yeah I see where you are coming from. It would take a massive commitment from the Government and exam boards to re-design each subjects syllabus to embed functional skills into what is already being delivered, but I believe it is possible. For example, functionality is not a subject it is a process and all about applying your learning to everyday life. One idea might be with A level music for example, rather than paper based exams where you look at an anthology of music and then answer questions, why not have the scores as pdf files on computer and students following the score by listening to ipods rather than off a cd player and then answering the questions online. This would allow each student to go at their own pace, would also benefit visually impaired students, they could alter the colour of the screen or have software that speaks to them. In today's age this is much more user friendly for the students. Downloading music could also be included in the exam such as they need to download the piece that they need to listen to etc. This is only an example and there are far reaching implications, but hopefully you can see from this how it could be done in other subjects. How do you see it working in sport?
Regarding your comments about Ken Robinson. I think that yes we should be learning in a way that incorporates everyday life, current trends and development and preparing young people for their place in society and the job market (obviously we still need to include the core subjects). It would make more sense to use the current environment to build their learning rather than ignoring it and trying to use irrelevant techniques. So yes I tend to agree with Ken Robinson and not have specific subjects. However, this can't be changed overnight and I think putting functional skills into each subject is a step in the right direction. Would you agree?
providing the Government and exam boards take the time to re-write the syllabi and they make sure that there is an equal weighting between specific subject knowledge and functional skills, I don't see this as being a problem for the teacher.
I agree in that what is learnt needs to be more applicable to real life situations and the students told how what they are learning is relevant and useful. Personally, I feel like that minimum core subjects should be embedded into all subjects so that they are tailored to each subject area where the students can see the relevance of what they're learning. I think having a separate 'functional skills' lesson completely disengages the student before they've even arrived and many may not do as well as they could because of this.
Yes, I remember having 'Key Skills' sessions and dreading them as I knew they were going to be boring and I probably set myself up to be disengaged from the start. Minimum core is embedded into the course I teach on my placement and it does seem to work. The students also have a collaboration module where they have to work with an outside individual or agency to complete a piece of work. I attended the university and course that is now my placement for my PGCE, and the collaboration module really stuck out to me as being relevant and I was determined to give it my all. It did indeed help me in becoming an artist after the course was complete. This is true of sandwich degree courses, that have a year in the middle of the course to work on placement to gain the relevant experience needed to enter that profession.
That Industry year sounds like a good idea Hannah. Do you think it could be possible for all degree courses to have an element of work experience. They probably all couldn't be a year because of cost, but maybe one module on industry experience or maybe a week every month allocated to actual work in the chosen industry?
I totally agree with your comment about having separate functional skills lessons will in fact disengage the student. I believe it is much more important to get them working functionally across the whole curriculum in order to move forward. Do you have any ideas as to how this could be done?
I think that it totally depends on what your subject is, and if in the end, it will be particularly helpful after the students have finished their studies. For instance in performing arts numeracy may not be as relevant or useful as communication skills.
Its hard to say without knowing enough about how much minimum core the students need to know but i think recognising those aspects, making sure you include them in your lessons, and revisiting them if necessary should all already be a given for a teacher
Thanks Alex the points you have made are very useful :-)
I'm a trainee art teacher, and based on my education and experiences so far within my placement area, one very simple step forward would be in how the teacher delivers the session and explains how these skills are transferable in the workplace. It is not going to solve the issue, but it may clarify these questions to learners. For example, one of the groups I work with on my placement were taught how to make a negative space drawing and one way to enlarge a drawing, but there was no indication of how these skills would be used in the workplace and why they are relevant. Students enjoyed the session because the tutor made it fun, however they became disruptive because it seemed to have no purpose or importance to them. On the other hand the emphasis cannot be put upon teachers to make this change, and I agree with your statement regarding the modification of exams.
The amount of experience required for a post is one of the issues graduates face upon completing their courses and seeking employment. After a minimum of three years completing a degree, graduates are still not equipped to enter into their chosen career path. Could this frustrating situation be changed with more appropriate content and assessment in the lifelong learning sector?
exactly my thinking! Maybe as part of a teaching qualification teachers could be taught how to show the relevance of what they are teaching to the students. Obviously existing teachers would need to go on courses to gain this knowledge. Perhaps part of their cpd? (Continuing professional development) Also as you suggest maybe in the lifelong learning sector and at university functionality should be inbuilt into these courses. As Ken Robinson stated in the 'changing education paradigms' video you aren't guaranteed a job in your chosen career at the end of your degree.