically influence how an individual is welcomed.
It is worth spending time planning ‘the welcome’. Especially so during this current time. For example, thinking of some children or young people who have been out for school for some time.
It will be interesting to find out what a good welcome would be like from a young persons perspective. It is likely to be different for each person.
What we do and say will be important as well as the physical environment of the place in which the welcome takes place.
A welcome committee
A welcome committee is an intentional way of strengthening welcome for previously excluded or isolated pupils beginning in a new school or setting.
Involving other children or young people can be extremely effective in supporting a fresh start for a new or returning pupil.
Watch the below video titled 'Welcome committee Team', which explains about the importance of welcome as part of our inclusion training.
Inclusion and the welcome
Communities, schools, settings and families that truly embrace inclusion are so often the most welcoming to all who participate or visit.
If we can successfully welcome all young people and their families into our education settings and set a positive tone right at the start; we set the tone for all that will follow.
The Psychology and Therapeutic Service ‘Keys to Inclusion’ mindset training will spend some time focusing on this crucially important key.
Listening - is key to inclusion
Who needs to be listened to? Surely, we ALL do?
"We need to listen very closely to what people say or do as people’s actions and words are communications and may carry meanings that are not always obvious unless we listen really well." - Lovett, 1996.
We encourage respectful listening with eyes, ears and hearts. Listening deeper, under the surface of words, is where the true meaning lies. Listening to the story, the narrative - has a power of its own.
Listening to families
Some families tell us their child was welcomed to a new setting or activity, but when it got hard it felt to them that the adults stopped listening.
Listening to children and young people
Listening is also crucial for all practitioners working with children and young people of all ages especially when tackling issues involving challenging behaviour in more restorative ways.
Many children and young people let us know only too clearly: ‘No one listens to me!’ The older they get the louder this message!
Young people with no spoken words can still let us know when they do not feel listened to.
Listening to groups
When working with groups of all sizes around an individual or working as a diverse group to achieve outcomes, listening will always be key.
Exploring listening activities
Listening activities designed to deepen listening can help set a tone but also strengthen the connections between those present. This can be done by starting with the simplest activity of listening uninterrupted for one minute, using activities designed to encourage deeper listening skills of reflecting back, summarising and the use of open-ended questions.
During person centred processes, such as the MAP or PATH processes (Pearpoint, J. Forest, M. and Snow, J., 1993) it is essential to emphasise the importance of ‘respectful’ listening.
"The various processes that can be used to repair harm demand certain skills of facilitators. These include active, empathic listening, impartiality and an ability to empower others to come up with their own solutions to problems." - Tinker, 2005.
Listening requires empathy and reflection
Great listening often delivers empathy, which in its own right can improve relationships, deepen understanding and create healthy behaviour change.
"I notice that empathy is a key ingredient in any successful restorative conference. When the parties learn about the weaknesses and humanness of those who have previously been offenders, opponents or competitors, there is often a kind of catharsis. People can forgive a lot, when they understand how something came to happen." - Drewery, 2008.
The purposes of empathic listening, making use of reflecting back and paraphrasing include:
- An indication of real listening. ‘You have heard what I am saying because you have repeated it.’ Many therapists have argued that to be really listened to like this can actually bring about personal growth and change with no other intervention being present.
- When a facilitator reflects back during person centred planning time is gained and a repeat of the contribution is made for a graphic facilitator to hear better and translate into key words or graphics.
These processes help whoever is present to hear and reflect upon what has just been said.
Reflecting back on what you have heard is helpful - ‘have I got it right?’ - ‘Was that it?’
If the speaker has said a lot you will inevitably need to paraphrase what you have heard. However it is essential to respectfully stay with the person’s own words and not substitute your own. By ‘psychologising’ other people’s words with your own you will only create distance and break the connection that is being made with the speaker.
Using props to help with listening
In our training we cover listening techniques using props. We use props for a variety of reasons. For example, using Aboriginal Talking sticks, a magic wand or precious stones. These can be held by speakers to elevate the gravity of the speaker’s presence and clarify who actually is speaking.
