Psychologist and speech therapist support
The recent Census (2011) in England shows, that Poles are the second largest foreign-born nation in England and Wales, and Polish language is the most often used language after English in the UK. Therefore it is not surprising that the number of Polish Supplementary Schools has been rising considerably for the last few years. The increasing number of educational establishments and students attending these establishments causes a demand for teachers and specialist in psychology and speech therapy.
Migration, multiculturalism, identity
Pupils of different levels of language proficiency and lexical skills are mixed together in many of Polish Supplementary Schools in England. Very often students come from diversified background and having a different emigration history, many of them were born in England, some of them have just arrived from Poland, the others prepares to return. Thus, the national identity and understanding of Polish culture have been shaped differently. That is linked to the acculturation problems – adjusting to the new situation. Additionally, many of children come from multicultural and multinational environment or they are rising only by one parent. That causes further barriers and implicates cultural problems. There are also many disable children suffering from Asperger Syndrome or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In the new and challenging cultural realities parents not always are able to provide help or advice to own children. That is why the role of psychologists in Polish Supplementary Schools is crucial.
The psychology sessions continues to be rather expensive and not every psychologists has experience in working with migrants. For this reasons it is worth to provide pupils with access to the psychologists within Polish Supplementary Schools’ environment. It is important to select specialists with both child psychology and acculturation experience. The specialists with this blend of professional skills can deliver help to children with both ADHD, lack of concentration and acculturations related problems.
Teachers of Polish Supplementary Schools point out that there is a large group of children having speech related problems. These problems are very often linked to the bilingualism or using, or not, their mother tongue at home. The parents make efforts to obtain diagnosis of the speech related problems of their children however there are barriers in form of limited English language skills. There are more and more situations where the difference in the language proficiency between children and parents is continuously increasing and causing lack of learning support.
Communication standards are necessary for the human balanced existing within society, any disruption of the communication process e.g. pronunciation related problems, speech difficulties and limited lexical skills can lead to the further psychological and emotional problems e.g. lack of self-confidence. To avoid that kind of problems it is worth to seek help from speech therapists.
In the process of selecting the speech therapists to work at the Polish Supplementary Schools environment is crucial to combine high standard of credentials approved by professional associations and institutes and experience working with bilingual children.
The above-discussed problems faced by pupils of Polish Supplementary Schools affect theirs education, progress, self-acceptance and socialization. Very often parents are not able to support or offer assistance to own children, therefore Polish Educational Society strongly advise to all Polish Schools to work closely with specialists: psychologists and speech therapists for the benefits of their pupils and Polish community. However, essential is to focus on high standards of qualifications and relevant bilingual experience of the selected specialists.
Monika Kmiecik, PMS
On-line consultations for teachers and parents
The Centre for the Development of Polish Education Abroad (ORPEG) run on- line consultations for polish teachers and parents as part of the project Otwarta szkoła – Powroty (‘Open school- Returns). The purpose of the consultation is to support pupils and their parents who are planning to return to Poland or those who suffer from culture shock, adaptation difficulties.
- 8th March 2015; 20.00 – 21.30 (Polish Time). Consultation will be led by: Anna Jurek – intercultural psychologist, educator and anti-discrimination trainer ; Applied Psychology graduate (Jagiellonian University), specializing in the study of acculturation and working with migrants.
- 20th March 2015; 20.00 – 21.30 (Polish Time). Consultation will be led by: Halina Grzymała-Moszczyńska, professor of Psychology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Chair of Psychology of Religion Department at the Institute for the Study of Religions. Teaches classes in cultural psychology, clinical psychology of religion, psychology of cross-cultural communications, and psychology of migration. Conducts research on the role of religion in acculturation of migrants, children’s experiences in the migration process, and psychological assistance for refugees.
More information can be found on the ORPEG website.