Working with the developmental system approach - can we successfully use an interdisciplinary approach in schools?
When working with children in a school environment often the issues or problems are perceived from an narrow perspective - from inside the school and the immediate relationships the child has in school and their attitude towards learning and their behavior. While parents are ‘invited into school’ to discuss issues and problems regarding their child’s negative school contributions, it is often the school that has an established behavior and sanctions system (which parents and children have to sign up to when their child joins the school). To deal with the negative behavior or attitude the child may go onto a report or log which teachers and tutors and Heads of Years will monitor each lesson and daily and the parents check every evening for instance.
Whilst these are all important and relevant, it is also necessary to include external factors, such as home life, parental engagement with the child and the child’s own experiences, hopes and dreams.
To adopt the disciplinary approach, one would need to establish a system using all contributors: those working in the school, the local community, and the child’s family. You would need commitment from all parties to have success.
Perceived barriers could be:
- Parental disengagement from the system
- A lack of confidence the system
- The perceived cost of time outweighing the benefits long term
- A lack of support from leadership
Ways that you might be able to have an influence on these would to work alongside professionals and passionate individuals from a range of backgrounds and knowledge and experience to establish systems of accountability and success. Create a team.
Alongside this, the support and cooperation of the child is vitally important. The system almost needs to empower the child so that they feel a sense of responsibility for the positive change and parents also have to take a strong committed role whereby they are supporting the child first, before the school, and work to establish a positive relationship with them.
Barriers here could be: parental working conditions, poverty or wealth, home life, external influences such as peer groups, antisocial behavior from the parents, poor home environment, illness and so on.
Therefore it is important that when systems are being established there is communication between the teachers and staff and parents. Barriers need to be identified and not shameful for the parent to admit. Schools and local services need to recognize that these barriers may not be in the parents control and therefore help needs to be offered. This might be guidance and/or advice. But in order for the child to successfully benefit from the system, these all need to be addressed and all people involved need to work together.
I suppose this sounds a lot like community.