If, as it seems, children have a ‘desire for more ‘real’ learning opportunities that (can) not be contained within the classroom,’ then it seems obvious for the classroom to be extended to the community – beyond the walls, where real life happens.
When I approached one of my daughter’s teachers about the real-life opportunities they’re given for ‘Catering’ GCSE I was astounded to discover that (apart from a token visit to a local cafe where they weren’t allowed in the kitchen!) it was ‘too difficult’ to arrange and ‘just wasn’t possible’. What a wasted opportunity!
So how difficult would it actually be?
Let’s imagine a Catering GCSE course that is extended beyond the walls…maybe start with a local chef (we have one who’s been on TV!) visiting them at school to demonstrate skills and inspire them – giving them something to aim for and leaving them with a challenge: create a 3 course meal (using elements they need to cover in the syllabus) that they can recreate in a set time in his kitchen for a special event (perhaps a meal for the local elderly lunch club). By looking beyond the walls, these young people would be inspired by someone who is not their teacher, given experience of working in a professional kitchen, encouraged to think outside themselves to what needs and tastes a different generation might have, learnt the skills necessary to produce the meal (as well as how to present it) and put a smile on a old ladies face!
For my daughter this exciting opportunity seems to be only a dream, a look beyond the walls, but does it have to stay this way?