Achievement in English and maths by childcare, health and social care and protective services students was celebrated at an awards event at Reading College on 28 June.
Students took inspiration from a Hollywood movie, a creative writing challenge and the real-life stories of local older people to enhance their English skills. Certificates and gift vouchers were given for outstanding performance and to recognise students’ success in individual projects.
Regular journal entries focus English skills
Around 90 of the college’s Academic and Professional Studies faculty students participated in a national journal competition organised by Exeter College and co-ordinated for Activate Learning by Tes FE Teacher of the Year finalist, Dr Alice Eardley.
Students each received a diary to regularly record their thoughts and experiences, and to support their curriculum work for the GCSE English exam.
Keeping a diary allows students to improve self-reflection and writing skills without having to submit graded work. Learners watched the 1990’s film ‘Freedom Writers’ - based on a true story of an inspirational teacher who encouraged students to write about their lives - to kick-start the project.
English Teacher Shivender Parmar said “This experience was quite therapeutic for our students as it was all about personal growth. They could use the journals to de-stress at home, or to rationalise their thoughts. It made them feel freer as there were no boundaries; they could write anything they wanted.”
Sana Chaker Jomaa, who studies Childcare, won top prize winner in the diary competition and said, “In my journal I wrote about my experience of when we went to Turkey as a family.” Their trip was unexpectedly extended when the family was unable to leave an island due to heavy fog.
Sana adds: “I feel amazing; this is my first time winning a prize. Never give up and always follow your dreams!”
Sharing life stories with older people
Amy Parsons, who is studying health and social care, was recognised for her work in the lifestory project, where learners are paired up with older people at The Boltons care home to share their stories and explore better care giving
Amy said: “I loved the fact that I got to connect with an elderly person and really understand more about their experience compared to ours. It was really good because it taught me resilience to life and it also built my confidence up getting to know a different person.”
Activate Learning ‘contextualises’ English and maths GSCE teaching so that students are better able to hit curriculum targets through innovative, real-world learning. This includes linking maths and English to what is taught in vocational or technical subject areas so that learners can see the value of developing these skills and how they can be used in their chosen careers.