Tuesday, 28 August 2012

An Individualised Approach

When i started my nurse training almost 20 years ago now, we were introduced to the concept of caring for our patients as individuals and so to provide them with 'individualised' care.  This was a time when nurses in the UK were beginning to think of themselves more as professionals and there was a real desire to move away from the old fashioned 'task-based' style of nursing.  This was when nurses would go from bed to bed to change dressings one after another or to attend to each patients hygiene needs around the same time, and in some cases to 'toilet' patients at the same time!

Every person is indeed an individual and so every patient is an individual with their own unique physical needs, psychological needs, social needs, spiritual needs, fears, thoughts and expectations.  Nursing models such as Roper, Logan & Tierney gave nurses a platform to be able to provide such individualised care.  Their 'activities of living' model is based on the idea that everyone performs 12 key functions on a daily basis, such as breathing, mobilising, and maintaining a safe environment in order to live.  This model allows nurses to assess each function in turn, from which a very personalised plan of care based on a patients individual needs is designed in order to get the best results.

This is a professional approach which has never left me.  When i started teaching English 5 years ago, i quickly realised that teaching large groups in the classroom was quite similar to the 'task-based' style.  A kind of 'factory production line' style of teaching English.  This makes it difficult to give each student quality time and attention to focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses in order to construct a more accurate 'learning plan' by which they can gain confidence and ultimately improve their English skills faster.  This was when i began to develop my own 'real English' philosophy.  Not all students want to learn grammar, whilst some want lots of grammar exercises. Some students only want to talk for the whole lesson and to be frequently corrected when necessary. Some students actually need personalised worksheets and other learning materials designed especially for them. Some students don't want to sit in the artificial environment of a classroom talking about subjects such as how to survive in the jungle with 14 other people, but would much rather meet in a cafe or at home, or via the internet for a one-to-one chat about politics over a nice cup of tea.

For me confidence is vital for anyone who wants to learn another language, so when my students sit with the knowledge that each lesson has been designed based on their needs, they always feel more comfortable and ultimately more confident and improvement always happens much faster.

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