Tuesday 27 March 2012
Staff and students from the Faculty of Education’s Early Years & Childhood Studies degree have been pioneering innovative assessment techniques by hosting a Community Cohesion activity day at Didsbury attended by children from two local primary schools.
60 children aged between 10 and 11 years old from Northenden Primary and St Philip's CE Primary in Hulme, participated in interactive activities, led by teams of 50 second year students who were observed by teaching staff. They looked at aspects of citizenship, such as Rights and Responsibilities and Needs of the Community which, when explored, could have a positive impact on their environment. In a case study discussion children used drama to re-enact road safety scenarios, filming each other on their own cameras in order to then view and comment.
Another topical activity entitled ‘Government', asked children to think of the politics they would create and why and how they would finance these. In the final ‘Aspirations/Skills Supermarket' session, children were asked to think about which jobs need which type of skills then to consider their own skills in relation to their aspirations.
Senior Lecturer Alex Melrose said, "We wanted to push assessment in a new direction, enabling our students to play to their strengths using similar skills to those they will ultimately need in employment. The day was also about community outreach and raising aspirations. Judging by the feedback we’ve received from St Philip's we seem to have hit the mark - apparently the children were ‘buzzing' on the way home, with many stating their desire to go to university and wanting to know when they could come back. Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Lenny Lewis, has thanked us for providing an ‘inspirational and aspirational’ experience".
Alex's colleague, James Dobson, also a Senior Lecturer in Early Years & Childhood Studies, added "The response has been extremely positive from all involved - there may even be scope to include this experience as an ongoing piece of assessment and as a potential window into exploring how children exercise their rights and citizenship".