Development work on your project will begin at the first EdLab conference on the 2nd December. Whilst the day will include a couple of keynote lectures on educational entrepreneurship and creativity, a large part of the day will be given over to project teams to start to come up with some creative ideas and directions for their work. We are keen that your creative energy is central to what we end up doing – and as such, we would like you to come to the day armed with your own thinking and an initial piece of work. The purpose of this blog post is to set out some tasks which help you to do this by thinking equally about practical ideas and underlying principles.
Positioning the Project
The first preparatory task is to develop your understanding of the underlying dynamic of what we want to achieve. In the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Project we will use the local heritage site as a spark point and a context for developing educational experiences and activities. Staff at the site want to engage children and young people with the house, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Literature and/or Victorian Manchester, but the content of the project is really open to your imaginations.
In this video you can see a group of young people who have developed a narrative and creative representation of the house which engages with history through images, music and drama. In watching the video you can familiarise yourself with the house (but you are also encouraged and welcome to visit), and begin to think about the ways in which it might provide and exciting and interesting educational experience for children and young people.
Task: A Paper Project
The second preparatory task is a bit more practical: we would like you to plan an activity which could take place in the house. As you do this you might want to think about the following questions:
-What is the educational aim of the activity, and how might the setting of the house support this aim?
-How can you use the setting to engage children in experiential learning?
You might want to draw inspiration from the work of Grimm&Co, and the words of Dr. Maria Montessori:
“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants – doing nothing but living and walking about – came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love…”
Jennifer Moon’s A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning : Theory and Practice (2004) may also be useful, and is available as an E-Book from the library.
We intend to develop activities which can be used by families and primary schools visiting the house, which may also be developed into on online format.
Please create posts in your personal blogs ahead of the first conference to share your ideas.
And finally, don’t panic! We’re expecting you to come to the conference with the beginnings of ideas and not with finalised or polished proposals. Don’t worry if you’re not confident with what