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PROVISIONS FOR PASTORAL CARE

In document Secondary Education in Tasmania (Page 152-156)

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SCHOOL

4.5 PROVISIONS FOR PASTORAL CARE

The-Committee has a l r e a d y i n d i c a t e d i n t h i s chapter the n e c e s s i t y f o r t h e s t a f f and school o r g a n i z a t i o n .to.express a general c a r i n g a t t i t u d e towards students

f o r "unless we get r e l a t i o n s h i p s r i g h t we cannot get the k i n d of l e a r n i n g we want." (33) Although i t i s recognized t h a t teachers are i n v o l v e d i n p a s t o r a l care i n the day-to-day teaching s i t u a t i o n , schools have developed a v a r i e t y o f o r g a n i z a t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e s which make i t p o s s i b l e f o r one teacher t o work c l o s e l y , and g e t t o know, a small group o f c h i l d r e n .

These provisons are known by a v a r i e t y of terms - t u t o r groups, c o u n s e l l i n g groups or p a s t o r a l care

groups. For the purposes of t h i s r e p o r t the Committee accepts the term " p a s t o r a l care" because of i t s wide use throughout the l i t e r a t u r e . Despite i t s non-

educational connotations i t does seem t o p r o v i d e the most s u i t a b l e expression of the a c t i v i t y under d i s c u s s -

ion. The importance of such p r o v i s i o n s has been w e l l described by the E n g l i s h e d u c a t i o n i s t , Hugh Cunningham:

P a s t o r a l care w i t h i n out comprehensive schools i s i n c r e a s i n g l y concerned w i t h ensuring t h a t the set of r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n which i n d i v i d u a l p u p i l s operate, both w i t h i n school and between school and community, are the best p o s s i b l e f o r the r e a l i s a t i o n of e d u c a t i o n a l p o t e n t i a l . There-

f o r e , i t s o r g a n i s a t i o n aims a t promoting under- I standing of the education o f f e r e d by the school • and at the development of the s o c i a l s k i l l s needed

to cope w i t h the demands created ... I t cannot be emphasised enough t h a t p a s t o r a l care i s concerned w i t h e d u c a t i o n a l aims, not a set of s o c i a l aims added on to the t r a d i t i o n a l aims of the school.

The concern i s w i t h the number of l i f e choices education makes a v a i l a b l e t o the i n d i v i d u a l p u p i l , accepting t h a t the s o c i a l and economic

s i t u a t i o n of the p u p i l and h i s f a m i l y i s the major f a c t o r i n the l i f e p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the p u p i l .

(34)

The Committee emphasizes t h a t : "The major concern of the p a s t o r a l o r g a n i z a t i o n i s i n ensuring t h a t the needs of i n d i v i d u a l p u p i l s f i n d scope and s a t i s f a c t i o n

i n the work o f f e r e d . (35) This r e q u i r e s t h a t p a s t o r a l teachers determine the weaknesses and s t r e n g t h s of the students i n t h e i r care so t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l student's e d u c a t i o n a l p o t e n t i a l may have a g r e a t e r chance of being r e a l i z e d . There may need t o be

m o d i f i c a t i o n of the c u r r i c u l u m t o cope w i t h i n d i v i d u a l d i f f i c u l t i e s and i t i s t h i s f a c t o r t h a t Cunningham

sees as the j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r a p p o i n t i n g senior teachers to p a s t o r a l care systems because i t i s they who " w i l l have the experience and standing to act upon the c u r r - iculum so t h a t the p u p i l ' s needs may be met. (36)

There can be no doubt t h a t there i s a s o c i a l element of p a s t o r a l care aimed a t p r o v i d i n g "the s o c i a l knowledge and competence which w i l l enable students to f u n c t i o n w i t h i n t h e i r adolescent w o r l d and thereby more e f f e c t i v e l y i n t h e i r a d u l t w o r l d . "

(37) P a s t o r a l teachers need the support of c o u n s e l l - ors and guidance o f f i c e r s so t h a t they do not become overwhelmed by the w e l f a r e element of p a s t o r a l care and l o s e s i g h t of t h e i r r o l e i n h e l p i n g the students achieve t h e i r p o t e n t i a l i n the area of the c u r r i c u l u m .

Both the e d u c a t i o n a l and the s o c i a l o b j e c t i v e s o f p a s t o r a l care can be j u s t i f i e d because i t i s through t h e i r r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t the personal s e c u r i t y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l student can be achieved. I n summary,

Schools need a s t r o n g p a s t o r a l care system not as an a d d i t i o n t o a s o c i a l s e r v i c e s s a f e t y net t o catch the s o c i a l l y maimed and wounded, but t o achieve e d u c a t i o n a l aims. There w i l l be a w e l f a r e element. There i s a need f o r . c l o s e c o - o p e r a t i o n w i t h other agencies, b u t

above a l l the p a s t o r a l care o f a school must i n f o r m and shape i t s o r g a n i z a t i o n and c u r r i c - ulum so t h a t i n d i v i d u a l d i f f i c u l t i e s may be overcome and p o t e n t i a l r e a l i s e d . (38)

Evidence r e c e i v e d by the Committee i n d i c a t e d a widespread acknowledgement o f the n e c e s s i t y o f - making p r o v i s i o n f o r . students t o i d e n t i f y w i t h a

teacher or group o f teachers. This was seen t o dev- elop a f e e l i n g o f s e c u r i t y i n students and t o f a c i l - i t a t e the development o f a c a r i n g a t t i t u d e by

teachers towards s t u d e n t s . The survey of Secondary Education revealed t h a t both h i g h and d i s t r i c t schools consider t h a t small p a s t o r a l - c a r e groups were the most i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r s i n developing person- a l s e c u r i t y amongst students.. (39)

