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Belonging-NAPCE’s June Newsletter


Why do we do what we do? Why do we devote our professional careers to aiding others? Why are our choices based on improving the lives of others?

Although we ask ourselves these questions as professionals, this month’s newsletter is about stepping back into the shoes of the student and looking at their motives.

Belonging is the next step beyond human rights and basic physiological needs being met, that drives decision making and engagement. It appears to be the common theme running through the 2016’s second edition of the International Journal of Pastoral Care in Education and the reason’s for its focus are evolving. As a pupil, you are now battling pressures to belong beyond the classroom and playground. The reduced autonomy due to the ‘dangers’ beyond the front door are leading to adolescents spending less time interacting socially and more time digitally engaged.  Aside, the decline of religious participation and local community integration are leaving schools as a central source of common belonging and this role needs to be acknowledged across the board. To belong to a community you have to feel part of it and this quarters journal articles, Emerson’s in particular, highlight the empowerment and worth that giving students a voice can bring.

We often refer back to Seth Godin’s TED talk on ‘Tribes’. It gives some excellent insight into why we seek belonging, how it can be generated and keeping the digital argument balanced, demonstrating how the internet can be supportive. It has certainly helped NAPCE step into the shoes of the student, understand the shift in power, the pull of the net and its various social circles, as well as the negative consequences of this. Can we as teachers/schools identify ‘something worth changing and then assemble the tribes that becomes bigger than ourselves to begin a movement‘. If we can take on this challenge then we can make learning meaningful, create self-worth and therefore create engaging learning.

This brings us to this quarters journal articles. Each article relates to schools looking to become tribes between themselves. Can we rethink the link between alternative provisions/SEN with mainstream schools and realise that the adaptive environments AP’s create could support rethinking the mainstream context and behaviour management? Logan’s breakdown of tribalism into stages makes you sit up and ask yourself, have I asked what stage key-stakeholders think they are at? (and in relation to inclusion, if removed from their tribe, what tribe do they believe themselves to be a part of and what behaviour becomes normalised?

And finally, when changing tribes (transitioning) are we stepping into students’ shoes or have we asked those actually in them to identify the issues they have and how they can be supported? Godin highlights the desire to be missed, so how will you acknowledge those who are moving on this year and make them part of your institutions history?

The consequences of belonging will be considered next month when we focus on mental health and critiquing what the current issues are and what latest guidance is putting forward. Until then, thank you for being part of NAPCE’s tribe! Remember, we want your voice as to what is vital in pastoral care for you and what support your institutions need. As always, use the links below. We do what we do because we care!

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