Community Project – GAMH

 

 

The community project I visited was GAMH Young Carers Project. GAMH supports the wellbeing, recovery and equalities of adults (and their carers) affected by mental health issues. The Young Carers Proeject  (which sits within GAMH) provides support to children and young people living at home with a parent/family member affected by mental illness (GAMH, 2019).

Group activities are provided in community settings to give children respite from not just the physical but emotional impact of caring for someone with a mental illness. The activities are designed to be fun, interactive, to build confidence and resilience. They encourage peer friendships to help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. The activities focus on promoting; wellbeing, creative and social skills and also attainment.

Sessions have included STEM activity delivered by STEM ambassadors and ‘ReallySmallScience’ who have delivered educational workshops i.e. making ice-cream, lemonade, bouncy balls etc.

The group also took part in a 3-day session with Apple building robots. They learned how to code and program the Sphero robot using the Sphero Edu app for iPad. They were also taught how to program lights, sounds, and animations to tell their own story starring Sphero.

Young carers have also taken part in Coding Labs and visited industrial, engineering facilities. The programmes link into Dynamic Youth Awards and various other certificates. What I learned from the staff and young carers was that young people were encouraged to have a say in the activities and programmes that would benefit them and they did this through regular planning meetings. They also used a coproduction approach. Surprisingly the older young carers were quite keen on employability type programmes i.e. study groups, interview skills, job readiness.

For those who are struggling, the provision of 1-1 support is offered, working in collaboration with the young person, their family, their school or other relevant services involved in the young carers life.

Before I attended the project there was a feeling of apprehension. I was not sure how challenging I would find engaging with the young people, would they find by presence daunting and how would I explain what I was doing there? What was surprising was how relaxed the children and the staff were doing their activity and with my presence. They did not feel intimidated by my presence. It was Halloween and the group activity was carving out pumpkins. I found the session extremely enjoyable, the young people were having fun and they talked away to me happily. To be in a room of children who you know have had many challenges in their young lives, but who are laughing, feel safe and supported is a very valuable and humbling experience.

What I learned from this experience is much broader. Mental health is a community issue. One in four people are affected by mental health issues and there is growing concern about children and young people’s mental health (nhsdirectwales.wales.nhs.uk, 2019) . It is an important issue that needs to be addressed not just by statutory services but within the communities where families and children live. What mental illness does is create other socio-economic inequalities such as unemployment, poverty, discrimination (Healthscotland.scot, 2019). We need to work together to recognize the long term implications of this.

Children and young people affected by adversity, including children whose parent has a mental illness, is a group that is often overlooked. We need to be more conscientious and innovative to ensure that children in our society are not overlooked. Given that majority of our young carers in this project were affected by ACEs, came from the most deprived postcodes in Glasgow and have the potential to be affected by the ‘poverty related attainment gap’.  They have achieved a significant amount of learning and personal development to help them improve their life chances and aspirations.

The attributes I feel I have is the passion to work with children and young people, to recognize their strengths so that they can reach their full potential. But I realise the values you bring is just part of the jigsaw, you have to have the right skills and knowledge to be able to respond appropriately to meet the diverse needs of children.

The staff within the Young Carers Project had had a whole range of training such as; Sexual Health & Relationships, Autism Awareness, ASIST, Anti-Bullying, ADHD, Child Protection, Trauma & Adversity, First Aid, Child Sexual Exploitation, Mental Health First Aid and much more.

The ongoing nature of adversity and volatility in the lives of some young people’s requires commitment, skills and expertise. Experiencing this way of working out with the school system allowed me to develop a further understanding of the conditions that need to be created to help children and young people to realise their full potential.

I realised this model compliments the GIRFEC/SNNAARRI approach used in schools- ensuring children feel Safe, healthy, nurtured, active, achieving, responsible, respected and included but in a creative, fun and engaging way.

Overall, this experience opened up my eyes to all the hard work this organisation puts into each of these sessions. The GAMH Young Carers Project aim to find interests of all young people and really listen to their indivual passions. As a future teacher I think it is crucial we listen and take interest to each of our pupils and allow them to explore their passions. This could be doing things such as organising school trips, brininging in volunteers or even allowing pupils to lead tasks. E.g. if a pupil musically talented, they can help lead a session to the other pupils.

References

GAMH. (n.d.) Young Carers [Online] Available: https://www.gamh.org.uk/project/young-carers/ [Accessed: 20 November] .

