sharingYour Stories

Jon Reid

Senior Lecturer in Child Development and SEN/Inclusion

Oxford Brookes University

We were joined by Jonathan Bryan aka @eyecantalk for our #obuinc19 Inclusion conference in January 2019. This was our 6th Annual conference which aims to critically explore concepts of “Special Educational Needs”, “Disabilities” and “Inclusion”. We host the conference for our Undergraduate and Post Graduate Initial Teacher Education students and our Undergraduate Education Studies and Education Studies Special Educational Needs/ Disabilities and Inclusion (SENDI) students. The event always includes a wide variety of National advocates including academics, professionals, parents and young people.

After promoting the event on Social Media, I was contacted by @eyecantalk who expressed an interest in joining the event. Having recently read reviews of “A memoir of a child’s soul emerging”, I was excited about the opportunity for Jonathan to join us and respond by saying ‘great minds think alike’.

I had intended to explore the possibility of Jonathan joining us, but he beat me to it…

Jonathan and his mother, Chantal and I began communicating via Social Media and arranged a 1.5 hour slot on the programme. I was really pleased that Jonathan also offered to bring along copies of his book, with the promise of selling signed, stamped copies.

On the day, Jonathan, Chantal and Sarah (@TeachUsToo), joined us in our VIP area for lunch and book signings. At one point the queue for book signings stretched outside the room.

Jonathan’s session was supported by Chantal and Sarah and included an overview of Jonathan’s educational experiences. Throughout the session, the audience were encouraged to ask questions, which Jonathan, Chantal and Sarah responded to.

Student interest throughout the session was high and evaluations of the session were really positive. Throughout the session students were encouraged to reflect on their own experiences of teaching in recognition of Jonathan’s experiences as a learner. The session was highly engaging, challenged our students to critically consider concepts such as “Special Educational Needs”, “Disabilities” and “Inclusion” and provided powerful insights into supporting literacy.

The session encouraged deep discussion and reflection throughout and was a highlight of #obuinc19.

I very much look forward to meeting Jonathan, Chantal and Sarah again because I would very much like to arrange a return visit to Oxford Brookes University School of Education soon.