The W word: Witchcraft labelling and child safeguarding in social work practice.

We are very proud to have published an important new title, The W Word: Witchcraft labelling and child safeguarding in social work practice by Prospera Tedam and Awura Adjoa. In this post Prospera and Awura outline their reasons for writing the book and the approach it takes.

We are delighted to see our book published and wanted to write this first blog to reiterate our commitment to halting the practice of witchcraft labelling which we know is ongoing in some of our communities. In the last year, we have continually reflected on Awura Adjoa’s childhood experiences and considered how things may otherwise have been for her.

Our motivation to write this book emerged from our shared desire to expose the practice of witchcraft labelling and the impact on its victims. We outlined the psychological, emotional and physical impact on Awura Adjoa and examined the ways in which her migration and family dynamics placed her in a vulnerable position and open to witchcraft labelling.

We were particularly concern about the widely held view that witchcraft labelling is a recent phenomenon in England and sought to explain how this form of child abuse is often hidden and silenced within communities and in families. We make the case for a more robust framework for assessing families where witchcraft labelling may be occurring.

We appreciate that the book makes difficult reading in parts, due to the honest and deeply concerning narrative presented by Awura Adjoa, however we felt there was no way to present this information to the audience for whom it is intended. Awura Adjoa would like to see parents and families engage with this book in order to evaluate their own parenting particularly if they hold beliefs about the presence of witchcraft.

We felt that this book would provide social workers and child safeguarding practitioners with additional insight into this form of abuse and develop their skills in identifying, assessing and intervening in families where children have been labelled or are at risk of witchcraft labelling.

A prominent theme in the book is the role of the faith leader or pastor in the labelling process. Awura Adjoa essentially had two pastors determine her fate- the one who labelled and the one who cleared her. Conversations must be ongoing with faith groups and leaders if we are hoping to address this growing issue.

The role of the school and educational establishments is also considered in the book, particularly around what could have been done to identify that Awura Adjoa was at risk at home and within her community.

The need to understand complex family forms and dynamics is another key area we wanted to bring to the attention of readers. Complex family systems can impact on the effectiveness of any intervention with and for children who may have been labelled.

The 3 main arguments proposed by the book are:

  • Witchcraft labelling in England is not new. It is a real and present concern among some communities and within some faith groups.
  • There are multiple actors associated with this form of child abuse. It is never a ‘secret’ and members of the family and community will be aware of the accusations and label.
  • Witchcraft labelling requires intervention from child care practitioners who are culturally aware and sensitive, non- oppressive and who understand the complexities of working cross-culturally.

Gay (2010) suggests that stories are told for multiple purposes- to entertain, educate and inform or to evoke emotion. The W word is by no means entertainment. It will evoke various emotions as it did for us as the authors and its primary aim is to educate and inform. Consequently, we make no apology for the content, it is Awura Adjoa’s lived experience and needed to be told in the way that is has.

Awura and Prospera

May is Mental Health Month

Good Morning!

Mental Health has recently, and rightly so, been the topic of hot discussion and debate. People are starting to research, understand and evaluate mental health, albeit with difficulty, to try and really help sufferers.

May is Mental Health Awareness month and we want to help shine a light on something that has been kept in the dark for a very long time.

Steven Walker, in the book ‘Modern Mental Health‘, has put together a series of mental illness accounts in order to offer an alternative and thought-provoking perspective. In aid of this month’s efforts here is an extract from Hannah Walker’s story- the full account is available here.

modernmentalhealth-web

Part One – The Human in the System

Chapter 1: A Survivor’s Story

By Hannah Walker

Introduction

My name is Hannah and I’m a survivor of the military mental health system, the NHS mental health system and a number of psychiatrists.  I suffer from bipolar disorder and PTSD, and I was diagnosed twenty years ago.  In this chapter, I will tell you some of my story.

I was adopted at 4 months into a loving upper middle class family who lived on the Isle of Wight.  I have a sister, also adopted, who is six years younger than I am.  Neither of us has ever wanted to trace our biological parents, because we were happy at home and didn’t feel the need to go meddling.  Both our adoptive parents are now dead, but they would have been quite happy had we wanted to seek our real mothers, but we thought not.  No point.

