How to get started on your SIGHTBOX ‘FLIGHTPATH(S)’
We are thrilled that you now have received your SIGHTBOX, and there are SIGHTBAGS as yet to come. We now need to explain how to use them effectively.
There are three stages to engaging the SIGHTBOX and maximising its impact and wider potential which we will now start to share with you.
The overall aims of sightbox is to challenge the two main issues which are universal for visually impaired (VI) pupils
- The lack of opportunity and employment
- The lower than average friendship groups within communities for VI.
What sightbox does is to raise individual self-confidence, positively impact on health and wellbeing, highlight and signpost individual strengths towards opportunity and better outcomes, whilst simultaneously challenging perceptions of VI and breaking down barriers towards inclusion. Let us go through the stages together. It is important that you share your story with us so that we can help in offering ongoing support and advice. We ask you to do this by keeping an e-mail contact and sharing images of your story ‘flightpath’ including the sharing of individual pupil impact stories. Furthermore, by keeping a watchful eye on the website and twitter where we will share best practice and research. www.sightbox.org.uk @sightboxuk
The first stage means learning about each item in the box and how to use them properly across a range of activities. We have provided here for you the first simple games and activities for your VI pupils to engage with the sightbox content and, moving forwards, the website and technology we will share later. This must remain key in your minds from the outset; the sightbox content use leads to technology use via the curricula we will share with you. This may come through different projects we will work with you to adapt for your individual pupils and the wider and diverse communities in which you physically exist. We can consistently provide you with lesson plan ideas for each item in the sightbox so as for it to remain vibrant, relevant and most importantly, exciting. It is from here we build with you teaching and learning opportunities for your pupils, where you are and at point of individual needs. You may wish to take each item and learn three or more activities for each one in turn or introduce a rolling programme of learning. This is upto you, knowing your pupils and your setting and thus what would work best. Decide upon this, and get the box open and pupils enjoying the activities.
When you have a working knowledge of the content and have established the best ways to communicate your progress and secure our ongoing advice, we can go onto stage two. In this you need to provide your pupils with the means to be the trainers. Start with helping the older and indeed more confident (maybe also younger) pupils to peer tutor amongst each other how to use the equipment. You will need to decide who this will best benefit in being the trainers. There are however, enough items and lessons for you to give as many pupils as possible a leading opportunity. The aim is raising pupil belief in themselves. Share the success stories with us so we can help celebrate and reinforce with your pupil’s achievement.
It is at this ‘training the trainers’ stage you need to look around within your community so see where you can gather support. Who can you ask to come and play sightbox games and sports with you where your pupils teach the rules of the game or sport? Will local primary and secondary schools come and play? do you have any local Scout troops or Girl Guides or their equivalent where you are? Do you have any local Rotary Clubs or local Police officers who may well want to come and support you AND learn more about what it is to be VI and then perhaps identify where they can offer further support? Can you use this to open up a new Scout or Guides Troop? Are there older VI individuals willing to share their inter-generational time (and wisdom of experience)? Think about how you use sports engagement and activity to foster new relationships and opportunities as you highlight your pupil strengths and skills. A cautionary word however. Our pupils are vulnerable, so vet carefully who you accept and safeguard your pupils.
It is at this point you have made the first steps into applying a ‘formula’. The formula is a ‘loose’ one and depends on how you develop it in your specific environment and with and for your individual pupils. The formula is as follows and will now be briefly explained:
SOCIAL CAPITAL/HUMAN CAPITAL + Reverse Inclusion +Service-Learning + creativity =Outcomes
Social Capital theory relates to the positive outcomes which emerge when ‘networks of neighbourhoods’ work together. The World Bank and OECD have measured this in outcomes connected to better health, lower crime and better educational achievement. Together we, and those we invite to engage in sports, constitute our network. Where we share this network on www.sightbox.org.uk and @sightboxuk Sightbox Twitter Link relates to how we broaden our ‘neighbourhood’ and gain support for each other.
Human Capital relates to the knowledge, skills, understanding and experience held by a group of people or an individual and viewed in terms of that value to an organisation or country. In our formula, it works in synergy with social capital. These our ‘strength sets’ are of significant value towards each other as we share them through the sightbox as a medium, and of wider value as we demonstrate and prove them as active parts of our economies. This will be explained further in stage three.
Reverse Inclusion relates to how your pupils take the lead within teaching and training others on how to use sightbox. Inviting the wider community to come to you and into an environment your pupils know well and can easily navigate, turns a table on perceptions of VI.
Service-Learning is a form of volunteerism. In the context of our formula it relates to how your local communities, and with specific reference to your local schools and Further and Higher Education Institutions, can support the overall aims we established from the outset of this document. This will be explained further in Stage Three.
Creativity relates to how you use sightbox (sports) and other creative/ cross curricular and project-based learning to highlight pupil ‘strengths sets’ within our collaborative vision itself and towards our aims (i.e. better opportunities, employment, friendship generation, and health and wellbeing outcomes). This means replicating a surrounding sightbox curriculum through the mediums of sports, music, art, dance, drama Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the environment and in synergy with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is at this stage we will help you develop your local curriculum using the flightpath stories you will have previously shared. It also relates to how your students get creative themselves after having grown in confidence and offered sightbox ideas. Again, this is further explained in Stage Three.
Outcomes relates to where we share the impact of sightbox and its three-stage process and is measurable in the generated opportunities, routes to employment, friendships and new sightbox innovations. Our formula works in a circle of teaching and learning and best practice sharing as a ‘common good’ curriculum.
Within Stage two we need to work with you in securing individual SIGHTBAGS for your individual pupils. There is a time within the stages that this works best, so please keep in contact, so we can advise you on how to best maximise the individual value.
If you have been working with us through the stages so we can advise you, stage three will come quite naturally. If you have raised your individual pupil’s confidence and belief in themselves whilst engaging them in training sightbox use as leaders we can enter this stage with some excitement. It is at this stage we focus that raised belief into STEAM (Science Technology Engineering the Arts and Maths). The question to your pupils must be set as follows; ‘what would you suggest as an idea that would enable you, support your needs and/or that of your peers to access music, art, dance, drama, sports, ICT or environmental issues? Ideas include those teaching and learning applications which surround these, the creative mediums.
We are ready to help develop ideas for inclusion in subsequent SIGHTBOXES and protect the ownership of those items from and to their point of conception. It is a never-ending box not limited by its physical dimensions. It is only limited by our imaginations. Working at this level is where we will seek to engage Further and Higher Education Institutions in Service-Learning support to research and develop ideas with and for you. This is where together we conceptualise and cement new innovation and employment opportunities for our VI communities using the SIGHTBOX platform and established networks. Do ask any questions or for clarification on any of the stages at any point.
Dr. John. A. Patterson
Principal, St. Vincent’s School for VI Liverpool