The workshop opened with an introduction detailing the work and outcomes of the Leadership of Learning group. This generated discussion in small groups around what participants felt were the issues for leadership of Quality Global Learning. Using a ‘post it’ exercise, they added their thoughts to those developed by the Leadership of Learning Group. The Leadership of Learning group had identified eight issues. These were:
A wide number of issues were added by the group. Many comments were made around the areas of values, vision, ethos, motivation and passion. Participants also recognised issues in the process of change, challenging the status quo and the current construction of a subject based curriculum that leads to ‘silo’ thinking. Additionally they identified issues around the time for thinking, creativity, the need for discussion, and open and honest communication.
The group moved on to look at what might hinder or help the process of achieving Quality Global Learning. Within the things that might help, the process of change was a common thread, as was the need for clarity of understanding, a positive commitment from leaders in the Government, Local Authority, and schools and a desire to do things differently.
In particular they identified a number of things which would have a high impact if they were undertaken, and which they thought were possible. In particular they identified the passion of vision and the empowerment of teaching staff. They also indicated a need to emphasise learning, change the way the current curriculum is delivered and the restrictions of a prescriptive National curriculum. The culture of the school, the acceptance that we are all learners, the need to take risks and to learn from our failures were all suggested to be of high impact.
Passion of vision.
We are empowered to do so – right conditions.
We accept that we are learners too.
We see the point and students see the point. The Nat. Curr. is not so prescriptive.
There is more emphasis on learning.
We abolish the artificial divisions that form the curriculum and make global learning the centre of the wheel from which all else radiates.
The culture and ethos in the school is one of risk taking.
We learn from our failures – open, honest action plan.
There were no surprises about the suggestions for things that would hinder Quality Global Learning. They felt the current emphasis on examination success, OFSTED, and the relentlessness of the ‘day to day’ role drains the enthusiasm and confidence of teachers and leaders to change their ways of working and embrace the agenda. They also identified a lack of understanding about Quality Global Learning and its role in the development of learners.
The workshop group then undertook an exercise where by they wrote thirty second ‘elevator pitches’. They wrote a reasoned argument to deliver (in thirty seconds) to school leaders about Quality Global Learning, and why it should be in all schools. The elevator pitches covered a wide variety of argument, ranging from joint responsibility for the future of the planet, to evidence and impact for OFSTED. They looked at the relevance of 21st century learning and the current curriculum provisions.
Nine of the elevator pitches, a small selection of those that were written, are featured here.
We are part of the web of life on planet earth. Our actions impact on others we haven’t met, or who haven’t been born yet. We need to ensure the learners of the 21st C are aware of their joint responsibility of this planet. All learning – staff and pupils is "global". The quality global learning agenda reminds us of collaboration, inclusivity, and celebrating diversity. The historic grammar school curriculum boxes need revisiting to ensure the curriculum of today best meets the needs of the citizens of tomorrow.
It will build understanding and confidence in the true value of learning and motivate your school to identify and work from their strengths whilst finding and supporting new creativity to tackle the challenges. Liberate the notion of education and abolish the notion of failure.
HT will have evidence and impact for their SEF. Quality CPD for teachers that will have a real impact on their attitudes and professionalism (International project, Comenius, British Council etc) You will be fulfilling the excellence and enjoyment. You will engage pupils at a greater level by making the curriculum more meaningful to them.
Global learning encourages enthusiasm, passion, vision, and excitement for all learners regardless of curriculum area, gender, race, culture. It will open eyes and minds to question, reflect and evaluate life on this planet.
Life is not divided into boxes. It doesn’t change every hour when the bell rings. Lives do not have convenient headings, separate from each other and unconnected. Lives are much more complex, dynamic and full of experience than that. So why do we divide up the school day in arbitrary ways to suit organisational goals that do not fit the needs of the children we are supposed to be preparing as citizens of a complex, dynamic and interconnected world? Aren’t we doing them, our communities and the world a grave disservice?
Young people learn best when they are involved with an issue about which they feel passionate. Much of the traditional curriculum is outdated, boring and "done to" young people. We need a curriculum which is going to engage our young people, result in real learning and develop responsible global citizens who will play a part in ensuring the global community has a future. Thus we need global learning to be at the heart of our schools.
Young people have to be engaged and interested if they are to learn and achieve (and attend well). What are the big challenges and issues facing this generation of learners? Global security, global climate change, globalisation of culture, global interdependence. Are these reflected in your schools vision for learning/ vision statement? "If we are serious about bringing learning to life, we must set it within a global context" – QCA Secondary curriculum review 2007. What type of curriculum organisation and structure would we need to make learning relevant to the 21stC?
There is no such thing as learning, there is only global learning. The curriculum must be relevant to the 21stC. Relevant learning will increase student involvement and relevance will make it real learning and increase student understanding. It helps prepare students for the world they will inhabit. Greater knowledge and understanding will reduce negative attitudes to others. We are all in this together so we need to work together in a way which will help develop global solutions to global problems.
The future of good world relations now and in the longer term future depends upon everyone getting on well together. We have the power now to avoid war and conflict. Our children are tomorrow’s leaders.
The thinking from this workshop will be carried forward along with the work of the Leadership of Learning Group to the next phase of the project, taking the learning into schools.