Garicoits— : social education out of school

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<ul><li><p>MENTAL HANDICAP VOL. ~ </p><p>children with severe learning difficulties further descriptive studies are required to expand our data and establish a baseline for time allocations and pupil on-task behaviour, across different classroom settings, in various content areas, and for different types of pupils. There is then a need to move into the area of applied research (Berliner, 1978; Smyth, 1979) which considers a range of options for altering teaching behaviour in the classroom and mech- anisms for engineering the classroom to enhance ontask behaviour among these pupils. </p><p>References Bennett, S. N. Teaching Styles and Pupil </p><p>Progress. London: Open Books, 1976. Bennett, S. N. Recent research on teaching - a </p><p>dream, a belief and a model. Br. J. Educ. Psychol., 1978; 48, 127.147. </p><p>Berliner, D. C. Changing Academic Learning Time - clinical interventions in four class- rooms. Paper presented to A.E.R.A. Toronto: March, 1978. </p><p>Carroll, J . B. A Model of School Learning. Teachers College Record, 1963; 64, 723-733. </p><p>De Souza, D. A, , Bailey, T. J . A Systemafic Study of a School for Children with Severr Learning Dificulties (M. Ed. Psychol. unpub. lished dissertation). Exeter: University 01 Exeter, 1980. </p><p>De Souza, D. A., Bailey, T. J . What do parents. governors and professionals consider to be thc most important aims for children with severt learning difficulties? Apex, J . Brit. Ins!. Men[. Hand. , 1981; 8:4, 130-131. </p><p>De Vault, M. L., Harnischfeger, A, , Wiley. D. E. Schooling and Learning 0pportunit.v. (EMREL Inc. H.E.W.N.I.E. Interim reporl No. 6 - 0646). Chicago: ML - Group foi Policy Studies in Education, 1977. </p><p>Fox, R. Innovation in Curriculum. An Overvien Interchange 3, 1972; 2 and 3, 131-143. </p><p>Getzels, J . A Social Psychology of Education I n Lindzey, G., Aronson, E. (Eds.). Hand. book of Social Psychology. (Vol. 5 , Ch. 42 459-537). Massachusetts: Addison-Wesle) Publ. Co. Inc., 1972. </p><p>Hill, P. W., Marsh, C. J . Teachers perception! of the diffusion of an innovation within ar authority-decision framework: senior schoo geography case study. Australian J. Educ. 1979; 23, 32-44. </p><p>Hughes, J . M. The educational needs of thc mentally handicapped. J. Educ. Res., 1975 </p><p>Mackenzie, G. N. Why a Strategy for Plannec Curriculum Innovation. I n Lowler, M. R (Ed.). Strategies for Planned Curriculurr Innovation. pp. 1-12. London: Teacher: College Press, 1970. </p><p>Rogers, E., Shoemaker, F. Communication 0, Innovations: a cross cultural approach. (2nc Edn.). New York: Free Press, 1971. </p><p>Sieber, S. D. Images of the practitioner anc strategies of educational change. Sociology 0, Education, 1972; 45, 362-385. </p><p>Smyth. W. J . Pupil engaged learning time - concepts, findings and implications. Australia? </p><p>17:3, 228-233. </p><p>J. E ~ u c . , 1980; 24:3, 225-245. </p><p>. . ~. __ </p><p>Garicoits- social education </p><p>out of school _____- ;We borrow a house </p><p>Could you make use of a five bed- roomed vicarage standing in an acre of Richard Bird grounds, five minutes from the centre of Worcester? </p><p>This was the question put to a varied life skills we could offer the leavers, and group of people at a meeting held to assist the generalisation of new skills. &amp;cuss the future of Guricoits House. New activity opportunities presented Many suggestions were put forward, and themselves as the project progressed. the house now has many uses. Two Many of our initial ideas were replaced, people present at that meeting were improved upon, and rejected. Brother Sandra Starkie and myself, both teachers Terry, who is the activity coordinator at with responsibility for planning and Guricoits, received our requests to implementing the educational pro- decorate, garden, paint, and use the grammes for the adolescent and leavers workshop always with a very willing groups at Manor Park School. We had agreement. We were glad to always be been looking for just such an opportunity given a free hand. for a long time. </p><p>Guricoirs House belonged to an order of The buildings Roman Catholic priests who were leaving Guricoits is a Victorian building on Worcester, but who wanted to continue three floors. A lounge, dining room, their work in the City in any way they former library, and large kitchen make up could. One way was to allow their former the ground floor. Bathrooms are found on residence to be used by groups who each floor. The second floor consists of would benefit from its facilities. further lounge accommodation, bed- </p><p>rooms, and a small chapel which provides Manor Park at Garicoits a quiet, peaceful area, much appreciated </p><p>We received much encouragement and by all who use the house. During our assistance from all the groups who were early visits much activity was in evidence, planning to use the house. We intended with volunteers decorating, gardening, to use it as an integral part of our converting, removing, replacing, and so Leavers Programme, involving the on. 15-18-year-olds. Our activities with the We made many friends during this leavers were mostly community orien- period. One