Conversation starters…

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by Gary Walsh

This website is the result of many fruitful conversations. There is more to come, but for now, see below some initial comments and issues for further discussion received from critical friends:

“I absolutely love the messages in this! Endorsed 100%. I wish I could write so eloquently. Scotland, with any luck, will be very receptive to this, with its history of left leaning politics and also the interest in ACEs and trauma informed practice. Thank you for sending me this and I will share far and wide when able to!”

Pauline Hendry, Additional Support Needs teacher

“I think it’s brilliant. Just the ticket. A positive alternative narrative to the deficit model. Need to continue to reclaim the language too: trauma, resilience (resilient communities anyone?), adversity (as necessary part of risk-running life and growth – within reason of course). Expect me to be fully behind it.”

Christian Kerr, Social Worker

“Thanks loads for sharing this with me and congratulations to you all for producing such an attractive, informative and accessible site. Thanks also for including some of my pieces in the readings. I like the alternatives – the ‘what can be done’ emphasis as much as the critical emphasis. This really is the best way of reaching out to a wide audience beyond the academic (as well as to academia). The critical researcher in me would want to interrogate the notion of a hopeful childhood, but generally I am supportive of this endeavour and once you make it public, I’ll be tweeting it madly!”

Professor Ros Edwards, University of Southampton

“I think there is a pressing need for a community of practitioners, researchers and like-minded people who deeply care about structural, cultural etc barriers to human flourishing. I was reading, today, Robinson’s (1997:17) comment that ‘the most powerful educational policy is arguably one which tackles child poverty, rather than modest interventions in schooling’ so if I can contribute from an education perspective, I will. I think you have provided a clear rationale for this community and its purpose. No doubt there will be resistance to its ideas from some quarters but there is a moral imperative to try. As a practitioner I tend to find that people respond to ideas about ‘How to’ rather than ‘Why’; as a researcher I like the rationale but success is likely to depend on practical application. This is perhaps something to add? For example, if I claim as a teacher to create opportunities for authentic autonomy then I’d want genuine and specific examples of how/what I did. I’m sure these examples will come as the community develops so it is just an initial thought on first reading. I’m hopeful there is beginning to be a shift in momentum towards genuine social justice and care of our children.”

J.K. Alexander (teacher and researcher)

“Had look at the website and think its great. Will hopefully become a focal point for discussion as to the serious limitations of the ACE model. Has anyone done any significant research into how schools can either support and nurture children suffering from childhood trauma in order to improve outcomes or , through a deficit approach to “discipline” effectively repeatedly re traumatise them and reduce the likelihood of positive outcomes? Was thinking about it with regards to schools ethos/culture and whether inclusion is embedded across the school and in every class. As someone who is in and out of a number secondary schools to support them in supporting and including young people I see huge variations in practice. Most schools now talk the talk but I’m much less convinced a culture of inclusion is consistently embedded in classroom practice.”

Neil Munro, DHT Pupil Support Service

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