Thursday, 1 January 2015

Exploring the boundaries in education!

I love to read the magazine, Dumbo Feather. I find inspiration and encouragement in the range of interviews published. I'm taken out of my mind's place to think about others, learn and the variety of lives others live. In a recent interview with Brendan Murray, principal at Parkview College, my mind has taken flight again in his views on teaching. The interview is truly inspirational on educating youths in Victoria's Justice Centre for 10-18 year olds. 

Murray discusses 'how bad behaviour must be met with help rather than exclusion'.  I was particularly interested in his discussion on inclusion in the education. Murray lists examples of how inclusion functions. If someone doesn't fit in the norm they tend to be excluded and he used an example of children with special needs. He says, "we exclude kids with disabilities: 'You go to a special school, it's better for you' Why is it better? Because they have more resources there, they're specially trained'. Why can't all teachers be like that. Unless the child can live in that little bubble, with those kids, how is that better?" Murray continues on about how he'll continue to offer extra help and support to the kids in his school, believing everyone has a right to education. 

It got my little grey cells working as Hercule Poirot says. My darling daughter is not far off being of school age and I found myself examining school systems and the way Faith learns. I've been asked so many times if Faith will go to a special school. I can understand the many varying views on this topic and I only give my opinion in relation to my darling daughter and how she learns. In answer to their question I have said no she won't be going to a special school. 

When you become acquainted with Faith you soon realise her potential, courageous spirit and the desire to learn. She thrives on watching other kids play. She will more likely try new activities if another child is doing it. Her body might not be willing yet, but her mind is trying hard. We see miracles in this every day. 

Faith is kind and gentle. She will use her little finger to gently stroke my eyelashes. Her blue eyes and long long eyelashes gazing intently at you. It is her way of saying I love you. She is afraid of frogs, butterflies and birds but thinks polar bears and dolphins are wonderful. 

If I placed her in a school where I am uncomfortable why would I send my daughter there. Some families have choices and mine is to believe inclusion in a main stream school would help her grow, develop and change. Somewhere and somehow there is a system that will give Faith the maximum capacity for learning in a way that works for her. There is a so many wonderful opportunities awaiting her and I'll do all I can to help her achieve whatever her maximum learning is. 

For further information or to read Brendan Murray's full interview head to

And some interesting research on inclusive learning on children with special needs.

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