of the conversion jobs being tated and we had spent only a small carried out was of special interest to our proportion of time in school as we felt the leavers. The Youth Group, which had presence of a large number of younger quickly become established, was con- children could have a detrimental effect verting the cellar into a disco/youth club, on the social development of the older which also housed a small recording children. studio. This area was to become a very </p><p>Many of the skills that we were trying popular venue for our socials. to develop in the leavers had been practised only in artificial situations, Choice of groups except on a few limited occasions such as At Manor Park there are 20 children in our Annual Camp - a week at a youth the 13-19 years age range. Initially we hostel. These Camps were always of had to restrict use of the house to those great benefit to the children and aged 16+; this would be our only criteria. extremely surprising to the staff. Often We kept the groups very small, four or children would function at completely five at the most, SO that we could different levels from those which we had strengthen members weaknesses and come to expect of them. Guricoits House diversify strengths. We hoped that one would consolidate and extend the range of day in five would be completely student- </p><p>orientated - this proved very popular with the students. </p><p>Manor Park School, Worcester considered. We receive an allowance from </p><p>24 </p></li><li><p>MENTAL HANDICAP VOL. 11 MARCH 1983 </p><p>Going shopping </p><p>the Parent .Teacher and Friends Association of the school for this purpose. Certain meals are definite favourites - curry and chips topped the bill at first but during trips to the supermarket menus changed as new items were discovered. Frequently we overspent in the beginning and had to return goods to the shelves; very rarely did we starve. Often we needed to search the house for extra guests to help us complete our meal. </p><p>On arrival at the house the kettle is quickly on and jobs allocated, argued about, and enjoyed. Many domestic appliances are at our disposal and all are eagerly siezed upon. Whether they were used for their correct purpose was a little in doubt at first. We quickly became proficient at using mixers, blenders, coffee grinders, grills, toasters, electric fryers, wall can openers, and many other items of useful kitchen paraphernalia. New and more exotic recipes were suggested and tried. Tins were scorned - frozen foods appeared only occasionally. Washing up was not pursued with relish; </p><p>such comments as washing up is womens work, were occasionally heard from our male members. Hoovering, washing floors and table cloths, and emptying dustbins all had to be done. </p><p>On Tuesdays we took over the door answering - the official title for Garicoits is a House of Welcome and we always welcomed visitors profusely. We became involved in many building and gardening projects. Our young men would frequently disappear for an hour or more and return slightly work worn, proudly saying, Ive been helping mix the concrete. </p><p>In all our school programmes we try to be very outward looking and, as the house is used by a wide variety of people, we have tried to get to know them all (even the marriage counsellors)! Friendships were quickly established with the young </p><p>How much is that? </p><p>people who used the house as a place of study and practise rooms for their various musical talents. Some of them were a little surprised that we too liked Adam and the Ants, bought the latest pop records, and played on the space invaderb machines. </p><p>The converted cellar has been used by us for many evening functions, when all of our 20 teenagers come along for discos, leaving parties, dinner parties, and other such events. These give us an opportunity to show their parents Garicoits and its facilities. And it gives them a chance to meet and talk in neutral surroundings. Friendships that have been established between the children can then be hrther cemented, by parents arranging for their children to visit each other in the evenings and at weekends; a factor that can be quite important in a day school with a large catchment area. The future </p><p>The next step we are anticipating will be overnight and weekend stays at Garicoits, with a minimal staff input. One aspect of our leavers programme is the segregation of older members from the younger classes. In a relatively small school, with an age range of 3-19 years and a large variety of handicaps, social maturity can be hindered at certain stages by presenting too many models of behaviour. This can lead to an older child adopting a behaviour pattern with which he is very familiar - that of the younger child, hence the frequently heard comment, He hasnt grown up yet. Many of our day-to-day school activities could be continued and developed at Garicoits House - prolonging and widening the education and life experiences of older pupils in a less distracting environment, at the same time keeping in very close touch with the parent body - the school. </p><p>@ 1983 British institute of Mental Handicap 25 </p></li></ul>

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