EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING CROSS-CURRICULAR EDUCATIONAL VISITS LIVING HISTORY HISTORY TEACHING WORKING WITH INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN CREATIVE CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENTS CREATIVE ARTS EXPERIENCES
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I can work with your school to develop your approach to experiential learning. This can be at a leadership and strategic level, as well as with individual teachers or groups of teachers to develop classroom practice.
Experiential learning should be at the heart of any primary school methodology. The mechanics change and develop and become more sophisticated as the children grow; but the theory remains the same: give children an experience and they will have something to write about, talk about and it will cement their learning. Simply tell them something and they will soon forget it.
So this approach encompasses all learning styles and everything from using maths equipment for counting and introducing a new concept, to visiting galleries and museums. The majority of
lessons should have a practical, experiential or collaborative element and outcomes do not always need to be written but could be a dance, film, or collaborative piece of art.
If children are actively involved and are excited about learning, standards improve.
I can work with your school to develop a meaningful cross-curricular approach by running staff meetings, workshops, conferences or working alongside teachers when planning or in the classroom.
I believe that teaching in a cross-curricular way helps children to make vital links which cements and extends their learning. Links must be natural and not forced and it is vital to the success of this type of teaching that teachers are knowledgable about subject skills and the knowledge they aim to develop. In doing so, topic or project work is underpinned by a clear structure and clarified thinking. Open-ended and high level thinking opens up the world of the child. It allows for in depth study and extended pieces of work as well as collaborative learning and a range of creative outcomes.
Teaching in a way which supports real cross-curricular education requires skill and commitment from teachers as well as a thorough knowledge of subject areas. Good project work enhances learning and supports children to reach high standards - often beyond what would ordinarily be expected, and children make connections across subject areas which enhance learning rather than fragment it.
I have been passionate about children taking part in Educational Visits my entire career. I do not see these as an "add-on", or an end of year or topic treat, but as an essential part of how children learn and develop.
I can advise your school and staff on a programme of visits to enhance the curriculum, guide teachers through planning, recommend activities which would be useful on visitsand advise on the follow-up work.
I can also advise on safety issues and risk assessments, and can accompany classes on visits.
I am an advocate of starting visits in the nursery with, for example, a walk to the local shop to see where our food comes from, to residential experiences for KS2 pupils at home and abroad. These visits should be developmental in scope, design, demands on the children, outcomes and length. Planning the content, learning, skills development and activities is a skilled job and requires forward thinking. Visits should be an integral part of any curriculum and should move on the learning, not merely repeat it. Follow up work back in the classroom should be carefully planned and differentiated.
The social and emotional development of children on visits (particularly residential visits) is not to be underestimated and should be factored into planning. I believe in teachers being responsible for their children's learning and not handing over the organisation of trips to outside bodies, although the influence and expertise of other adults can be invaluable, provided they are used appropriately.
I have been organising Living History experiences for children for around 20 years. These range from an Egyptian market day in school, when children research characters from Ancient Egypt and receive visitors who tour their market and take part in an Egyptian feast; to 5 days living as a Tudor in a Tudor barn, eating from wooden platters and wearing Tudor gowns.
I believe these experiences enhance children's learning and provide memorable experiences. Living History encompasses all I feel about experiential learning and about school residential visits.
The experiences should be rooted in the development of skills as well as knowledge.
I can organise Living History INSET and residentisl conferences for your staff and can advise you on the development of Living History experiences for children. I can work alongside your teachers as they introduce Living History into their class work and accompany schools on residential experiences.
History teaching should be dynamic and mindful of the development of history skills as well as knowledge. Ofsted have concerns that much history teaching is actually English teaching. History is a great vehicle for the teaching of research skills and English but historical skills must not be neglected and must be central to the lessons.
Children can get very excited about history and for me the key is educational visits, hands-on learning and living history, as well as considering creative outcomes from the learning.
I believe that cross-curricular links are vital in bringing history to life for young children.
I can support your school and individual teachers in the development of a dynamic approach to teaching history and work alongside teachers in class to develop their work as well as planning.
Working With Individual Children
Creative Classroom Environments
Classrooms can be fabulous, inspiring places or deadly dull. I know of schools where no children's work is on display in classrooms and I ask myself what message that gives to young minds? If we want children to be excited by learning, then they need to be stimulated by the environment in which they learn. Display is important but we can go a step further and create a place where
children want to be and where there are new exciting things to explore. As a head teacher I
encouraged my teachers to change the classroom every term to stimulate interest in the topic
I advise schools and individual teachers on creating engaging and inspiring classroom and school environments. My starting point being what message does the classroom/school give now and what message do you want it to give?
Creative Arts Experiences
Stuart Swann (music), Alison Swann (dance), and myself (art), we form the team running Creative Arts residential Weeks for children in Years 4-9. These are residential experiences for children during school holidays which take a theme and work towards a shared outcome. No experience of any of the art forms is needed, just lots of enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. In August 2014 we worked to a theme of David Hockney. Children created a dance taking Hockney's portrait of his parents as a staring point. They composed the music to accompany their dance and painted a backdrop based on the Hockney iPad landscapes to provide the staging.
Click HERE to find out more, including dates of upcoming courses.