Admitting you don’t understand…
I’ve also had to contact my university tutor recently. I couldn’t do the assignment that we had been set. There are about 400 of us on the course, and the others were having difficulty, too, so it wasn’t me…except it turned out it was. I was really reluctant to admit to my tutor that I didn’t really know what I had to do. I was tempted to hand in a blank document and plead innocence! After three days of staring at a blank page, I got the Ofsted call, and I have never been more grateful to them for an excuse to shut the program down, contact the tutor, ask for an extension and in the process, have to formally request a tutorial.
I wish I’d asked the tutor earlier. Turns out it wasn’t that I didn’t understand the question, but that I was looking for there to be more than was needed. For some reason, I felt that the response I had was too simplistic. This a typical case of Occam’s Razor. In my defence, it’s a master’s degree qualification; I wasn’t expecting to cite something I’d expect 14-year-olds to have written.
Sometimes, we just can’t see the wood for the trees.
Turns out I was looking for something that wasn’t there. With a reference back to an old TV series, House, I think that as SENCOs, we are guilty of playing the “House” of Education. The obvious answer isn’t always the one we need or want, and we get so absorbed into hunting for the anomalies or the zebras that when the glaringly obvious answer is staring at us, we just don’t see it.
When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.
It doesn’t mean we should always settle on the first solution. We’ve all had students present with literacy difficulties and hit all the criteria for dyslexia, but your gut feeling tells you there is something more. Fortunately, in the world of SEN, it’s about meeting the manifesting needs and rarely does someone’s life or treatment/medication rely on us finding the zebra too.