Learning beyond the classroom
Roger Schultz explains the concept of ‘wider learning’ at the Alice Smith School and why it is so important.
Wider Learning provides an opportunity for enquiry based activities and experiences outside the classroom in a way that is an integral part of the long term curriculum and pastoral plan. It is closely linked to classroom activities and improving student’s personal, social and emotional development while, at the same time, doing so in a way that does not detract from classroom activities. In essence, the school’s formal curriculum is abandoned for each wider learning day and this allows us to bring together many enriching activities that already happen in the school’s broader curriculum, such as the Y9 DT and Physics day, Year 5 Science Day, Poet visits, Geography field trips, GLUE Days, Career days and many more into a single day in each half term. By taking this approach not only do we free up resources and teachers to facilitate the wider learning activities, but we also reduce the impact on classroom activities and, most importantly of all, encourage further opportunities for enriching each student’s personal development and have fun and enjoyment with learning in a different context.
Enquiry based learning is often at the heart of activities and it emphasises higher order thinking skills. It can take many forms, including problem solving, discovery and creative activities, both in the classroom and outside the classroom and is behind curriculum programs like Learning to Learn, Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking that we offer at our Secondary Campus. Most importantly, in enquiry learning the students are responsible for processing the data they are working with to reach their own conclusions. It is, therefore, a great way to develop the thinking and problem solving skills necessary for a successful international future in the 21st Century.