I went to the local grammar school, and left at the age of 18 having been Head Girl and having collected a few O and A levels – nothing spectacular.  When I was in the Upper Sixth, my best friend died; I later discovered that she had committed suicide.  I had the first of what were to be many, many episodes of mania and depression after that event and had some time off school.  The episode was curious – I didn’t know what was happening to me and didn’t really have the words to explain it to the GP.  All I could tell him was that all the colours went bright outside, and I felt a rush of panic and fear as though I could no longer remain alive and deal with it.  In that instant, I contemplated taking an overdose of painkillers – not so that I would die, but so that I could become unconscious and not have to feel the pain.  I couldn’t be alone, but I couldn’t tell anyone what I was feeling as it was impossible to describe.  The only time I felt “well” was when I was driving a car.  I slept with the light on as I couldn’t bear to be alone in the dark with just my thoughts for company.

My parents hadn’t any idea of what to do with me, so they sent me to my GP, and I tried to explain what had happened to me, without much success.  He diagnosed an extreme grief reaction, without much in the way of a clue as to my illness.  I became even more depressed and started self harming, making up the most outrageous stories as to how I had cut myself.  I spent hours with razor blades, slashing my arms to pieces, and telling the A&E department that I had fallen through windows/dropped a glass which had shattered/been hit by a hockey ball.  No one helped.  No one asked me if I was OK – not even the medics who assiduously stitched me up every time.  I was sent to an Educational Psychologist, but refused to talk to her as she had hinted to me that she thought I was self harming.  Far too ashamed to admit it, I reiterated my stories and told her that I was just very accident prone.  She gave up.

I pulled myself together and carried on as though nothing had happened, which sowed the seeds of later episodes

Please read the rest of the account here for FREE.

If you have a story you’d like to share then please do get in contact. You can reach me at hannah@criticalpublishing.com

Keep up to date on all offers by subscribing to our newsletters, following us on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.

 

How To Support Learning

Good morning all,

Fiona Hall, author of our book ‘Supporting Primary Teaching and Learning‘ has prepared this entry to aid both teaching assistants and student teachers. This book is ideal for those of you looking to gain an invaluable insight into what pursuing a career in education really entails and how best to support learning.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts if you’ve got your own copy at home!

Supporting Primary Teaching and Learning-Front (1).jpg

Supporting Primary Teaching and Learning is an invaluable guide for school Teaching Assistants or as an ideal starting point for undergraduates interested in a career in education. Aimed at the primary sector, this book gives you the low-down on the essentials you need to gain and develop a career in education with the focus on supporting children’s learning. As well as guiding teaching assistants, it provides valuable insight for those aspiring to become teachers.

The book has been written by expert educators Fiona Hall, Duncan Hindmarch, Doug Hoy and Lynn Machin. Fiona, who worked in primary education and teacher training for many years advises, “This book offers some great advice to Teaching Assistants starting on their Higher Education journey and gives supporting literature for their practice in schools”.  Duncan, who heads up the Foundation degree in Education at Staffordshire University explains: We wanted to create a book that would be really useful for Teaching Assistants or students planning careers in the primary education sector. The chapters have been developed to include relevant contemporary subjects.” The book has been organised into key topics which provide you with the information needed to help you be a successful teaching Assistant. Lynn adds, As well as taking a theoretical standpoint, it also has useful practical advice too.”

Lead author Fiona explains: “We’ve kept it relatively short and focuses on some of the priorities with recommendations for further reading when appropriate.”

So, we think this book will be an ideal starting point for Teaching Assistants employed in the sector as well as appealing to undergraduate education students.

If you have any questions you can reach me at hannah@criticalpublishing.com – as always we’d love to hear from you.

Keep up to date on all offers by subscribing to our newsletters, following us on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.

A book for National Science Week

It’s National Science week and children all over the country will be celebrating in schools so we’ve decided to join in on the celebrations!

Introducing our new book ‘Key Concepts in Primary Science’.KCPS-Cover-web

This long-awaited title is the key to enabling teachers everywhere to inspire and open the minds of their pupils.

Here is a short entry from the authors Vivian Cooke and Colin Howard.

I am delighted that my colleague Colin Howard and myself have written our second book on primary science, Key Concepts in Primary Science.  The book has been written for both trainee and qualified primary teachers to support them in developing an understanding of the concepts and knowledge outlined in the National Curriculum for science at both Key Stage 1 and 2.

Outstanding teachers of primary science need to have strong subject knowledge in science and an understanding of children’s ideas and misconceptions to enable them to have an impact on children’s learning and allow children to make progress.  Many students that we have taught over the years not only find particular science topics such as Forces and Electricity difficult, but also hold common misconceptions themselves.  In order to increase teachers’ confidence and competence in science subject knowledge and subject-specific pedagogy, the book guides readers to identify their strengths and areas of weaknesses though an initial subject knowledge audit.  This is followed by a concept map of the key concepts dealt with in each chapter and the associated vocabulary which is then defined.  Readers are then prompted to reflect on their understanding at the end of each key concept and a list of resources including websites are included to enable them to further develop their subject knowledge if needed.

