A New Direction are an independent charity working with London’s schools and young people to develop creative approaches to teaching and learning, build aspirations and skills, and connect young people to their city and the opportunities around them. We were approached, along with an artist and a musician, to work with a school in Southhall, to each lead a strand of 1 project. The term long project would creatively enhance the learning of students in year 7. The project was to be recorded in a manner that it could be used or replicated by other teachers in the school and over subsequent terms.
In consultation with the History and Design & Technology teachers, we created a story based programme to run over 10 weeks that would help the students explore the theme of the medieval village. Individually and in groups, the students researched and created stories about different characters and their day to day life within the village. Their stories were supported by objects, which were researched and then made, and their learning was collated into a book. All lesson plans, exercises and feedback from each of the sessions were written up as a blog on a website that would allow the school to make use of the project beyond our involvement.
Students became more confident in their willingness to speak and express their knowledge and opinions and developed their skills to write and tell stories with good use of creative and descriptive language. We were particularly proud of the efforts made by students who were just starting to learn English. We created a more relaxed informal atmosphere than is usually experienced by the children; to be without their usual structure or boundaries was a challenge to some of the students. However by the last session they had understood the value of taking responsibility in doing something well and being proud of that effort.