Impact on Learning
I was asked yesterday, not unreasonably, ‘what impact do you have on young people in the area?’ I mentioned the number of pupils who come here (nearly 3000 now since September) and the number of obvious hits from home engaging parents that occur after each of our events. What I was unable to do was explain the direct impact on pupil progress or attitude to learning. In fact, very few people can. There is a lot of research suggesting that including creativity, authentic challenges, teamwork based learning, and employer engagement has a huge impact long term on pupil outcomes…..but I cannot hand on heart say that a child who is here today will be better off in their future life. The statistics suggest their day here will have that effect but proving that in numbers will take 20 years and involve so many variables as to be unreliable.
So what do we do here? Why bother putting in the huge time and effort with so many thousands of children every year? Well I wish you were here in the room with us today animating with Y1 and Y2 children from Oakdene and Newcomen. The buzz of activity, of excited teams all vying to get their film created in the short time they now have is palpable. As I type I have had to ask several children if they could give me a few moments to finish this while they continue with their animation. All they want to do is [roudly explain what they story is and how they will make it. They are so engaged in their learning it is a joy to watch. One of the teachers yesterday told me that it was days like this that ‘re-energise the children’s attitude to learning, and the teacher’s too’. In fact they are taking it in turns at their school to accompany the groups of children who come here in multiples of ten. Actually, that is how these sessions were originally conceived of. Teaching teachers how to use different approaches to learning in a creative and ‘off curriculum’ way. We have such large waiting lists, such fully booked days that clearly the demand is huge. And look at the pictures below. Positive attitudes to learning, resilience (they have failed and learned to succeed multiple times today), effective listening, working to a plan and all those other tacit team skills are part and parcel of what these children have been doing….explicitly because we constantly remind them about it all day long. The work they have produced is stunning; from a standing start of moving a letter across a table to creating short narratives with fixed backgrounds, a clear plan and even appropriately timed speech bubbles. They have risen to the challenge. They should be massively proud of themselves. I am proud to have had that impact on them.