Wider Learning at The Alice Smith School

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There is always an on-going debate in schools about the kinds of skills that young people need to acquire in order to function effectively in the 21st century. This necessarily explores the issue from a number of perspectives – competitiveness, innovation, well-being, social inclusion, basic skills and lifelong learning – each one of which has the potential to enrich every child’s individual thinking. There is no surprise therefore that the UK Government is actively promoting learning outside the classroom.

To encourage opportunity for wider learning or learning outside the classroom, Year 12 students at the Alice Smith School were recently given the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language to Myanmar refugees aged between 5 and 14. Before the children arrived, the Year 12 students received guidance and advice from their teachers on how to structure teaching methods to cater for foreign speakers, as well as how to keep young children attentive and interested. After forming smaller groups, lessons were planned.

“It was interesting to look at things from a different perspective – seeing a lesson through a teacher’s eyes. Spending the afternoon with the UNHCR kids was a fantastic opportunity, a great experience, and above all, so much fun. We loved watching the children grow more comfortable around us as they transformed from quiet and shy to open and confident. Overall, this was such a memorable day for everyone who took part. We’re both truly glad to be able to say that we were a part of this experience,” shares Asha Williams and Sally Rock.

It is opportunities like this that highlight the excellence of the Alice Smith School community. It was amazing to see what seemed like an insignificant effort beforehand, transform into such a successful and impactful day for all those involved. Students not only develop an interest in the wider environment and community, wider learning days like these also make learning more engaging and nurtures creativity; building the foundation for lifelong learning.

Source: The Expat November 2013

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