Yesterday, the children in the DSP made presentations in the Cottesbrooke Lecture Theatre at Northampton University.
What made these presentations special, was that all of these children are younger than 10 years old. What made them even more special, is that they all have statements of Special Educational Needs for Moderate Learning Difficulties and Speech and Language.
Inspired by watching TED talks and visiting lectures the children identified areas of particular interest and then spent hours immersing themselves in their chosen topics; researching in school and making visits to local venues. Some of the visits and processes have been captured on the DSP Blog at http://dsp.simondesenlisblogs.org/. You can read about Joseph’s trip to the Derngate where he ‘met’ Norman Wisdom and see pictures of the children visiting the lecture theatre to prepare for the big day!
Offering children authentic choice about their learning, coupled with real challenge raised expectations and the results have been powerful. One teacher commented after the event that the pupils ‘shouldn’t have been able to do what they have just done!’
The project has reminded us how powerful learning can be when you use children’s starting points to build the curriculum. By doing this, we’ve seen significant improvements in attendance, engagement and levels of speaking and listening. Raising the bar in expectation of the levels of speech and language has taken children out of their comfort zones and has helped them to build resilience and coping strategies around what can be a very nerve-wracking experience for adults – let alone children.
Here is the story of their project, told by BBC Northampton!