Learning from others

learn-300x225The moment we’re born, we are learning  – to walk and talk, eat and sleep. We don’t learn this in isolation, but by learning from others. We observe, listen, copy, fail and try again until we get it right. As we grow we do the same, learning from others around us, those who know how, who do it everyday or are just having a go themselves.

As educators we have boxed this concept. Continue reading

Beyond the walls

cutting-veggies

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?

Schools in Context

School in town

A few weeks ago I emailed my tutor an initial proposal for my upcoming dissertation. It went something like this:

‘This dissertation will consider whether greater school-community integration increases the empowerment and development of disadvantaged children in schools…’ Continue reading