The a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f the school must be so designed t h a t p a s t o r a l care o f students i s p o s s i b l e and t h a t each student knows whom.to approach f o r

a d v i c e , a s s i s t a n c e or sympathy w i t h problems." The' evidence recognized t h a t the more a teacher has

c o n t a c t w i t h a group o f s t u d e n t s , the more he i s l i k e l y t o e x e r t a p a s t o r a l - c a r e r o l e . Thus i t i s d e s i r a b l e e i t h e r f o r the p a s t o r a l teacher t o teach

the c h i l d r e n . i n h i s group or remain w i t h the p a s t o r a l * group, over a long p e r i o d o f t i m e . The v e r t i c a l

grouping o f students f o r p a s t o r a l care adopted i n s e v e r a l Tasmanian secondary schools i s seen as one way o f p r o v i d i n g t h i s c o n t i n u i t y . Another advantage . of a v e r t i c a l group i s t h a t i t , contains o l d e r students who are beginning t o adopt more a d u l t behaviour

p a t t e r n s which present models, f o r the younger s t u d e n t s . The.Committee b e l i e v e s t h a t there i s a v a r i e t y of o r g a n i z a t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e s which provide c o n t a c t between the p a s t o r a l teacher and students o u t s i d e t h a t p e r i o d o f time a l l o t t e d f o r p a s t o r a l care. Team- teaching approaches, or a " b l o c k " p r o v i s i o n f o r a year group can be instanced i n t h i s r e s p e c t . The

importance of. i n t e r a c t i o n between the p a s t o r a l teachers and t h e i r students i n s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s o u t s i d e the school'should not be overlooked.

One c o n s u l t a n t who r e p o r t e d to the Committee observed t h a t c l a s s teacher groups served more an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e f u n c t i o n than a p a s t o r a l - c a r e

f u n c t i o n since the time a v a i l a b l e was s u f f i c i e n t o n l y t o check the attendance and to read the d a i l y newsheet. (40) He also observed t h a t i n many cases t h i s p e r i o d was placed at the end of the day which was not conducive t o good teacher-student i n t e r a c t i o n . The a d m i n i s t r a t i v e need to check attendance and

p r o v i d e a means of communicating necessary i n f o r m a t i o n should be recognised i n the o r g a n i z a t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e s of the school as having a place q u i t e separate from t h a t of the p a s t o r a l - c a r e f u n c t i o n .

The Committee b e l i e v e s t h a t the main r o l e of the p a s t o r a l - c a r e teacher i s to accept o v e r a l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the t o t a l course being f o l l o w e d by a student. I t recommends t h a t schools set aside a time i n the week i n which the teacher can discuss w i t h i n d i v i d u a l students the work they have accomp- l i s h e d over the previous week and the work they are p l a n n i n g to do. I t considers t h a t i n t h i s way the

student's t o t a l study program can be e f f e c t i v e l y c o - o r d i n a t e d and a r e s p o n s i b l e teacher made aware of gaps and d e f i c i e n c i e s i n h i s progress. The Committee s t r o n g l y emphasizes t h a t such a review should be "across the c u r r i c u l u m " . Given the

importance of t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i t should be seen as p a r t of the teacher's load. The Committee consid- ers t h a t , when problems a r i s e w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r

s t u d e n t , the p a s t o r a l - c a r e teacher should be the f i r s t i n the c h a i n of r e f e r r a l t o whom a problem should be addressed.

So t h a t p a s t o r a l - care teachers may c a r r y out the r o l e e f f e c t i v e l y senior masters should p r o v i d e them w i t h an o u t l i n e of what i s being planned i n t h e i r area of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y over a month or a term.

This would a s s i s t the p a s t o r a l - c a r e teachers t o p r o v i d e i n d i v i d u a l students and parents w i t h longer- term i n f o r m a t i o n about what they are t o be doing i n each area. Most parents want t o be able t o help t h e i r c h i l d r e n and t o discuss t h e i r progress w i t h them but are a t a l o s s unless they have some guidance of the k i n d suggested. Such guidance a s s i s t s the p a s t o r a l system t o promote " g r e a t e r involvement i n the l i f e of the community by the school, and by the community i n the school". (41)

The Committee b e l i e v e s t h a t p a s t o r a l - c a r e time could be a p p r o p r i a t e l y used f o r the d i s c u s s i o n of problems f a c i n g young people. These problems are most u s e f u l l y discussed when they a r i s e from r e a l

s i t u a t i o n s . I t was suggested t o the Committee t h a t

the Curriculum Branch should prepare m a t e r i a l on these problems, t o be a v a i l a b l e f o r p a s t o r a l teachers t o use as r e q u i r e d . I n no way should such an approach be p r e s c r i p t i v e .

P a s t o r a l - c a r e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s should be given increased r e c o g n i t i o n so t h a t they cease t o be

"tacked on" t o the other d u t i e s o f teachers.. The prime importance o f ' p a s t o r a l care w i l l be accepted by a l l when a l l s t a f f are i n v o l v e d . The Committee's view i s t h a t a l l members o f s t a f f have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r p a s t o r a l care and senior s t a f f should take respon- s i b i l i t y f o r a p a s t o r a l - c a r e group as p a r t o f t h e i r

d u t i e s . Given the importance o f p a s t o r a l care and i t s dependence on the competence and enthusiasm o f t e a c h e r s , the Committee considers t h a t i t should have a high,

p r i o r i t y i n teacher development a c t i v i t i e s . .

In document Secondary Education in Tasmania (Page 152-156)