Although it has been a little while since this event occurred at Hellesdon High School, we wanted to give you a quick update on how we marked National Autism Awareness Month this April.
We decided as a group that we’d like to design a Tutor time resource to show all pupils and staff, from Year 7 to Year 13. We felt that this could be more informative than making a video (our usual method of communication within school!) because we could quote experts and give more statistics than we might remember to say if we just spoke on camera.
Here are some of our slides from the Tutor PowerPoint on Autism Awareness:
The PowerPoint certainly raised debate in Miss Baker’s own Tutor group, with pupils asking sensitive and sensible questions about how many pupils in the school may evidence signs of being on the spectrum and how they could help to support pupils with ASD in school.
Recently, we told you about SHIELD’s planned trip to the University of East Anglia to talk to the student teachers there in the EDU faculty about teaching inclusion and diversity in their own classrooms. We had six speakers this year, ranging from topics like “Inclusion of LGBT+ themes and characters in Literacy” to “The links between English Literature and People with Autism”. We also offered ourselves as gurus for the student teachers to question about our ideas, views and experiences at school on these topics.
Here are some photos of our lectures this year :
We are happy to report that we had a fantastic day and received some lovely feedback from Dr John Gordon, the Head Lecturer in Secondary English at UEA:
“Thank you again for bringing SHIELD to speak with the UEA group at UEA yesterday – I hope your students enjoyed it and that you felt it was valuable for them too. They did an excellent job.”
SHIELD feel very privileged to be invited to UEA for the second consecutive year to provide a safe environment for student teachers to ask questions about how they can best support the wellbeing and inclusion of pupils for their own professional practice.
Coming soon, 6 students in SHIELD including The Great Miss Baker will visit UEA to tell student teachers what they could do to make everyone feel included. Pictures will be coming soon.
On Tuesday 29th of January 2019 our SHIELD students will go to yet another UEA trip. The point of the trip is to go and speak to a group of trainee English teachers to suggest how they could be more inclusive regarding our (the student’s) lessons.
Several subjects that will be covered this year:
Including Islamic literature in lessons
Reading books about young people from the traveller community
Supporting students with chronic illnesses in the classroom
Representation of LGBTQ characters in young adult fiction
Inclusive books about gender identity, transgender and non binary people
The struggles of Bilingual people
Equality and fair representation is topical because in our Year 9 English lessons we’ve been studying George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. In order to understand why Orwell wrote a criticism of Communism and why he makes the pigs such horrible characters, we first had to be aware of the background (context) of the real life people he was describing. Just like George Orwell, we want people to be aware of who we are and where we’re from before they study us!
Our trip to UEA might be a big success and we might gain lots of experience of public speaking, as well as express our ideas about some very current topics.
“Going to the UEA should be very fun,” says Dominykas, one of the SHIELD speakers; “especially because not only have I and some other members of SHIELD never been to UEA but also we get to be a teacher and the teachers get to be the students for once!“
Last year at UEA:
Dr. John Gordon, Senior Lecturer in Education at the UEA personally wrote a letter to each of the speakers, praising the pupil presentations. He said,
“The students presentations were superb with a really impressive quality of information, and also a very good compliment to the PGCE group considered in the morning…The students were a real credit to themselves, and the school. The session had a powerful impact on the UEA students. I’m really glad we were able to organize the session – thank you!”
We only hope that this year we will be as good (or even better) as last year.