Childrens’ UniversityNational evaluation John MacBeath Joanne Waterhouse
Trends shaping education A new economic landscape Knowledge intensive service economies Widening divides between affluence and poverty populations on the move, new diversities Transformative technologies users create content Changing social connections and values complex configurations of home life (OECD, 2008)
UNICEF 2008 The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which are born (An Overview of Child Well Being in Rich Countries (2007 p. 3).
NESTED LIVES Children and young people live nested lives, so that when classrooms do not function as we want them to, we go to work on improving them. Those classrooms are in schools, so when we decide that those schools are not performing appropriately, we go to work on improving them, as well. But those young people are also situated in families, in neighbourhoods, in peer groups who shape attitudes and aspirations often more powerfully than their parents or teachers. (David Berliner, 2005)
The nesting of children’s learning The ‘family’ and neighbourhood context The social and economic context The national cultural context The global policy context The school context The OHSL contexts
Entre les murs ‘its naturalistic portrayal of the energy and high tension of the classroom’ the chaos, the challenges to, and idle assertions of authority, the clashes and power struggles, and, the tedium, a wholly absorbing microcosm of human interaction.
Push…….. • Social capital as the primary determinant of school success • The significant impact of the peer effect • The continued failure to close the achievement gap • The inherent limitations of schooling • The high stakes competitive environment
….and pull • The liberating effect of time, space and lack of pressure • Opportunities for self determination and self direction • Broadening contexts and opportunities for learning • The collegiality of relationships with supportive adults • The fulfillment and empowerment which come from experiencing success
Pupil Teacher/Tutor Parent
BEN’S STORY Creative Writing: ‘I really used to struggle with stories and my writing so I took a course in Creative Writing. The teacher gave us loads of different ideas for starting off, not just pictures but words and feelings…how to get going. I learnt loads and that. I won a prize for the most improved pupil in Literacy. That Creative Writing course definitely helped me.’ Glass Painting: ‘I’d never done that before, using the pens to outline the shape and the different coloured fillers. That helped me in Art when we were designing different symbols and in Geography when had to present our maps’. Clay Modelling: ‘I learnt how to use the modelling tools, how to hold them and get it to do what you wanted. When we did clay in class I was showing other people how to do it’.
Sarah The teacher The real value of CU for Sarah has been the opportunity over a number of years to meet different adults and to adapt to their different ways. There is a difficult transition period when Sarah meets a ‘new’ adult. It is ‘a testing time for Sarah’. But CU has enabled her to make these transitions and the experience of ‘coping and holding her own in different environments’ has enabled a smoother transition to secondary school. She has become a class councillor this year for the first time and had been a ‘bright little spark at meetings’ The parent Choice of activities within Bicester CU has been important for Sarah as each time she has been able to find something to enjoy, ‘a taster of new things’. Her involvement has led to a slow development of her confidence over the years. She now sees people in Bicester whom she has met at CU activities and is delighted that they know her and acknowledge her. Building these contacts across Bicester has been important for her confidence.
Teaching and learning in the wild Embedded in relationships Contextualised Learner-centred Concerned with skills and dispositions Supportive but challenging Enjoyable but risky Relaxed but alert Age blind
LEARNING INTHE UNFAMILIAR tasks/ problems unfamiliar novel problems in familiar contexts unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts familiar problems in familiar contexts familiar problems in novel contexts familiar contexts/situations
LEARNING INTHE UNFAMILIAR unfamiliar tasks/ problems novel problems in familiar contexts unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts familiar problems in familiar contexts familiar problems in novel contexts familiar contexts/situations
1. Perceptions and expectations How the CU is perceived by teachers, by parents, by community and public, by the media, and by politicians and policy makers politicians 2.Questions of purpose What is the primary purpose? Who tells the CU story? 3.The place of community What is the place of community? How are CU activities embedded within wider strategic policies? 4. Parents and families What initiatives may be taken, and can be built on, to inform and engage parents both at local and national level? 5. Provision What is the nature of opportunities to learn? How are children challenged to move beyond their comfort zone? 6. Maximising use of the inside and outside environment Who are the potential partners locally and what ‘construction sites’ may offer as yet unexplored opportunities for pupils’ and teachers’ learning?
7.Targeting Who is the CU for? 8. Direction, co-ordination and resourcing How do CU centres direct and co-ordinate their work? Where is the locus of decision-making? 9. Staffing Who staffs CU? How much rests on voluntarism and goodwill? 10. Curriculum and pedagogy What is the CU ‘Curriculum’? What is the nature of pedagogy? 11. Incentives and rewards What makes children want to sign up to the CU? What makes them come back for more? What are the attractions for their parents? 12. Capacity, growth and sustainability What will sustain the CU over the coming years? How are the pressures and obstacles addressed?
Success factors • Choice • Active participation • Extension and novelty • Outcome • Pride and confidence building • Recognition for achievement & positive reinforcement • Enjoyment in a challenging tasks and perseverance • Time and space • Adult relationships (vertical v horizontal) • The ‘feelgood’ factor • Inclusiveness
A weighting exercise • Choice • Active participation • Extension and novelty • Outcome • Pride and confidence building • Recognition for achievement & positive reinforcement • Enjoyment in a challenging tasks and perseverance • Time and space • Adult relationships (vertical v horizontal) • The ‘feelgood’ factor • Inclusiveness
4 questions • 5 key things you offer in your ‘curriculum’ • What percentage of time is allocated to your CU role? • What percentage of time is given to your CU role • What would you like to see highlighted in the next evaluation?