Youth work and learning for life and work is a two year long UK project with YMCA George Williams Company and Manor Education and Training Solutions Ltd. This project currently approaching the end of its first year, funded by Key Action 2 within the Erasmus+ programme.
Since the commencement of the project partners have been involved in scoping a strategy for the delivery of the youth work (non-formal) educational curriculum. This has involved:
• Orientation meetings with management and staff
• Review of teaching and learning aims and processes
• Mapping subject areas to accreditation documentation
• Observation and analysis of current provision
• Training seminars looking at developing recording and assessment tools/methodologies as well as refining approaches to learners
• A residential group strategic planning conference
• Pilot teaching sessions, testing and assessing non-formal delivery
At a general strategic level we have committed to building the potential to develop critical consciousness among staff, so that the delivery of education services can be consistently made relevant.
This will involve on-going review of practice via non-managerial supervision. We understand that this will help generate collective action because:
• Learners can develop their own language to describe their reality, producing terms and definitions that reflect their values.
• Shared personal experiences enable groups to analyse patterns and identify collective experiences.
• The role of the educational provider and the extent of its authority in shaping collective experiences becomes more obvious.
We have laid the ground for developmental workshops in London in May 2018 that will involve delivery of practices, which will be observed and recorded to facilitate individual, group review, analysis and exploration.
Making sessional plans (that are reviewable and so malleable) and mapping the same to accredited programmes has been an exacting but creative process. It has raised staff consciousness about the nature of teaching and learning, broadening their dimensional understanding of educational practice.
Much of initial work has been related to generating a ‘bigger picture’, understanding of how an issue impacts the entire context of youth work and education in the partner countries. Our endeavours have helped strengthen relationships between staff, management and learners and the consciousness of the need to implement innovative and reviewable practices.
A consistent challenge has been the mobilizing of staff and convincing people of the value of joining others to work together, overcoming understandable and predictable insecurity in relation to and resistance against the expectation change. Key to this is generating skills and confidence in non-formal responses to sometimes complex learning needs.
However, it is clear that the non-formal curriculum provides useful tools, scaling up from the individual lived experience to building a shared analysis about collective challenges. The making of learning environments with learners (learning from learners) has involved the piecing together of collective experiences, discovering patterns, and arriving at a collective understanding of the root motivations and incentives for learning.
Overall, while a good deal of our time has been involved with foundation laying, while achieving a joint grasp on tasks and how these might be carried though, we have also done practical, on-the-ground work, that has included experimental sessions with ‘real-time’ learners. The partners have experienced a considerable learning curve, certainly in relation to awareness of the parameters of context, but also how learning approaches can be informed by cross cultural/contextual interaction and exchange.
For more details contact Brian Belton.