Healthscotland.scot. (2019). Overview of mental health and wellbeing. [online] Available at: http://www.healthscotland.scot/health-topics/mental-health-and-wellbeing/overview-of-mental-health-and-wellbeing [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].

nhsdirectwales.wales.nhs.uk. (2019). Mental health. [online] Available at: https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/m/article/mentalhealth [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Energy

In week nine we focused on the topic of energy. Energy is “a source of power, such as fuel, used for driving machines, providing heat etc.” (Oxford Dictionary, 2019). We began by watching the video below.

After watching this video I was quite apprehensive about being confident to teach the topic as it seemed complex and was difficult to understand. However as future teachers, it is important that we are educated on energy and teach young people the importance of alternative energy. We are running out of energy sources and we have to do something about it, involving young people in the conversation is important as many sources of energy will run out in their lifetime. This may be frightening to children so it is important that we are sensitive about the subject.

It is estimated that in 53 years oil will run out, in 54 years natural gas will run out and in 110 years coal will run out (Business Standards, 2015). As a society we all depend and heavily rely on fossil fuels. However there is only a fixed amount of energy, we cannot get more of it and we cannot get rid of it. When this source of energy runs out we need to make sure we have alternative energy sources. The Curriculum for Excellence aims to ensure that young people will become responsible citizens, as teachers it is important that we help develop this role. As teachers we must raise the issue as it is their future, we must encourage young children to take action to see a sustainable future.

This graph shows how much coal, gas and oil will be left in a time period of only 70 years.

Fossil fuels are bad for the environment and the amount we use is simply not sustainable, It causes-

Carbon emissions
Habitat destruction
Ocean pollution
Air pollution

(Ecotricity, n.d.)

The Curriculum for Excellence aims to ensure that young people will become responsible citizens, as teachers it is important that we help develop this role. As teachers we must raise the issue as it is their future, we must encourage young children to take action to see a sustainable future.

(Scottish Renewables, 2018)

It is important as teachers we discuss how Scotland is on track and on the right direction for achieving a more sustainable future. This may help put the young people to ease and encourage them to meet Scotland’s 2020 target. The target is for Scotland to use 100 percent renewable energy sources to provide Scotland’s gross annual electricity. If this goal is accomplished, by the beginning of 2020, Scotland will no longer use fossil fuels to generate electricity (The Scottish Government, 2018).

This clip explains different types of renewable energy and discusses the positive impact of switching to renewable energy. This video would be good to show in middle to upper primary due to the visuals and because it is simple to follow.

In the science workshop we completed a variety of activities. In groups we completed a quiz on fossil fuels, this allowed us to see how much knowledge we had on the subject and what areas we could work on. This would be a good activity in schools as it would allow them to work in teams and then do further research on the areas they were unsure about. We also blew up a balloon and rubbed cotton wool against the surface for it to stick against a wall. This is a fun activity that would get young people intrigued and excited.

 

In the second week we were split into two sections. Section one looked at a structured approach and section two looked at a tinkering approach. I was part of the tinkering approach section. We were given very little information and zero instructions. We were only told we were to make a vehicle that was able to move with the materials left in the room.

In my group we sketched out a rough idea and labelled what materials we could use to be each part. We had to try and visualise an idea that we would be able to meet in the small time frame.

This project required a lot of trial and error, time and patience. This may stressful for young people as there is no instructions given. They have to be innovative and use their problem solving skills. As future teachers it is important we encourage creativity and allow young people to make critical judgements. Creativity allows students to express themselves. It challenges them to think outside the box, problem solve and come up with innovative solutions. Creativity in the classroom is also important as it can help reduce stress and anxiety (Edsys, 2019). Some young people may feel intimidated by other peoples work. It is important as future teachers encourage individuality and praise that the class has different approaches and ideas, as it showcases the classes ability to all be creative. Some children may be inspired by others work and take on certain ideas.

As a teacher this activity may be difficult to do in schools were reassures are scarce. However, it may also be beneficial not having enough resources for everyone as it would encourage the class to think outside the box. As future teachers we also need to think ethically, discussing with the class that there is only a fixed amount of materials so to use them wisely. I think this activity is great for pupils as it gives them freedom to be creative and allows them to now worry about following the rules. This will give them a sense of pride when they see their final design, knowing that was their creation all from their own imagination.

The other half of the yearbook looked at the structured approach and were given step by step instructions to follow. A structure approach ensures that everyone has the same final outcome and eliminates the chances of making mistakes.

In the future, I will definitely use both approaches. Having a structured approach allows young people to be able to follow instructions. This also allows them to be able to make it again in the future if they wish too. The tinkering approach allows much more freedom and challenges them to be innovative.

