by Cecilia Payton
My wishes for 2019. #loveandliteracy
This week I’m celebrating a whole year of having worked at the amazing Aspire alternative provision in Buckinghamshire. The moment I set foot in the building and was told by several staff that this was a school run on ‘love’ I knew I was in the right place.
I’ve worked with complex students before so the challenging behaviour is nothing new. Nor are the social, economic or familial factors that can contribute to it. However, in my current role I’ve had the opportunity to really dig deep as to the way in which language and literacy can impact on students’ ability to regulate their emotions and form appropriate relationships, both in and out of the classroom. Many of our students have low literacy levels but, as was brought to my attention by the fabulous Jules Daulby, a precursor to this is likely a delay in language development. Given that psychosocial, emotional and language development are all interconnected from birth it’s no wonder then that the words we as professionals choose to use-thousands of times a day no less-and the way we interact verbally with our students cannot be left to chance. Every time we speak we need to be mindful of how our choice of language can harm, hinder or help the young people in our care. Our inspirational head Debra has recognised this and made it a whole school focus. We’re maybe a bit cheesy but the mantra ‘love and literacy’ really does help us remember that addressing these two things in tandem can produce phenomenal results.
My wish for this year then is that we all realise the power and poignancy of spoken communication and help our students to do the same.