Professional challenge, multi-professional learning and Inclusion and the use of video
This paper proposes that inclusion requires the opportunity for a kind of professional learning that involves challenge and the interaction of a range of professionals. It investigates, through a range of data, a particular use of video (VIG or video interaction and guidance) to achieve this kind of learning with a multi-professional group of people using this approach and working together.
Inclusion requires the collaboration of a number of people, often from different institutions. All kinds of issues and aspects can arise that need attention. Whilst a lot of attention has been given to inclusion, in terms of resources, approaches and organizational structures that can make it work – little attention has been given to the ways communication between the individuals concerned can be developed in order to effect change.
VIG, used by at least 3000 practitioners in over 15 European countries, assists people (i.e. parents and children or teachers and children) to reach expressed goals. It provides ways to work collaboratively with people and positions them as experts in their own lives and offers an alternative to the culture of ‘telling how…’ which arises from the medical model. It also promotes more complex understandings of problems and of ways to solve them and contributes to co-production of knowledge in this area. The way it has been used at Newcastle University has had professionals working with parents, children and teachers but has also consisted in a multi-professional group of practitioners reflecting together on videos of their own work. The quality both of client engagement in this approach and of professional learning has led to a curiosity about the processes involved in this way of working, and a reflection on implications for inclusion.
VIG consists of the use of small clips of video of successful interaction and is based on Trevarthen’s theoretical ideas about primary and secondary intersubjectivity and mediated learning. Once the clips have been taken, the family or professional reviews the moments of successful interaction. They reflect collaboratively on what they are doing that is contributing towards the achievement of their goals, celebrate success and then make further goals for change. All practitioners are also involved in their own supported reflection through the analysis of themselves in filmed interaction. The films of the feedbacks are used in supervision to develop guider’s attunement to clients.
This research reports on a range of different data. The data includes the video clips of work with families, interviews with professionals using VIG, and diary notes taken during multi-professional group discussions about the use of VIG. Thematic analysis attempted to illicit important aspects of the process and to consider implications for developing inclusion in schools.
VIG was found to emphasize a ‘coaching’ relationship, which is collaborative rather than prescriptive, empowering rather than deskilling and conveys respect for strengths and potential. Throughout filming and feedback sessions parents and professionals were supported to become more sensitive to communications to them and aware of how they themselves can respond in a positive way. Being able to stand back and look at themselves on screen and the process of actually observing themselves communicating effectively was found to be empowering and changed self-perception. For the multi-professional group, key factors contributing to partnership working included the development of a common language and the development of a collaborative way of working.
The place and importance of these processes in the development of inclusive practice in schools is discussed. The relationship of these findings to the PPC participation model of Todd (2007) is considered.
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