The placement in focus is a group of 15 – 19 year-old individuals who have been excluded from mainstream education due to behavioral problems. These problems can be generalized according to the description made by the American Psychological Association (2000) of oppositional defiant disorder or ODD as “a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures. ” Based on the theory developed in APA (2000), individuals who suffer from ODD find much difficulty in being able to operate effectively in a traditional learning environment.
This falls in line with my findings on the social and personal development needs of young people in the placement. There were various areas identified where the individuals in the placement needed to develop. On a social level, the individuals need to develop forging less antagonistic relationships with one another. What was perceived throughout the work period of the individuals was that antagonistic factions have bee built up. These factions generally tended to have a racial characteristic, with those with the same racial traits (such as the Blacks or the Latinos), finding it reasonable to stay with one another.
While this cliquing activity is normal amongst teenagers, what is not normal is the amount of antagonism that one clique gives to another. Another problem is that there are a few people who are left out by all of the cliques, and these people are the ones who are picked on most of the time. Being defenseless, these people have no choice but to take the psychological, and occasionally physical battery thrown at them by other members of the placement group. Towards solving this difficulty, there are several social areas within the members of the group that need to be developed. First is their sense of security.
What is obvious is that many of the placement members are using membership to a clique as a way to have a group that would defend them when they are antagonized against. What should be developed in them is the idea that they do not need a clique to defend them against antagonism because the placement group is not a hostile environment but rather an environment for cooperative and mutual learning. If the members of the placement realize this, the fear between cliques that is generating conflict would abate and the members of the placement would learn to get along with one another better.
The second area of social development is tolerance. The placement members should be acquainted with the concept of pluralism, that is, recognizing that there are different, conflicting ideas from different people that can coexist through mutual respect. An example of the lack of this trait is observed in cases when members get into an argument. Each member tries as much as possible to prove to the other that the other is wrong, and each is unwilling to make any concessions.
It is important to develop in the placement members, the ability to recognize the value of the argument of others and to see that through reasonable debate and proper concessions, two arguments can reach an acceptable middle ground. On the level of personal development, there are also several points identified by the findings. First among these is that the placement members need to build a sense of life-direction. It was observed that many of the placement members do not participant because they feel that participation is pointless.
The value of the education system is nonexistent within their perspectives and they believe that they are just wasting their time. Thus, what should be developed is the value of a good education. The placement members must be made to realize what opportunities they are giving up without a proper education. Secondly, diligence is another value that should be developed within the placement members. Most of the time, members try to seek the easiest way to accomplish the task, without considering that some tasks would take considerable effort to accomplish.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to find shortcuts and the initiative of doing so is actually a positive characteristic, what should be developed in the placement group is the ability to realize when hard work is required by a task. These social and personal developmental needs should be addressed in order to help the members of the placement group function normally. Second Prompt In the project accomplished, four youths were asked to go to the local park where materials were provided for them for them to build a “rocket ship” that would contain an egg.
The materials given were paper, scissors, cellotape, and the egg. Their objective was to make a contained for the egg such that when the container is launched (like a rocket ship) 25 yards high into the air with the egg contained in it, the egg would not break upon the ship’s impact on the ground. The objective therefore is to create a container that would allow the egg to survive being launched. In giving the youths the project, the facilitator presented the instructions clearly, so that the youths would understand exactly what was required for them to accomplish.
The facilitator approached the topic with enthusiasm, and emphasized the “make-believe” side of the project by discussing matters about rocket ships before giving the activity. This created a deep sense of motivation among the group members which made them eager to begin working on the project. In order to help the youths become organized in working on the project, the facilitator suggested that they brainstormed first. That is, discussed individual ideas among one another so that they can synthesize the best way to accomplish the task.
This work processes was very effective as seen from observing the youths at work. All of the four members were actively giving their opinions about how to go about the project. Based on the ideas that they were generating, they were slowly but surely constructing a solid plant that would later get the job done. However also during the observation, the theoretical perspectives of conflict was also playing out. The rejection of some suggestions from one member which were not well-received by another member created tension between two of the youths working on the project.
The facilitator immediately made use of conflict pacifying techniques prevent the group from breaking down and the project from being left unfinished. This reinforced the earlier findings of the facilitator regarding the need for social development within the members of the placement group. The problem from a theoretical point of view is that they were highly resistant to conflicting viewpoints and see such occurrences immediately as acts of hostility that they need to counter with equal or greater hostility.
Through making the members of the group see that their criticisms of each other suggestions can be utilized constructively, the tense members were pacified that the project continued. Based on a consensus among the group members, they resolved to construct the space ship by creating a hollow base filled with air. One of the members who knew how to make paper balloons created them from the material while the rest worked on the ship’s structure that would hold the egg. After they were done, they launched the ship with the egg in it and were successful at keeping the egg from breaking.
What was observed by the facilitator in their success was that it strengthened their social bonds. When they saw that working together was successful, they applauded one another’s efforts and the two who had been previously antagonized against one another quickly settled their differences completely. Based on this observation, it is clear that the activity improved the youths capability to work together, to be more understanding of one another’s ideas, and to synthesize ideas in a manner that can get the task done right.
What is recommended is that more activities such as the one accomplished be given to the members of the placement group. These activities can be used to convey actual learning objectives derived from the mainstream classroom. In this way, the youths would actually be learning not just about working together but about actual academic content through the activities that they perform with one another. Third Prompt There have been significant contributions of from different members of the placement.
The placement experience has allowed members to become more aware about the value of education and has made members experience activities that enriched their social and personal development. The current policies in the educational system are effective as it is able to provide solutions to problems encountered in the classroom by sending problematic students to placements where they can be better acquainted with the learning process and be more ready to return to the mainstream classroom. Reference APA. (2000). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fourth Edition. American Psychiatric Publications.
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