Learning outside the classroom ~ sharing ideas and frameworks

The Learning Outside the Classroom [LOtC] liaison group, made up of advisers and representatives from other organisations, agreed to meet over the course of the year, 2009/10.  Over that time, the members of the group explored the potential of the LOtC agenda and challenged each other ~ to be creative, to work in partnership and to develop frameworks to support thinking.

The value of bringing together these people, as evidenced below, has brought about a desire by those involved to continue the group beyond its one year lifetime and to forge links with the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom [www.lotc.org.uk].

The articles below share some of the discussions from the group and offer frameworks for exploring a range of issues. Further thoughts from the group will be shared on these pages over the coming months.

Working across sectors, ~ Jack Shuttleworth, The Herbert Museum, Coventry
This article explores the value and the challenges of bringing together representatives from different sectors.

The Tetrahedron ~ Connecting LOtC with other themes ~ Becky Link, Tide~ global learning
Offers a framework for exploring the connections between potentially competing themes.

Engaging with Schools ~ Deborah Hull, The Play House, Birmingham
Explores the issues and the opportunities for providers when working with schools.

LOtC and frameworks for deeper learning ~ Jon Cree, Bishop’s Wood Centre, Worcestershire
Shares frameworks for critical thinking and ‘deep’ learning experiences that can be used in a variety of settings.

The value of the liaison group model

The 24 members of the group met three times over the course of the year to explore the complementarity between global learning and LOtC.

Positive outcomes for joining the group were identified as:

  • Experiencing a range of perspectives;
  • Sharing the knowledge of members with particular expertise, which enables members to access up-to-date information that would be difficult to come by outside the group;
  • Making mental connections to the work of people in other sectors, opening up new possibilities for activity including partnerships;
  • Taking thinking about the role of LOtC and global learning further and developing models of learning together.

These benefits and successes were realised because ~

  • The group is made up of people who are willing to challenge their own thinking.  It is not merely a place for an update on the work of each sector.
  • It is formed of people who have strategic role in their sector and can share insights with and from their own networks.
  • It has had a set ‘lifetime’ and purpose to work towards [eg the writing of this article].
  • It has a particular focus [global learning] but is also able to explore other issues of relevance to the members such as the Quality Badge.
  • It is supported by a structure including a chairperson and someone in an organisational role.
  • It has enabled people who have never met before to explore common ground.
  • It has formed some conclusions which the group are now ready to share.

The future

The group has proved valuable and recognises the supporting role Tide~ has had in co-ordinating the meetings, providing the secretariat and the venue. It has moved the debate forward, particularly regarding learning models on LOtC and global learning. The group plan to continue meeting and discuss future directions, including working in partnership with the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

Liaison Group Members

  • Jennifer Bone, Strategic Commissioning Project Officer, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council 
  • Jon Cree [Chair] Bishops Wood Centre, Worcestershire 
  • Cathryn Gathercole, Tide~ global learning
  • Bill Graham, Head of Education, Farming and Countryside Education 
  • Sarah Griffiths, Museums Education Officer, Shropshire Museums Service 
  • Deborah Hull, Artistic and Educational Director, The Play House 
  • Julia Kingston, Education Manager, Thinktank 
  • Phil Leivers, School Improvement Adviser, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 
  • Sue Leslie, Birmingham City Council Outdoor Learning Service 
  • Becky Link, Tide~ global learning 
  • Rebecca Neal, Life-long Learning Officer, RSPB 
  • Susannah Podmore, Forest Education Initiative 
  • Moira Race, Visits Administrator, Garden Organic 
  • John Rhymer, Bishops Wood Centre, Worcestershire 
  • Mark Riley, Creative~States 
  • Sian Roberts, Head of Archives, Birmingham City Archives 
  • Kate Russell, Adviser, Staffordshire County Council 
  • Guy de Sathmary, Dudley Environment Zone 
  • Jerry Seymour, Adviser, Shropshire County Council 
  • Sue Shanks, Wolverhampton Natural Curriculum Project 
  • Jack Shuttleworth, Community Events and Exhibitions Officer, The Herbert, Coventry 
  • Andrew Simons, Education Consultant 
  • Gillian Twaite, Artistic Director, Open Stage Productions 
  • Rachel Wheeler, Youth and Education Officer, RSPB 
  • Lynne Wyness, University of Exeter