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Diario de Navarra
Associate Professor of Education Special and Hospital Pedagogy
The International Day of the Hospitalized Child, celebrated on May 13, is an important date to focus on these patients and to promote actions from Education to improve their quality of life and that of their families. The date was chosen to commemorate the approval of the European Charter of the Rights of Hospitalized Children in 1986, which recognizes, among many others, the right of children to have access to educational and recreational activities. In Spain, this day also coincides with the celebration of Pedagogy Day, so talking about hospital pedagogy has a double meaning.
Hospital pedagogy is supported by the universal right to Education and is mainly contextualized in hospital classrooms. This is a service educational made available to children and young people admitted to hospital so that they can continue with their development staff and academic studies during their stay in hospital. These classrooms are currently staffed by professionals from Education who work in an interdisciplinary manner with staff health care. They are a basic pillar of the humanization of hospitals. In them a global pedagogy is carried out, which breaks the rigidity of curriculum by focusing on the here and now of the child, thus moving from educating for life to educating in life.
Hospital pedagogy has much to do with illness and life, without renouncing school learning, it goes much further. It is a benchmark of the inclusive and personalized Education , whose scope of action also reaches the educational home care service.
Hospitalized children need to continue their learning, which is a familiar activity within the insecurity of a hospital and highlights the healthy part of their lives during hospitalization. Schoolwork helps to provide a message of recovery. There is no doubt that carrying out playful and educational activities provides them with well-being and confidence. Educational programs should aim at adjusting to the disease and avoiding emotional and behavioral alterations, reducing fear and anxiety in the medical environment.
And how can the hospital pedagogy professional manage this? There are two basic aspects: a good management of the methodology professor together with the interprofessional partnership and exchange of experiences. Along with this, large doses of sensitivity, flexibility, exigency, listening, initiative and strength of spirit are required, all of this together, obviously, with an adequate and continuous training.
Hospital classrooms are a model of organizational and methodological innovation thanks to the widespread application of active methodologies such as project-based learning (PBL), which increase motivation to learn and favor the management of emotions. In them the real center is the learner with his or her own characteristics, state of mind, family status , pain or evolution of the disease.
Another nuclear aspect is the partnership with the teachers of the schools where these students are enrolled, in order to achieve the connection between both contexts and facilitate their subsequent reincorporation. The hospital pedagogy professional has to prepare programs adapted to each student student, follow up their schooling and establish a relationship with the students' home high school while they are in hospital. It is necessary to highlight here the invaluable financial aid that telematic media and information and communication technologies can provide as pedagogical tools. The use of educational technology in hospital pedagogy is especially important, as it allows children to access online educational resources, communicate with their teachers and peers at class, and continue to advance their learning while hospitalized.
Within the line of partnership with health professionals, the teacher of the hospital classroom must inform in a timely manner to the staff doctor about the characteristics of his student and the family dynamics since it becomes a decisive element for the affective, social and educational adjustment of the sick child.
Another point worth mentioning is the role played by associations in the evolution of hospital pedagogy, in particular the two major associations: HOPE in Europe and REDLACEH in Latin America. There is no doubt that they have been a catalyst for promote the exchange of experiences among the Education professionals involved.
Finally, in helping hospitalized students, it is especially important to attend to the family as well. Because it is they who assume most of the responsibility for the care of a child's illness, they should have support focused on management of the lifestyle changes that come with illness and hospitalization, in order to increase their coping skills.