"We all have the power to listen to voices that are seldom heard. If we choose to make the time, to learn to listen and to struggle with the pain and frustration that disempowered people feel, we will see new visions, feel new energy, and find hope in our future. There is power in the powerless. We can be catalysts, or encrusted residue. The choice is ours." - Pearpoint,1993.
Things to beware of with your approach
Some people are not comfortable with intense listening and this needs to be respected. Some people do not like being ‘put on the spot‘ and may easily feel judged by an empathic listener so it is important to consider what the right approach is based on the individual or group.
The Long View
The Long View - is key to inclusion
We encourage people on our 'Keys to Inclusion' training to take a step back and consider the ‘long view'.
When planning for the education of children who present with challenges for whatever reason, consider what type of view are we taking? Is it about today? This week? This term? Or this year?
We know that decisions that are made about a child’s education can affect their whole life, as well as that of the family and community in which they are a member. So when making decisions about today, this week, this year we also advocate having time to consider the ‘long view’ implications of decisions being made.
Consider how often you hear this question being asked of children - ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
Families have told us that this type of question does not tend to get asked of their children who have disabilities. Families will often say ‘we dare not think beyond today’ let alone into the long-term future. So the danger here is that we go about planning for children with complex impairments as if they did not really have a long-term future and adulthood.
There is a risk that we make major decisions such as placement in a special school or unit without having regard for the long-term implications of such a move. There is a possibility here that when that child becomes an adult, they may be at great risk of isolation and vulnerability within the wider community in which they find themselves a part, or not a part. We live in a society that does not have special shops or special bus stops...
Yet when we really take the long view backwards as well as forwards, we can be truly amazed and can learn much to inform our planning.
Therefore in our training we spend time looking back. For example, asking people to reflect on people in your own life that have influenced you and to take the time to ask others.
This is a key question and can be in relation to relationships when you were a child in relation to home or other places e.g. school or clubs that you may have belonged to:
Who do you remember who was there for you?
What was it about the relationship that worked so well?’
The answers to these questions make really good ingredients for inclusion. Here lays all the information we need to create more inclusive families, schools and communities.
We have listened to hundreds of amazingly magical stories over the years and are constantly moved by the simplicity and wonder of inclusive relationships, stories about:
"Just being there… accepting me for who I was whatever I did… encouraging… unconditional support… wanted more for me…saw something special in me… treated me as if I was part of their family…opened the door to their culture…made a special effort for me…"
These stories of love and connection help us understand the importance of taking the 'long view' - just as people are there in our pasts here, we are for others in the present.
Using the 'long view' in our school for person centred planning.
All of the tools that come under the heading of Person Centred Planning (e.g. MAPS, PATH, Essential Lifestyle Planning) gives serious thought to long view outcomes. Becoming more familiar with these tools increases your capacity to take the 'long view'. They nearly all begin with a wonderful, ultimate long view question - ‘What is your dream?’. Some also include questions around the ‘story so far’ and the ‘nightmare’ for the future.
Watch the below video titled 'PATH Experience', which explains about using PATH to help imagine what a positive future would look like for a child or young person.
Meeting Emotional Needs
This Emotional Needs key to inclusion gives an opportunity to focus on the emotional needs of children and young people and how to meet these.
We lift the lid on an emerging urgent inclusion issue, meeting the emotional wellbeing of all children.
We need to find ways to allow children to unclench their hearts and learn to experience, process, communicate and manage their own emotional lives for their own, and for the good of the wider community.
Not just another session on ‘Behaviour Management’ – this key goes well beyond a rewards and sanctions approach to ‘behaviour’.
We will be focused on those young people for whom rewards and punishments do not always work and who confuse the adults who work with them.
We aim to take an attachment aware, trauma informed and relationships-based approach. We give those attending an opportunity to think more deeply about why young people do the things they do and what our part as adults is in creating, sustaining and changing these behaviours.
This key gives those present opportunities to reflect on their attitudes and practice in relation to children’s behaviour and relationship building.
If your usual approaches to supporting young people’s emotional needs aren’t working with particular individuals then take a tour through this range of cutting edge strategies for bringing about positive change, and for meeting challenging emotional needs.
- We look at how psychology helps us understand the needs of children and young people who have faced issues with love and loss, trauma and attachment.
