Monday, 18 January 2010

Start of a social movement?...

I like this. Not because it is a particularly good joke (I am more of a Clare in the Community girl myself) but because it shows the issue has arrived. Well, at least that the issue has left the station.

The Communication Trust has, as a core strategic objective, the development of social movement to claim communication as a right. Social movement is a grand term, much written upon (Google Tily to get a sense of the theory). But in essence a social movement is a major vehicle for ordinary people's participation in public politics. For recent examples ‘think green’ or ‘drop the debt’. Ordinary people mobilised, often by the third sector, to take action and become ‘we’ rather than ‘they’. When communication skills becomes the ‘third pint in the pub’ issue; when Jeremy Kyle invites parents of children with SLCN onto his show; when 10 000 turn up outside Westminster with ‘communicate by right’ banners then we will know we are getting there. Bad comic strips jokes are a good start.

Seeing communication as the 21st century life skill, and knowing as we do how many children do not have the skills or support that they need, how could we want anything less than a movement to make change. Social movement brings policy change and funding and changes attitudes. And we need all three – now. The National Year should help give us a push but the work of the Trust, Trust members and now the Champion have certainly created the media interest that will help form the basis of such of the movement that we aspire to.

Not all of this media coverage has been helpful. Little upset to find out that my desire for materials things (handbags in my case) and working motherhood is apparently the reason for my daughter’s challenges with phonics (thank you Guardian - really the Guardian??!!). And SLTs as elocutionists for the middle classes? (Evening Standard – slightly less surprise there). But some has been wonderful. The recent Times and Independent pieces really outline well the challenges some children face. And the emerging debate is one to be captured and developed (read for example the Observer piece in defence of computer games).

So. A good start. Let’s keep up the momentum. And if my view of emerging the issue is an Eastenders character with specific language impairment falling in love with their speech and language therapist (yes I know it is unprofessional but it is Eastenders right) then what is yours?


Robert Keteyian said...

Dear Ms. Kerwin-Nye,

I was so delighted to come across your blog. I recently read about your new Communication Champion and realized how serious your country is taking the issue of children learning communication skills. I just had an Op Ed piece published, which I’ll include discussing the importance of this issue in the United States. When I talk with teachers about this issue, I am often met with, “I guess we really don’t directly address interpersonal communication.”

I’ve recently published a book, Do You Know What I Mean?—Discovering Your Personal Communication Style. It is rooted in learning style and multiple intelligence theory. The terminology and concepts are very familiar to teachers, and the focus on interpersonal communication styles evolves naturally.

If you would like to know more, please visit my website:

Robert Keteyian

Lisa Houghton said...

So excited to have discovered your blog. look forward to more.

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