This is a reference for Bob McDougall

School Inclusion Unit Study Visit TCP (UK + Norway NA)

The training activity took place
in Birmingham, UK
organised by TCP UK and Norway NAs
20 - 24 May 2014

Aims & objectives

This study visit was organised by the UK and Norwegian National Agencies and brought together 23 participants from 10 countries. It aimed to provide opportunities for participants to explore links between non-formal and formal learning in order to engage and include all young people in learning, in particular those who have been excluded from mainstream classrooms. The visit took place in the UK where there is an established structure of provision for such young people. Reasons for exclusion include: criminal activity, violence to staff or other pupils, behavioural issues which cause severe disruption in class. During the visit we also investigated how educators can use emotional intelligence to deal with low level disruption in class to minimise the need for young people to be excluded from the classroom.
The course objectives were:
 To explore definitions of formal, non-formal and informal learning
 To look at how informal, non-formal and formal learning can blend together
 To visit organisations that use non-formal / ‘alternative’ learning to compliment formal learning
 To network and share examples of good practice from around Europe
 To look at opportunities for cross-sectorial working through Erasmus+

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

We had 23 participants attending from 10 different EU/EEA countries. Just over a third of the participants work in formal education only; a third work in both formal and informal education; less than one third work in non-formal education only.

Target Group
• Teachers and tutors (schools, colleges, adult education, universities, social educators, etc.)
• Other education staff (classroom assistants, managers, support staff)
• Professionals involved in informal and non-formal learning (youth workers, social workers)

Training methods used & main activities

Interactive and informal learning methods: pairs and small group work, discussions, case studies, individual reflection, presentations followed by question and answer, practical skills development sessions and theory presentation at the forest school inclusion unit, visit to Birmingham city school inclusion unit with table top discussions. Reflection groups and group/individual evaluations.

Outcomes of the activity

I was co - trainer with Lorraine Lockyer (UK trainer). The training delivery was split equally between us with each of us taking a lead on some topic and delivering jointly on other sessions.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

By the end of the visit, feedback from almost all participants was very positive. A very small number of people were expecting a training course or an academic discourse event; one person reported that they learned nothing and got nothing out of the event. However the vast majority said that they found the visit beneficial; they said they learned things that they could take away and that it was ‘food for thought’.

The original plan was to deliver this over 5 days with a travel day either end. All the participants and the trainers felt that this would have been better and would have allowed more time to process and reflect on the experiences and learning rather than rushing through. Paradoxically, allowing time for processing and reflection (working at the pace and capacity of the learner) was one of the methodologies we saw in practice during our visits and is a fundamental principle of non-formal learning. The objectives were met using as many non-formal and interactive methodologies as possible in the timeframe we were working to. With more time we could have gone much deeper and wider but this visit was a good introduction to the theme and, as some participants said, something to wet their appetites.

A range of books were available in the training room during the workshop which outlined the learning theory behind non-formal approaches such as forest school and learning outside the classroom. The participants have a shared Dropbox file containing all the PowerPoints, materials referred to during the visit, various studies, reports and the history of non-formal/informal learning. They also have a closed Facebook group where they can stay in contact, share thoughts and resources and develop project ideas started in the workshop. Verbal feedback to staff about the visit was very positive during and after the workshop. The mood and attitude in the group was very cooperative, high energy with a willingness to engage in all the activities and, as trainers, we were very pleased with the way the visit went.

Reports, fliers and publicity was sent to the UK NA and Norwegian NA for publication

I worked on this training for 5 days as a full time trainer.

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