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A View From the Bridge: Jude Bird

Dimensions of Cultural Education

Good partnership working is a joy!

On 1st February we delivered a full day programme of cultural education to the secondary cohort of Initial Teacher Education students at Chester University.

The day had been planned with Una Meehan, Course Leader and Nick Ponsillo, Director of the recently opened Philip Barker Centre for Creative Learning based within the University. Working with co-professionals on a joint venture to deliver this work which we all believe in and to which we are equally committed, is a real pleasure.

It feels really important to involve education and cultural professionals in this work in order to animate ideas and experiences and offer authentic and experiential learning to students at this developmental stage in their career.

It is very powerful for students to hear from the Head of a secondary school who tells it like it is, pulls no punches about what lies ahead in their chosen career and refer to it as “the best job in the world”….”because you don’t teach history or geography or maths – you teach children, and to hear him attest to the value of culture and creativity in the school environment.

The Heath School Runcorn - 12 May 2016 -198

Two of our Specialist Leader in Cultural Education (SLiCE) fellows presented wonderful examples of Participatory Action Research in school settings. Having education professionals discuss their ‘teacher as researcher’ role modelled the valuable learning that emerges from our programmes. Disseminating this knowledge and learning to early career educators evidenced ways in which Pupil Premium pupils have derived academic benefits along with the development of Character Quality Characteristics through cultural education interventions.

Offering practice based sessions to students that were affiliated to subject areas – Heritage with History and Geography, Dramatic Enquiry with Drama and English, Capoeira with P.E to name but a few, invited students to cross subject boundaries, for example some mathematicians attended Drawing as Thinking and we ended up discussing the links between music and maths.  The afternoon gave ways in to exploring a range of dimensions of cultural learning and how these could be applied to any subject area.

For me the most important of all the Quality Principles is authenticity. Through our programmes we offer authentic learning experiences and this day transmitted that authenticity directly to those who will be the future teachers and leaders in the education sector. I’d like to say job done though for the students the job is only just beginning. I trust we have helped them on their way.

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