At risk of being suspended ? Already suspended ? Already excluded The rights of the young people to receive an education were promoted during the sessions, just as importantly during communications and meetings with/to external agencies and being an advocate for them. Through one to one mentoring and group work I was able to help the young people develop a healthy self-image and esteem through praise, encouragement and team building activities. This also developed the young peoples confidence in themselves and enabled them to build on their abilities.
As the focus was always positive the emphasis was on the young peoples abilities not their inabilities and meeting each young person at their level and minimising power differences. Thus approaching the young people in a manner that they felt able to approach me too. During the course of the programme it became visible that some of the young people were not getting on with each other. I didn’t feel it necessary to intervene straight away unless there was of course an immediate danger, but instead observed the young people and how they handled conflict.
After the incident I spoke to both of the young people together and discussed with them ways in which they could have better handled the situation that presented itself. Therefore allowing the person to assess the situation for his/herself they were able to reflect on their behaviour and develop strategies for dealing with future conflict. Thus modelling cognitive behavioural methods. The supervision sessions (both formal and informal) were instrumental in enabling me to develop and assess my professional competence and the effectiveness of my application of theory to practice.
As action points were always clearly highlighted on my supervision records, this enabled me to plan carefully for my next supervision session. I was also able to discuss any issues or concerns I had with my performance and manage and prioritise my own work schedule. I was also able to discuss any issues I had concerning my role and responsibilities within the work place. I was also responsible for recording my own records within agency policy and criteria needs. This helped me to understand how these needs differed from that of a statutory organisation to which I was more familiar with.
At each meeting I was able to identify any future goals. Opportunities were also available to attend training days relevant to the work undertaken at the centre. Through discussion with my practice teacher and supervisor and my implementation of two proformas (appendix items nine and four) I was able to solve problematic dilemmas with communication between the agencies involved with the young people. The information and the induction I received (appendix 8) enabled me to have more awareness of the organisations policies and procedures.
At times as I was still in the early stages of learning how to approach the young people I didn’t feel I had enough strategies developed for dealing with the young people who were displaying unsociable behaviour and hence had to discuss this in supervision and also observe other staff on the programme. I feel that at time I could have altered the young peoples perception of me as a worker and in turn led them to increase unsociable behaviour. This however was not the case, but I felt this was an area I needed to greatly improve upon.
Coming from an educational employment perspective and having a sister who is a qualified teacher now working for another reducing disaffection team, I am aware of the difficulties that can be encountered by teachers when attempting to control large groups of young people and maintain an undisrupted session for the pupils who are displaying unsociable behaviour. But on the programme I had to carefully balance this with the young people coming on the programme who genuinely felt that they were being picked on by the teachers and some experiencing racial discrimination.
Having experienced racial discrimination at school myself one of my beliefs that I struggled with whilst on the programme was that once a young person becomes subject to discrimination of this kind and being labelled as a troublemaker, it then become difficult for a person to receive fair treatment from the teachers in question. This was also supported by an incident we had where a teacher accused a young person on the programme of doing something and he had not actually been on the school premises that day!
A perhaps hard dilemma for me was on the programme (where we tried to instil in the young people the importance of receiving a good level of education for improved future life chances). It became apparent to me that the parents were not holding the same values. Young people were coming in reporting that they had been absent from school without apparent good reason even though they had been well on the day. One reason given was where a young person on the programme had been sent up the town by her mother to buy some new trainers.
This reluctance to send their child to school conflicted with the values and aims of the programme. As shown in supervision three there was a difference in my values and my supervisors value base in engaging the young people outside of session times for example whilst travelling on the minibus. I felt that the young people needed this time to reflect on what they had learnt in the session and to relate to each other and not see me as overbearing or threatening. However the values of my supervisor were that we engaged the young people at all times.
After discussion with my practice teacher and supervisor I was able to see that we only had eight weeks (16 sessions) in which to “get through” to the young people and locate the source of their disaffection. Therefore there was a need to engage the young people as much as possible One of my perhaps most memorable dilemmas presented itself on the minibus on the way back from an outdoor activity. Upon engaging a female of dual heritage (African-Caribbean and British European) the topic turned to her views on what type of man she would like to settle down with in future.
During the course of this conversation she repeatedly referred to black men as “niggers” and that she would only date one of them as she thought they were much better looking. This posed several issues for me: – ? I found the term personally offensive on the grounds of my own race and own values. ? I sadly realised that this was becoming a common street greeting among certain communities who perhaps were unaware of where the term originated. ? Issues surrounding possible learnt behaviour with the white service users, and them also picking up this term and the way it would be viewed if they did.