- We explore the feelings of being on a desolate island of relational poverty or to imagine ‘swimming with sharks’.
- We reveal the new and innovative compass of courage – and unpack a range of strategies.
We also spend time looking at the emotional underpinning and impact on practitioners working with children with such needs and what helps at a personal and team level.
Learning Objectives in relation to this Emotional Needs key training are as follows:
- Increased understanding of emotional needs
- Access to a wider range of practical strategies to impact on meeting emotional and behaviour problems
- Deeper understanding of core values surrounding inclusion
- Opportunity to reflect on professional attitudes and behaviour towards children and their emotional challenges
- New skills and processes to make emotionally challenged children’s inclusion and achievement more successful
Learning - is key to inclusion
In the training we ask:
“Who needs to learn differently for inclusion to be possible? The children or the adults?”
When considering the inclusion of everyone it means that we are giving attention to the need to accommodate all learners and therefore tune in carefully to how everyone learns.
We know that at least 80% of all learning is by imitation. This starts with babies and carries on through life. Brain imaging is helping some understand how this works. Montessori was one of many educationalists who have argued for natural opportunities for children to learn from each other. This is why educating children in mainstream schools makes so much such sense rationally quite apart from the human rights dimension.
One important issue to consider when taking on an inclusive mindset is that we should not become confused by notions of ‘intelligence and fixed potential’. This can really limit our thinking and hold back our sense of what is really possible.
We must never make dangerous assumptions about what a child or adult can understand. Anne Donnellan (1995) identified why the old paradigm of intelligence testing is not sufficient and needs to be replaced by a more humanistic and respectful one. The key to the new paradigm is the concept of the ‘Least Dangerous Assumption.’
“Least dangerous assumption” states that in the absence of absolute evidence, it is essential to make the assumption that, if proven to be false, would be least dangerous to the individual. She continues by explaining that the “absence of evidence can never be absolute evidence of absence,” and as such, it is always safest and most respectful to make the “least dangerous assumption.”
When considering psychological assessment with this lens we take on learning from Vygotskian principles of the ‘zone of proximal development’.
Dynamic Assessment processes help to support an inclusive approach as they focus more on children’s learning potential and how we can support children achieve next steps in their learning. During this type of assessment we include a member of staff from school with the assessment process so that we can learn together about the teaching strategies required to support the child with next steps in their learning as well as gaining insight into ‘meta cognition’ (e.g. what does the child think about how they think and learn). This way of working is so valuable when the adults involved are committed to working together to find out more about the best way to support a child with their learning and inclusion.
Another important aspect to consider here is the believe that ‘all learning has an emotional base’. We cover the importance of emotional literacy and relational approaches in this training.
Noticing Gifts and Strengths
Noticing Gifts and Strengths - recognising a young person's strengths and how they can be applied in the world. Here is a useful handout that supports 'capacity thinking' (pdf. 711KB).
Person Centred Planning
Person Centred Planning - is driven by ‘capacity thinking’. It’s aim is to bring focus on the whole person, their ‘ordinary needs’ and the big picture; imagining a desirable future and beginning to work out what it will take to make this happen by asking and visualising what a ‘good life’ would look like for them.
The Importance of Teamwork
The Importance of Teamwork. Collaborative Problem Solving (Solution Circles, Circle of Friends)
Circles of Friends
The Circle of Friends is popular approach to taking a wider look at the relationships in a person’s life. Each successful circle generates its own stories and fresh insights into what inclusion in school means. It enhances the inclusion of a child or young person who is experiencing difficulties because of a disability, personal crisis or because of their behaviour towards others. It also helps all circle members to develop greater empathy, self-awareness and social interactional skills.
Circle of friends is a proactive educational approach that aims to help children create a support network and improve peers’ understanding of their behaviour
Unlike many interventions, it is peer support rather than an adult trying to bring about change. Pupils can often be more motivated to respond to peer support than to intervention from members of staff.
When a circle is established a group of volunteers meet regularly with the ‘focus child’ and an adult facilitator. The circle acts as a resource to suggest strategies and set targets to deal with difficulties that have been jointly identified by the members of the circle and the focus child.
