Exploring onward with our journey we started our day off again with the BCU team! Today we had the honor of having our speakers turn our perspective more into the education side. Although the healthcare system is more purposeful for me on our trip, the education perspective has been eye-opening to me. In the presentation, the layout of the education system is much different than what we are used to in the states. However, the overall goal is the same for us to achieve. Looking at the differences in this education journey I noticed the level of education is different and when they can graduate from their school. In the UK if students pass their A-level testing in high school, they then have the option of proceeding to receive their diploma and graduate. Whereas in the US, you must remain in school until the age of 18 to graduate with a diploma. However, as I said previously there are still some similarities in our systems such as our testing system. Although students are not required to pass they are still required to test their abilities in certain subjects. All in all, there are many inequalities and disparities in our systems that require improvement to create an equal standard.
After returning from lunch at BCU we turned back to the classroom to pick back up the special educational needs and disabilities part of our day. Our first group activity was to make a timeline on how certain events happened within the special needs and disabilities movements or affecting factors. While trying to figure out the history of these events it was intriguing to see how current these events still are. The most recent event was in 2014/2015 which was only a few very short years ago. Another discussion I found interesting was our speaker informing us about her little brother and his relation to this topic. He is on the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and it was amazing to learn of his long journey to find assistance. The age he was discovered to be on the ASD was 7 and he started showing signs at the early age of 2-3! The process to gain this assistance is a very long and involved process to ensure they meet certain qualifications before they gain this help. The special needs and disability topic, in my opinion, needs to be more apparent to our society. One of the biggest ideas I believe is “not every disability is visible”. Growing up in an extremely small town it was uncommon for us as a community to recognize ideas like this. In high school, I worked with the younger ages (kindergarten, first grade, etc.) which showed that our school community needed major education on issues such as these. The students who were proven to be on the ASD were not receiving the proper assistance they needed and therefore it made it extremely difficult for them. I found this discussion very helpful for me to better understand the issues also going on, not only in the US but also in the UK.
As we concluded our lectures for that day I still had some lingering questions about the overall education system. One of my questions was, do schools have guidance counselors that aid in helping students not only with their academic plan but checking in on them mentally? It was interesting to learn that many schools lack the mental health support many them need, so it would be interesting to learn whether or not guidance counselors are there to help or not.
After our eventful and educational morning, we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather by spending our afternoon on the canal. We were able to take a boat tour around Birmingham to see the beautiful scenery. We then had an amazing dinner at Juju’s Café, which created a very cultural feel. It was also amazing to meet Juju herself when she served us our food! Our day was concluded after heading back to the hotel and getting rested for tomorrow’s early day!