Introduction and Background
We were invited to deliver training at Burton Borough School after being introduced to them by a mutual supply agency. This was The TA College's first trip to Burton Borough, and I was very excited to visit them. I would be delivering a 2 hour session to a large group of support staff, with various roles from TAs to administrative staff to First Aiders, on Child Development, with the aim of supporting them to understand how their interactions with students, no matter how small, could support their development, as well as delving into how to recognise signs a student may be struggling developmentally and how to respond to this.
What we found out
I received a very warm welcome from the staff at Burton Borough, who were more than willing to share their experiences with me. It soon became apparent that this is a school that works incredibly hard to foster an environment of mutual respect and trust, where good relationships between students and staff, in any capacity, are strived for. Many of the delegates however, had never learnt about child development before so it was a great opportunity to allow them to see their students in a different light, and think about how they could support them.
How we helped and services provided
Due to time constraints, we focussed largely on emotional, social and cognitive development, having previously agreed that these were the most pertinent for secondary school. I briefly introduced some theoretical perspectives, including Erikson, Piaget and Vygotsky . Erikson's identity vs. role confusion, Piaget's Formal Operational stage and Vygotsy's Zone of Proximal Development were new concepts to most of the delegates, and they were quick to recognise students who were successfully transitioned to these stages, and those who were struggling. It was highlighted however that development is unique to the individual, and there are many factors, both biological and environmental that can affect it. We considered how to engage students and prepare them for the future in a way that was appropriate to their stage of development. Many of the delegates said to me that this wasn't something they had considered before, and it was a valuable insight to have.
It was great to get such positive feedback from the delegates, and to offer insights and perspectives that they hadn't considered before. A very positive and beneficial morning!