The approach often starts with a whole class session which can be facilitated by a member of the team. In this session, volunteers are invited to be part of a smaller circle of friends or friendship group which will meet more regularly.
Who can benefit from this approach and what outcomes can you expect?
Young people who are isolated, excluded, vulnerable and / or need support in developing friendships and social skills. The emotional support from this approach helps social inclusion and this also results in greater self-esteem and confidence.
The volunteers also gain a lot from being part of the Circle of Friends. They develop their understanding and empathy as well as gaining skills in working together in a collaborative group context.
Relationships - In the training session we may focus on the following approaches to developing inclusive relationships.
Intentional Building of Relationships
We used to think we could place any pupil into a mainstream school, setting or community and they would just make friends, and everything would be just great. We now know this is not true.
For inclusion to be a reality we will often have to work intentionally to create the conditions in which relationships can flourish and grow. Planning and preparation is vital.
Children and adults are rejected and excluded across the UK and beyond in classrooms, playgrounds, staffrooms, workplaces and communities. The world of media and dating reality TV programmes strengthens our instinct to reject.
We have seen films such as ‘Shrek’, ‘The Shark Tale’ and ‘Happy Feet’ which are more encouraging of supporting the inclusive instinct. Required viewing for any would be inclusionist!
Circle of Friends
Circle of Friends is a proactive approach that aims to help children create a support network and improve peers’ understanding of their behaviour.
Unlike many interventions, it is led by peer support rather than an adult trying to bring about change.
Pupils can often be more motivated to respond to peer support than intervention from members of staff.
The Circle of Friends is popular approach to taking a wider look at the relationships in a person’s life.
It enhances the inclusion of a child or young person who is experiencing difficulties because of a disability, personal crisis or because of their behaviour towards others. It also helps all circle members to develop greater empathy, self-awareness and social interactional skills.
When a circle is established a group of volunteers meet regularly with the ‘focus child’ and an adult facilitator. The circle acts as a resource to suggest strategies and set targets to deal with difficulties that have been jointly identified by the members of the circle and the focus child. The approach often starts with a whole class session which can be facilitated by a member of the team. In this session, volunteers are invited to be part of a smaller circle of friends or friendship group which will meet more regularly.
Who can benefit from this approach and what outcomes can you expect?
- Young people who are isolated, excluded, vulnerable and/or need support in developing friendships and social skills.
- The emotional support from this approach helps social inclusion and this also results in greater self-esteem and confidence.
- The volunteers also gain a lot from being part of the Circle of Friends. They develop their understanding and empathy as well as gaining skills in working together in a collaborative group context.
The Circle of Friends approach (Newton and Wilson, 2006) is at the opposite and more restorative end of the continuum of interventions from approaches based on ignoring difficult behaviour. It is a systemic approach that recognises the power of the peer group (and thereby of pupil culture) to be a positive, as well as, a constraining or exacerbating influence on individual behaviour.
Another way we can work intentionally around relationships is when things are at their worst and may be about to break: when harm has been caused.
We need new ways to restore relationships when someone has been harmed. The space between people is where we need to focus rather than being preoccupied with punitive consequences for the wrongdoer.
New ways of thinking about behaviour and relationships with children and young people should pave the way in the longer term for a more peaceful world.
Our young people need new ways of relating to each other, new ways of making accommodations to the challenges that human relationships pose and, most of all, new ways of handling conflicts that do not lead to increasing escalation, punitive approaches, bullying or violence.
“'Restorative Justice' is a process by whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and it’s implications for the future.” - Graef, 2001.
This video titled 'Restoration Justice Training Day in Ipswich', shows more about how the topic is covered in the training:
Resources to aid the Keys to Inclusion training
After attending this training course, you will be giving access to some self-paced learning modules which reinforces further learning of the areas covered in this ‘Keys to Inclusion’ training.
Person Centred Planning Together - This book is co-written by Claire Darwin within the Psychology and Therapeutic Service, provides descriptions and resources to support settings with the 'Keys to Inclusion Mindset Training', and includes the most commonly used Person Centred Planning tools, particularly MAPS and PATH.
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