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Befriending the Two-Headed Monster: Personal, Social and Emotional Development in Schools in Challenging Times
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2008
Pages: 367 - 383
Source ID: shanti-sources-91176
Abstract: Schools in the UK and beyond continue to experience the damaging effects of "top down," "one size fits all" "outcome-based" educational reforms. Educators struggle to meet the dual demands of a punishing performativity- and accountability-driven regime alongside the personal, social, emotional and learning needs of their pupils, especially those whose challenging behaviour reflects an inability to cope with the relentless demands of testing and with the perceived lack of meaning or relevance of disembodied knowledge for their lives. Needless to say, many pupils find their teachers driven to behaviour just as challenging. This paper presents a rationale for reclaiming the relational at the heart of school life in order to move schools towards recovery. It is argued that it is only when schools have a central and demonstrable concern with the primacy of relationships in teaching and learning that it will be possible to reclaim the ground that has been eroded by successive marketising and managerialist agendas. Placing students and relationships at the centre is crucial to creating the collective energy, internal motivation and commitment necessary for re-establishing schools as humane centres of inclusive people development. A three stage model for achieving this is proposed: developing relational fitness; relational sustenance and depth; and relational alchemy. (Contains 1 table and 4 notes.)