We hope you will find the book useful and help you in inspiring children to learn more about this fascinating subject.

Best wishes Colin & Viv.

For a sample of our new book click here or visit our website.

If you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing: hannah@criticalpublishing.com

Keep up to date on all offers by subscribing to our newsletters, following us on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.

Foundations of reading- the final extract

We’re all happy its Friday but we’re also SO GUTTED that today is the last day of extracts from Carol Hayesnew book.

EYLLC-174x246-Front-web

We’ve saved the best for last so enjoy!

DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING

When you are reading critically it is important to distinguish whether what the writer is saying is fact or opinion. Sometimes this is hard to ascertain but consider the following and try to decide whether it is fact or opinion.

LLC 1 extract 260216

This is more difficult and could fall into both camps, as it depends upon your definition of the word ‘good’in this context. If you are saying that Letters and Sounds  receive Government support as a ‘good’ way to teach reading, this may well be fact. However if you are saying that most teachers consider it to be good for their children, this is opinion.

LLC 2 extract 260216

You can see from this that critical reading requires a different approach to that of reading a novel or a magazine. You need to actively engage with the text in a sustained manner, to learn from it rather than simply be entertained by it.

For more information visit our website where all our titles are a whopping 15% OFF!

Email hannah@criticalpublishing.com with any queries or feedback.

Development of Writing- the penultimate extract from Carol Hayes’ new book.

EYLLC-174x246-Front-web

Oh Thursday has come around so quickly and it genuinely saddens me to have to say that this is the penultimate extract from Carol Hayes’ book ‘Language, Literacy and Communication‘.

Each chapter in the book is filled with diagrams, case studies and points of reflection to encourage and promote critical thinking- this extract is a good example of this.

Critical Questions

With a colleague consider the following.

LLC extract 250216

  • Look at the picture below by Lewis, aged 3 years 5 months. What do you think you can learn about Lewis’ stage of development from studying this?
  • Can you guess what Lewis feels is the value of having recorded this?
  • What kind of setting/environment do you think would encourage this type of communication?
  • What do you think this child understands about writing at this stage?

Comment

Lewis is at a pre-schematic stage, when there are connections between the circles and lines that make up the drawing. There is a clear attempt to communicate an idea. In this case he has gone beyond the basic ‘tadpole’ shape or ‘head-feet’ symbol. Interestingly in this case he has omitted the arms and this is common at this stage (Jolley, 2006). It could be that his preoccupation is still with the face, which is quite detailed, including ears.

For more information make sure to visit our website where all titles are 15% OFF.

Email hannah@criticalpublishing.com with queries or questions.

Receptive Language and Listening

Happy mid-week to all you of you! We have your third free extract from Carol Hayes‘ book ‘Language, Literacy and Communication‘.

In this lovely snippet, the text discusses the mechanics of the hearing process. Enjoy and please email with feedback!

EYLLC-174x246-Front-web

Do we acquire language through the eye or the ear? 

When you listen to someone speaking, you are not only taking in information from your hearing and auditory processing, but you are also watching them, their physical gestures and mouth movements. Without this capacity to combine the visual sense with the auditory, you would be limiting your ability to understand the information from the receptive language. This combining of information across the senses is called ‘intermodal perception’ or ‘intermodal co-ordination’. One example of this is your ability to understand who is speaking when you hear spoken language.

Most humans are much slower than a computer at numerical calculation or recalling numbers or facts, but humans far surpass computers at language related tasks. Pinker (1994) suggested that the ear, as miraculous as it is, acts like an ‘information bottleneck’ constricting the hearing process. In the 1940s engineers attempted to produce a reading machine for blind and partially sighted people, but discovered that merely isolating the phonemes in words and then sticking them back together again in an infinite number of ways to form words, was completely useless. As real speech is understandable at between 10-50 phonemes a second, this showed that it was not possible for you to ‘read’ speech in this way, at approximately three phonemes a second, (approximately the same speed as a ship’s radio officer ‘reading’ Morse code).  To illustrate this, when we hear the tick of a clock we hear each individual sound, if this were speeded up to 20-30 ticks per second it would sound to the human ear, as a continuous sound, as the spaces between the ticks would be indistinguishable from each other.

Speech is a river of breath bent into hisses and hums by the soft flesh of the mouth and throat.                                                          

– (Pinker, 1994, p 163)

For more details on book then go to our website where ALL titles are currently 15% OFF.

Otherwise please feel free to message in with any questions for us or for Carol at hannah@criticalpublishing.com

15% blog post instagram15% blog post facebook