This report is intended to be a monthly summary of findings from the Monkey-in-My-Chair evaluation. It is likely to vary in length from one month to the next. To read more about our findings from March, click on the link below.
Appropriateness of the Monkey
At the end of March, the most surprising issue has been the number of people who have queried the use of a Monkey for the program. There is a perception that the Monkey “represents” the child or “is” the child, or that the child is being likened to a Monkey. This raises concerns around the general appropriateness of the Monkey, or whether it might lead to teasing from other children. These concerns have always come from adults, never from children.
The understanding of “The Cure Starts Now” and “MissingSchool” is that the Monkey is a stuffed toy which belongs to the child and holds the child’s place in the class; it does not replace the child, but serves to remind the class that there is a child missing. It would perhaps be useful to collect impressions from those people who expressed initial reservations, after they have had time to work with the Monkey and decide whether this is, after all, cause for concern.
Teachers in two schools have referred to values education in the classroom, noting that the provision of support to a seriously ill classmate is an important learning opportunity for other children in the class. It will be interesting to follow up on their observations of what the other children can learn from having the Monkey in the class.
Use of ICT
Students in two schools have made use of Skype to connect with teachers and classmates at school. The Skype platform is not generally approved by state education authorities, but its use in these schools has been in circumstances falling outside the mainstream provisions of those authorities.
Other ICT mentioned as being useful are :
– email, to send and receive schoolwork, feedback, and other communications
– YouTube (private channel established by the school) to record school events for the sick student to view