Just to give you a little background on Vincent, he has very limited interests and so engaging him can be very tricky. A facilitative approach is really important, in particular lots of creativity and reflection with really good communication.
The day and time was set, I was told who was observing me and I wasn’t too fazed; I’d decided “whatever will be, will be!” The morning of the observation came and I was told there had been a change and instead of the one MacIntyre staff member, it would be two people from Abingdon and Witney College, but again I wasn’t fazed; Vincent and I would have a good day.
We met at Millets Farm, a local garden centre with a café and outside seating. Vincent was keen to start the session, requesting “story” and “book”.
I showed Vincent two books, one had “Monkey” in the title, the other a “Crocodile”.
Vincent tapped the Monkey book and said “Crocodile”!
When I asked again to clarify, Vincent tapped the Crocodile book and said “Monkey”!
I checked again – next time around, we got a consistent response and we started the session.
I began reading the story, pausing and leaving a gap for Vincent to finish the line of the story: Not me said the __________, “Monkey” said Vincent!
Vincent was an absolute star throughout the whole session, finishing the line or a word on most pages, including
Big Fat Juicy_______Caterpillar
Big Wide _____Mouth!
I asked Vincent to identify the animals in the book he was shown – for the picture of a tiger he very confidently stated it was an “owl”!!
“Good try, but not quite right” I said, so we looked at an elephant instead; again he said it was an “owl”!!
Ahh well I reflected, my mission for next week should perhaps be to find a book with an owl in it!
And me…how did the observation go?
It was such a great session, Vincent has never engaged as well as he did in the session and I received lots of very positive feedback from the observers. However ironically, Vincent did a little TOO well and so the constructive criticism was that the targets (he achieved them all) didn’t stretch him quite enough! But overall I was still very happy with how the session/observation went, and although having the observers there was foremost in my mind, Vincent’s enjoyment and engagement still took centre stage……
Community Learning Facilitator
No Limits Oxfordshire