The Wood Foundation’s Programme Manager Georgea Hughes has spent the past three years researching international interdisciplinary, project-based, and expeditionary learning systems which place partnerships and real-world learning experiences at their core. The result has been the launch of the pilot Excelerate in Aberdeenshire. She explains how this approach has been adopted in the YPI process and why it is important.
“When learners are empowered to explore their subjects through a real-world lens the curriculum is brought to life and supports their understanding that what they learn today really matters. They will be mentally engaged, curious, motivated, and, importantly, developing a host of vital transferable skills.
“YPI offers this lens. From the first discussion when they explore social injustices, they begin to understand and voice what matters to them. They have an open discussion about things that are happening here, in their locality, today.
“The programme allows for teachers to be facilitators; encouraging learners to lead their own learning but guiding with support where required. The fact that learners are empowered to pick the social issue and charity that matters to them gives them a sense of agency and responsibility to do well.
“Even when YPI is delivered through a single subject, students are drawing upon skills and principles from a number of subject areas including business studies, humanities, English, maths, computing skills, and health and wellbeing. They are also developing the meta-skills needed for success – innovation, self-management, and social intelligence through communications, collaboration, confidence building, leading, integrity, and critical thinking.
“Post-programme reflection is important for young people to understand how they have learned and grown through the process and how this can be applied throughout their education and on their journey of active citizenship.
“When the world outside of the classroom walls, the world they’re experiencing, is incorporated into teaching and learning, students understand why their work matters and is relevant. YPI is a gateway to comprehending how they have the power to use their learning to make a difference.”