Sarah Ash, Subject Advisor for Health and Social Care
In this blog I consider the teaching of optional unit R034 of the Cambridge National in Health and Social Care and answer some of the questions we’ve been asked. This unit is an opportunity to explore how creative activities can be used to support people with different needs and abilities. It also considers how therapies are used to benefit individuals needing care.
The specification begins with Topic Area 1, looking at therapies and their benefits. We do get asked why this is assessed in Task 4 when the content is in Topic Area 1. The reason is that we wanted students to learn about therapies and creative activities consecutively so that they could recognise the benefits of both creative and therapeutic activities which can help people with a range of needs. This helps students to see the whole picture of how therapies and creative activities are supportive.
Most of the questions we are asked are about the planning of the creative activity in Task 1 and who it should be designed for: students in the class or the individuals identified in the assignment. It should be planned for the people identified in the assignment. If students can’t access a setting to carry out the activity it can be done in the classroom, but it should be designed for those given in the live assessment material.
Some centres encourage each student to choose an activity, but others have been choosing an activity as a class. It is important that each student can decide on the creative activity they want to plan. There will always be a few students who struggle to think of an activity, and this is where teacher guidance is helpful, but teachers should encourage individuality.
You could direct students to the Creative activity website. Although this mostly consists of design and technology resources aimed at schools, the website is adaptable and will spark interest and ideas.
Alternatively to generate ideas you could look at Pallant House Gallery which offers downloadable PDFs and lists of resources needed for various activities. Some of these projects look quite advanced artistically but they are designed to be done at home without experience, and most seem to use normal household items so there’s no costly outlay for the resources.
For each of the different types of therapies given in the teaching column we have provided some examples in the exemplification column (page 32 in the spec). You might like to use these examples, but you can include other examples in your teaching too, as long as they fall under one of the four types in the teaching column.
It may be tempting to teach only those that are included in the live assessment material, but to do this would limit knowledge of the range of therapies and creative activities that are available and can impact on the ability to apply that knowledge. More time spent teaching a range of examples is beneficial to students’ ability to understand how therapies and creative activities benefit individuals and will make it easier for them to apply their knowledge and understanding to the live assessment material.
Sometimes we are questioned about how effective student feedback will be and that surely it would be better if the feedback came from the individuals that the activity was designed for. If students can access a setting, then great: however, many centres can’t do this. As the students have been taught all the content in the specification for the unit, and will know the requirements of the assignment, peer feedback from taking part in the activity should be effective as students should understand the principle behind the planned activity.
We have been asked about feedback methods and how much feedback is enough. There is no one way to get feedback and the examples we have offered as suggestions are: asking questions, questionnaires, and witness testimony. Most students will be getting feedback from peers therefore it is important that these individuals are able to respond appropriately – they are being a critical friend. This is important as students must be able to access the full range of marks in the marking criteria and will use the feedback as part of their evaluation.
Spending some time with students to understand how to give and receive quality feedback is covered by Edutopia. Although an American website, it is no less valuable in explaining how to help students give feedback. Well worth a read.
As to how many people should give feedback: again, there isn’t a specific number, but it should be enough that it is beneficial to the student and helps to inform the evaluation of their activity.
Whichever unit you are teaching, supporting students as they progress through their assignments is important. We understand getting a balance between support and over-direction can be difficult, and we have had emails from teachers concerned about how much feedback to give.
If you are worried about over-direction, go to Teach Cambridge and complete the essentials training, and make sure you share with your students the student guide to the NEA assignments. Talk through this document with them to help them to understand how you can support them.
If students work in groups, or if the whole class works on the same type of creative activity, it could lead to some students not being fully involved or left out of the decision-making process. This will impact on the work they are able to produce.
Give your students a wide range of examples of individuals with different impairments or disabilities so that they can explore the impact that an impairment or disability might have on day-to-day life. BrightEars produces a range of dolls to encourage inclusivity and bring health issues to life: the dolls are designed as babies with a range of health issues such as cleft lip, visual impairments and insulin pumps. Not necessarily all relevant for the live assessment but a useful tool.
In a similar vein Springboard Supplies has a set of six figures of different age ranges and different disabilities. These could help to stimulate discussion around how creative and therapeutic activities could help.
Students are expected to demonstrate skills/personal qualities to encourage participation, and this is easier if they feel ownership of the creative activity. They will be enthusiastic for other students to enjoy participating and will want to know that it met the needs of the people it was designed for.
This goes back to my advice earlier in the blog – that students should be able to choose their own activity to meet the assignment. If they all design the same activity, then they will be competing against each other for the best feedback, and this isn’t something we would want students to do. Individual activities help to prevent this.
If you have any questions, you can email us at OCRHealthandSocialCare@ocr.org.uk, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Health. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Sarah joined OCR as a subject advisor in 2018. During her time with us she has supported centres with their queries, attended network meetings and contributed to the production of a number of resources. She has also been involved in the redevelopment of Cambridge Nationals in Health and Social Care and Child Development and is currently working as part of the team redeveloping Cambridge Technicals. Before joining OCR Sarah was a teacher of Health and Social Care and a moderator.