“My name is Kylie, I am the award unit leader for the Taminmin Special Education Centre. Last year we had our largest number of participants to date. 2018 saw 9 new participants enrolling to undertake their bronze medallions and 2 returning participants sign up to complete silver, all with additional needs. These students were able to participate thanks to the support offered by the Disadvantage Youth Grant.
When working with teenagers, twelve months is quite a long time. Reflecting on the skills of the cohort arriving in January, and looking at how they have developed and changed throughout the school year there are always substantial differences.
One change that I noted, which was directly linked to the Duke of Edinburgh’s award was the change in student mindsets. Students are now considering, and developing future personal goals and pathways, independently planning and generating ideas of how they could complete future award levels. For some students, this was a substantial step in their adolescent development. In the past, the prospect of attending an overnight school event like an adventurous journey was not a possibility for a number of the student cohort. For others the ability to attend an event like this was possible, however it lacked peers, causing anxiety and isolation.
By delivering the Duke of Edinburgh’s award to students in a Special education setting we have had the ability to offer an additional educational avenue that students can participate in, within a heavily supported environment. This has given students the ability to bond and develop outside of the classroom by participating in extracurricular activities (selected by the cohort) unhindered by personal circumstances. To the same degree of importance, students have been given the choice and ability to plan their own future endeavors. Weekly I have students asking me in the school yard “Miss! When does Dukes start up again? I want to (insert activity here).” The positivity and excitement in their voice is contagious and is a reminder of why the program is important. Students are now also looking at their resumes understanding how valuable the addition of a bronze or silver medallion is.
I genuinely appreciate being able to run the Duke of Edinburgh’s award within our Special Education Centre. It is rewarding to be able to see students successfully participate in activities outside of the classroom in varying environments. It fills me with a sense of pride being able to see students develop confidence when successfully overcoming personal challenges in unfamiliar environments.
I actively encourage new students, of all abilities, to consider participating in the award.
Teacher, Taminmin Special Education Centre
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