4. Social Value
“I’m most proud of the way in which Unit Radio has boosted the self esteem of the children involved, when this was often lacking before. We have changed the way they see and feel about themselves.” Giles Whitehead, project leader
The use of radio has had a significant impact on students’ self-confidence. Where some pupils might previously have felt that others saw them as eccentric or odd, they now have people who are respected within the community, and other pupils in the school, commenting positively on their work - validating and celebrating their difference instead of showing it to be something negative.
Unit Radio encourages self-confidence by making the most of its students’ talents. Some of the pupils who are introverted and find it difficult to engage really come alive and ‘become’ the characters they play. However one of the students, Zach, is very shy and doesn’t want to be on the radio, but has an excellent sense of humour. He writes plays that are recorded by the other students, increasing his confidence and giving him something to be very proud of.
“By the time Zach had listened to his play seven or eight times I think it would be fair to say he enjoyed it. More impressive was the way he insisted on sharing it with others and, for the first time that I can recall, expressed pride in something he had done. I have had to reprint a number of your posters for him to distribute. This was quite a unique experience, as ordinarily he fiercely avoids praise or recognition. I seem to recall that your objective was to boost his self esteem – you were certainly more successful than I dared to expect.” Mr Ray French (parent)
The students enjoy being involved in Unit Radio and this in turn has a positive impact on how they feel about coming to school. There may not be any measurable impact on improved GCSE results, but these are children who can get upset by just the sight of a pen and paper. Unit Radio is concerned with the child as a whole and their pride, self-esteem and confidence are all of great importance.
“Unit Radio has made the students feel like stars. Our students are sometimes viewed as not as bright as those in the mainstream school, but we have some amazing talents and the productions show that they’re incredibly bright. Students in the main school and The Tydeman Centre also listen to the broadcasts and establishing a greater connection here has given our students a real status.” Giles Whitehead, project leader
Declan was very shy when he first joined Unit Radio. He is now not only a leading light in the productions, but also takes on the role of a leader within the club. His comprehension and understanding have improved considerably through his involvement, as have his social skills. In March 2010 he compered the live Stardusters show, something that he would never previously have had the confidence to do.
“Since Declan joined the Unit Radio club two years ago, we have seen a dramatic change in his personal development. From the once quiet and solitary character, who found it hard to express and communicate with others, Declan has developed into a confident and outgoing individual, who is always bursting with new creativity for the next world premiere!” Debra and Kevin Mills (Declan’s parents)
"We cannot praise Mr Whitehead enough for all his hard work and dedication in making this lunch time club Unit Radio happen, and feel that something like Unit Radio would be highly beneficial to other children with special needs in other schools.” Debra and Kevin Mills (Declan’s parents)
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