Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guest Blogger - Nelson Camp

Here's another one from my pal, Nelson. Today he has switched hats from dad to educator but he is just as compassionate, engaged and present with his students as he is with his family. As you'll see Nelson has a passion to see youth supported, nurtured and given the tools they need to succeed in life, he is committed to effecting change and seeing success measured in more meaningful ways.

Making a difference … one life at a time

“I hate myself… I hate my body”. “It makes me feel better when I bleed”. “I don’t want to do anything unless I’m high”. “I feel so alone… nobody even cares if I exist… I am so invisible”.

These are the things that I hear each and every day in my office. These are the teens that come to see me for help because they don’t know where else to go. These are the young people that have no one else to talk to that will accept them for who they are rather than judge them and give them a long-winded speech about who they should be. This is my day as a high-school counsellor.

I have seen so many of our youth struggling with emotional difficulties and challenges that they are not equipped to handle. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that schools do an outstanding job at focusing on inclusion and adapting teaching methods to the specific learning needs of our classrooms. However, there is also a deafening cry for help that goes unheard to address the emotional needs of our young people. The challenge? It is near impossible to quantitatively evaluate the success of therapeutic interventions with teens. How can you give someone a mark on how well they have learnt to manage their emotions? How can you test someone on their improved self-esteem? Society demands to see an A or 85% on report cards, rather than a comment related to “Student has learned positive techniques to handle anxiety”. No university or college will consider this a pre-requisite for admittance. The focus of schools is, and always has been, on the three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic.

I propose that we need to see a paradigm shift in education where greater importance is put on helping students learn life-skills and coping skills integrated within the curriculum of other subjects. How about a language arts class that studies short skits about real-life situations where students are faced with challenges of drug use, empathy, conflict resolution or managing emotions? How about a class where students are encouraged to discuss how Macbeth could have changed his behaviour to avoid the story ending in a tragedy? This does not at all eliminate the importance of studying the grammar and form of the language.

Although I am a counsellor, I long to see the day where there is less need for counsellors in schools, and “success” is based the evolution of the whole person, and not only on the academic achievements of students.

About the author:

Having worked in education for over 15 years, Nelson Camp has had the opportunity to help children from kindergarten to grade 12 as well as adults. He completed his Master’s degree in Education, specializing in Dramatherapy, while studying at the University of Regina, Universit√© Laval and the College universitaire de St Boniface. He is also the CEO of N-Gage Solutions, a company that publishes therapeutic skits and plays to help students learn positive and adaptive skills. These abilities can be taught and learnt through the safe and non-intrusive methods of drama and theater. For more information on resources and publications, please contact n-gagesolutions@live.caor visit the soon to be published website of (Coming September 2011)

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