 

Refrences –

Ecotricity (n.d.) When will fossil fuels run out? [Online] Available: https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/energy-independence/the-end-of-fossil-fuels

Edsys. (2019). Role and Importance of Creativity in Classroom | Edsys. [online] Available at: https://www.edsys.in/creativity-in-classroom/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2019].

Hirsh, S. (2019). Scotland’s new target: 100% renewable electricity in 2020. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/scotland-wind-energy-new-record-putting-country-on-track-for-100-renewable-electricity-in-2020 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2019].

Oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com. (2019). energy noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com. [online] Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/energy?q=energy [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].

Scottish Renewables. (2018). Renewables in Numbers – Scottish Renewables. [online] Available at: https://www.scottishrenewables.com/forums/renewables-in-numbers/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2019].

The Scottish Government. (2018). Renewable Energy. [online] Available at: https://www2.gov.scot/renewableenergy?fbclid=IwAR2NJ4HJFC_lNlVFt-Lbl6GEkzT6wf6uVfvIeVPHWHj6Wb8Hc6zjoHSIliI [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].

Diversity

Our first input of Sustainable Development was diversity. I found this quite intriguing as I had little knowledge on the subject and was keen to learn more about the topic. In small groups we discussed the term sustainable development. We defined sustainable development as a way for people to use resources without the resources running out. I learned that much greater efforts must be put in by families and communities to reduce waste. Such as recycling, cutting down on plastics and using public transport.

We had two speakers come in from the Global Leaning Centre (WOSDEC) which was very informative. WOSDEC supports and encourages teachers to develop their skills in global citizenship. We learned that a global citizen is someone who is aware of and cares about and the world they live in. They take an active role in supporting the causes they believe in, and work with others to make a positive impact on their planet. They hold strong values such as a sense of identity, respect for people and human rights. They are able to develop skills such as critical and creative thinking and self awareness. The younger generations are influenced by many people in society such as their parents, friends and teachers. It is important as teachers we realise that young people are at the centre of our sustainable goals and it is our duty to ensure that we educate them about the importance of sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development can help guide us to change our future. Schools can be the ideal platform for young people to experience and exercise what they learn in the classroom.

We were then introduced to the 17 global goals which were introduced in 2015 for a better world by 2030. All of these goals have the power to put an end to poverty, stop climate change and fight inequality. With the help of the global goals, we will be the first generation who can eradicate poverty and the last who can tackle climate change (The Global Goals, 2019). As teachers we are looked up to by children and are important role models in their life. We can help inspire them to make positive changes, in big and small ways by raising awareness of the 17 goals.

In science we got introduced to biodiversity. In groups we carried out experiments such as dissecting flowers, tracing plants and placing snails on different materials to see how it would react.  This session was very interesting as it showed how fun and interactive science can be. From this session I also realised the importance of outdoor learning. It allows children develop collaborative-working and communication skills, develop reflective and inquisitive thinking and provides positive health benefits both physically and mentally.

The following week, our input was on cultural diversity. I have a strong interest in this area and was looking forward to the discussions and debates that it would create. When looking at Scotlands diversity statistics I was surprised at the results.

  • š20% registered disabled
  • š54% Christian,
  • š37% no religion
  • š1.4% Muslim
  • š0.7% Buddhist/Hindu/Sikh
  • š138 languages spoken
  • šMostly Glasgow
  • š20% registered disabled
  • š54% Christian,
  • š37% no religion
  • š1.4% Muslim
  • š0.7% Buddhist/Hindu/Sikh
  • š138 languages spoken
  • š(Mostly Glasgow)

(Scottish Government, 2014)

We were then asked to stand up if we were able to speak any other languages. I was shocked when only 4 people (including myself) stood up. I informed my group that my second language is urdu. My parents are second generation, born and brought up in this country by immigrant parents, and although they spoke their native language at home the dominant language among their siblings and peers was English. As the generations have assimilated in this country the host language has become the dominant form of communication. To be fully integrated in this culture anything traditional such as native language and costume is not encouraged or promoted. It makes you feel like the outsider and as a child growing up you just want to fit in with the dominant culture. It is for this reason that I have never felt comfortable with my native language although I can understand and speak it. This input has helped me reflect on the importance of celebrating people’s language of origin. It should be encouraged and recognised as additional skill that will only enhance a person’s contribution within their family, their community and their place in the world.  As teachers we need to embrace diversity. Teachers can have a very powerful role in helping children explore, be open minded and reflect on world issues in a non-judgemental way.

References

Scottish Government (2014) Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, No.5. [Online] Available: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/12/7590[Accessed: 30 November 2015]

The Global Goals. (2019). Questions & Answers. [online] Available at: https://www.globalgoals.org/faq [Accessed 24 Sep. 2019].
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