Report: Learning Futures – ‘Engaging Schools: Principles and Practices’

Read the latest report from Learning Futures – ‘Engaging Schools: Principles and Practices’
November 3, 2010

Learning Futures has just published its latest report, Engaging Schools: Principles and Practices.
Drawing on two years of work with over forty schools, ‘Engaging Schools’ takes Learning Futures’ focus on student engagement a step further, looking at what happens when we stop asking ‘how do we get our students to engage?’ and start asking ‘How do we engage – not just with our students, but with parents, the wider community, universities, and other schools around the world?’The results have been inspiring: secondary school students have been leading a climbing expedition (p. 15), studying the effect of CCTV on young people in a shopping mall (p. 17), successfully lobbying the local council for funds to refurbish a youth club (p. 32), and carrying out research that is now being used by the UK Olympic sailing team (p. 18). These projects, which used the school as a ‘base camp’ for the students’ far-flung enquiries, were all initiated by the students themselves.
Students have also been changing the way that learning takes place within their schools by teaching each other (p. 22), designing their own courses (p. 28), and interviewing teachers and learners from around the world about the most powerful models for teaching and learning (p. 30).
The key finding of this report is that young people want to be more involved with their schools, not less – but that they want to do so as partners in learning, not as consumers of learning.
Based on the wealth of evidence gathered from these projects, ‘Engaging Schools’ presents a radical new vision for school as a ‘learning commons’, connected to the community, fuelled by enquiry, and driven by a sense of shared purpose.
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