Expanding SUPA & Problems Page 08

Perhaps some people would like to become skilled and empowered. A Development Co-ordinator might help generate skills in workshop sessions. In these, former and current service users, carers, patients and parents can:

  • Learn to teach, to go on to plan and teach sessions for students.
  • Be assisted with literacy and forms of expression, to develop abstract thinking.
  • Be introduced to principles of research
  • Undertake presentations and skills in report writing
  • Develop means to help assess students' data, presentations and their reflective thinking about their work
Or more simply, sessions can assist:

  • Towards saying what student nurses, midwives and social workers should learn about a particular subject or area.
  • Towards stating what is more or less important in what is done with service users, patients and carers.
  • On just sitting in on research projects either with students to make comments that expand the knowledge base.
  • Towards contributing to discussions and forums about what is important for patients, service users and carers.
The level of involvement must be flexible. Some individuals may want to offer simple comment in the context of their own situation, others may want to give deep involvement into aspects of training, design and assessment. Inputs should be facilitated for various different levels.

Students thus get used to the idea of participating with service users and carers on an equal basis.
Such differential involvement comes up against our education system, past and present, in common factual examinations and today its targeting that mitigates against abstract learning. And we know that education produces differences based principally on class, but also ethnicity and gender.
It means redoubling efforts to get the widest possible representation of subcultures and individuals across the usual measures of classes, ethnic identities and self-defined gender types.

It is less useful having only the narratives of the articulate, or simply one or two identifiable groups of people: efforts need to be made to go out and recruit more intensely those less represented, which is itself an ever present challenge.

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Adrian Worsfold, May 5th 2010