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Confident Communicators

 February to June 2010

Introduction

Confident Communicators took small teams of able but quiet students and developed their confidence in a number of PLTS areas, but particularly their communication skills. Inspiration for the project came from North Somerset’s two student conferences, Business of Learning and I Love My Brain. The idea was to keep the structure and learning outcomes of the conferences, but do away with the residential aspect and all the logistical difficulties and cost associated with it.

 

Confident Communicators was jointly funded by Aimhigher and so targeted students from low participation backgrounds. One of the aims of the project was to give students a taste of university life and the opportunity to work with current under graduates.

 

Teams had to put together a presentation on what life would be like for a fifteen year old in the year 2025. They had to organise their own meetings and allocate roles to people in their group. Teachers took on a facilitating role and were there to support groups only when they really needed it. Teams also had the support of the advanced skills teacher team.

 

Forty year 8 students, from eight schools took part in the project.

 

Launch Event

The challenge was launched on the 24th February at The University of Bath. The day began with a keynote from inspirational speaker, performer, RADA faculty member and adviser to the BBC; Jeremy Stockwell. Jeremy’s message was about the future being up for grabs. He boosted the students’ confidence with his words and made them believe they could do whatever they set their minds to. Next was team building exercises run by the student ambassadors. Teams then got the chance to take part in five different workshops, each focusing on a different aspect of the challenge. Team members then reported back to their teams what they had learnt.

 

Research Visit

Back in schools teams started work on the challenge. They had to put together a presentation and a short podcast documenting their learning journey. Teams also started preparing questions for the forthcoming research visit.

 

The research visits was held over various dates in March. Teams visited the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol to find out about the future of technology. They had the opportunity to talk to a future technologies expert, as well as try out a few prototypes.

 

Presentation Day

As often happens the months flew by and before we knew it 10th June had arrived – Presentation Day! Teams had the morning to work with teachers and student ambassadors to put the finishing touches to their presentations. Each team had a dry run before the real thing and Jeremy Stockwell was on hand to settle nerves and give top communication tips.

 

All forty students stood up in front of an audience made up of their peers, teachers and other adults and spoke about their research. It was plain to see for all of us who had been present at the launch day back in January that the students had become a lot more confident.

 

The Future

Gordano School is taking the Confident Communicators model and developing an in-house version for use with quiet but able members of its G&T cohort. What’s that about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?

 




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