Barry Island Primary School takes part in pioneering new study
3:32pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A BARRY primary school has taken part in a pioneering new study that calls for pupils to be taught in a more creative way.
The pilot study, commissioned by LEGO® Education and published earlier this week, concludes that a new approach is needed to help students develop key skills, such as creative problem-solving and critical thinking, that are needed in the workplace.
Barry Island Primary School was one of over a hundred educational participants that took part in the pilot study, which comes ahead of the Cabinet Office review into employment, education and training provisions available for 16-24 year olds that is due this autumn.
Teachers were surveyed on the role of creativity and playful learning in the context of teaching the curriculum as well as acquiring 21st Century Skills as defined by the OECD and the think tank, Institute for the Future.
Aled Williams, a senior teacher responsible for ICT at Barry Island Primary School, said that fostering skills that students will need for the future requires a more creative approach.
“You have to look at things from a different point of view, it is not just about achieving targets," he said.
"We all learn in different ways and teachers have to build in opportunities for all learning styles and allow creative opportunities, such as drama or having a lesson outside. This has as much value as a traditional lesson.”
He added: “Gone are the days when pupils would cover up their work so no one could see it, now we want children to share and learn from each other. They produce far more meaningful pieces of work by sharing ideas, which is what they will have to do in the future in life. The ideas have to come from the children.”
Key findings of the study include:
1) Teachers agree that ‘teaching to the test’ as recently seen in the GCSE results dulls a creative approach and that the current curriculum does not do enough to help creativity flourish.
2) Communication, problem solving and critical thinking are highlighted as the most important skills that schools should develop in students.
3) A creative, hands-on approach is needed to inspire uptake of STEM subjects and develop skills relevant for the future.
The results suggest that a hands-on, creative approach boosts student engagement, improves outcomes and helps to prepare students for the future workplace.
The pilot study called ‘Building the Future: Creativity and Playful Learning in the classroom’ offers five key recommendations:
1) Teachers should be given support and resources to enable them to lead and facilitate more progressive approaches, especially for STEM lessons, to allow for more playful, creative and hands-on learning.
2) Opportunities for hands-on learning should be embedded throughout the curriculum to ensure that students of all abilities have the chance to learn by doing.
3) Creativity should not be regarded as a ‘nice to have’ and restricted to arts subjects, but as fundamental to successful teaching and learning in STEM and other subjects.
4) Schools should ensure that non subject-specific skills for the future such as communication, problem solving and critical thinking are integrated throughout the curriculum.
5) Creative approaches towards teaching and learning should be given more credit than they are given now when inspecting and evaluating school performance.