Collaborative learning at Preston Lodge

Thought I would put a quick post on how we are developing some great collaborative working between staff, S6 and S1 pupils at Preston Lodge High School. We have two hours a week dedicated to our S1 pupils experiencing some completely different challenges and learning experiences. We use the underlying philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence to create opportunities for our pupils to engage in quality learning out with the normal curriculum lessons.

Running in tandem with this programme are a cohort of our S6 pupils linked to each S1 group, with an emphasis on earning an award in Leadership. This is an elective course for them and it has proven very useful for my particular “PL Challenge”. I am delivering a combination of basic orienteering, geo-caching and teambuilding. I want the pupils to experience something new and to learn outside skills. My S6 pupils have been assisting with the map work and running basic orienteering competitions, but it is in the team building part of each double lesson that they are coming into their own.

As the weeks have gone on I have taken more and more of a back step and they have been delivering the challenges to the S1 group. Whilst their delivery skills are still raw they are starting to realise that they can simply affect the learning of their younger audience by the way they communicate with them and by the way they lead by example.

Last week they were given a challenge to deliver which included creating groups, setting out rules and time for team discussion for tactics. They worked with each group to plan the best way to complete the challenge and then oversaw the action. The S1 are happy to sit and discuss and now even argue their ideas to the S6 in a very engaging atmosphere. In turn the S6 are now starting to encourage each and every S1 pupil to become more engaged in the group task, allowing pupils to become leaders and then dealing with success and failure. All without the teacher having to interrupt….too often…!

As well as the group work the S6 also have to plan and deliver whole year group events to the S1 in the changeover week, allowing staff to plan and prepare materials for the following block. This is done with the aide of some senior staff but the majority of the effort is their own.

These bigger events are a real test of character and the skills they are gaining will definitely stand them in good stead in the future.

It is a work in progress but I for one have enjoyed the dual task of allowing the S1 pupils time in a challenge which gives them a platform to display completely different skills and the S6 an opportunity to build up some new skill sets of leadership and task management. The relationships and respect that is being created is only a good thing for the whole school and everyone gains something from it.

Nothing really ground breaking with this type of work but it is an example of good practice and it might ignite some ideas in other schools!

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