A Day in the Life of an Anxious Student - Carnegie Trust Project 2017
This page is about the Carnegie Trust project in 2017. It contains a report on the event, and some videos that the students made during the event. Two are shown here, more will be available later.
Video: A Day in the Life of an Anxious Student
Video: Woodland Project
Aims of the Project
Our initial goals of what 3 changes the project should bring about:
- Use of a valuable resource made for and used by students that provides a positive and relevant e-learning experience;
- Digital skills development in managing information, communication, problem solving and creating;
- Improved outcomes in safety, social and mental well-being of vulnerable students.
The project brought together two cohorts (highly anxious KS3/KS4 students and KS3 behaviour referrals) and in mixed age and referral pathways the groups were organised into 4 broad project groups: art; drama; cooking; woodlands. This represented integrated learning across the most creative subject areas in the curriculum (art, drama, food, design and technology, photography, digital media) The project was challenging to students in a creative sense: it was an open task and teachers and students had to create a structure through creative processes in order to problem solve and complete the task. This project formed a new way of learning for staff and students.
There was some flexibility in movement of students and linkage of themes across the groups. The outcomes were 4 videos that students scripted, filmed, edited and produced - together the videos provide an incredible insight to their life at The Pavilion – Meadway: why they are here; what challenges they face; what they have been learning
We started off with a questionnaire to find out students’ current use of digital items.
Digital Inclusion questionnaire (10 student responses)
The top most frequent digital activities by students are as follows, in the order given:
- Watch online or download TV
- Listen to or download music
- Use apps
- Check phone for text messages
- Online gaming
The least frequent digital activities engage in by our students are:
- Write a blog / maintain a personal website (9 said ‘never’)
- Send or receive emails / send attachments with emails
Participation in chat rooms was an equal spread with 3 students saying ‘weekly’ and 3 saying ‘never’. Using the internet for research and homework also showed an even spread of answers.
This was an interesting starting point that showed our students were most driven by entertainment and short communications and avoidant of text based, longer digital communications.
The following summarises staff views what they felt had been the key learning outcomes and insights coming from this project.
Photography – our biggest surprise …
… was how some students took to the practical aspects, showed us new sides of their characters and opened up in their willingness to learn new skills.
The project funding had allowed us to buy 3 new digital cameras. The first lesson involved watching students open the boxes and handle the equipment for the first time. None of the group were able to switch on the camera, none knew how to use it.
The cameras literally helped our students to focus – to concentrate on learning new skills. They wanted to learn. They loved the quality of the equipment – they showed respect for the value and quality of the cameras and were delighted by the quality of the product/photographs and footage. They used the work going on in the woodlands as a subject for developing their skills in photography and at the Woodland Community Launch in September they displayed and sold their best, mounted photographs to a community audience.
For one traumatised student the camera created a breakthrough into re-engaging with learning. She was not able to sit in lessons or concentrate on her core subjects. However, she discovered the strategy of being able to participate from being behind the camera. She created an art-book of her artwork and photos and took a pride in her achievements. She was able to say: I enjoyed using the cameras because it is fun, entertaining and interesting and I like taking photos.”
Similarly, we found several of our most disengaged learners took pride and delight in learning to use the cameras. Staff noticed that they weren’t scared to ask questions once the camera was physically in their hands.
Art / Puppets / Drama – Sharing stories of Anxiety and ADHD
In art, students created Papier Mache puppet heads – endowing their puppets with identity and personality.
In drama the script to the puppet show was developed with the shared narrative being based upon sharing of personal experiences. The puppet was a prop that provided a way of accessing a shared narrative and telling the deeper story of feelings of pain, anxiety and loneliness at ‘being different’. The puppets allowed the personality to be exaggerated whilst establishing a safe distance.
The technical challenge was to learn how to use the digital apparatus to create a construct that could share this with wider audiences and be put on the school website for new students to see. The sessions were exploratory and problem solving. Students had to work collaboratively and creatively to get results. One student said, “I liked the artistic and creative input. I really liked making the speech bubbles.”
In the video that looks at ‘our behaviour challenges’ students talk about themselves and dramatize some aspects of their behaviours in order to help a wider audience understand the challenges they face.
Cooking and Horticulture in the Woodland – Embedding Well-being in practical learning
The students delight in practical learning indoors and outside. The hands-on nature activities appealed and also provided framework for embedding conversations about eating well, good food and the positive impact of trees, outdoors on mood and mental health. It was learning by discovery, by doing and the ‘feel-good’ factor is evident in the videos the students made of their activities.
The final product
… is really 4 inter-linking videos. One student explained it as:
“It’s like a public information broadcast, we’re going to educate other people.”
He is keen for us to have a premiere, so we put the videos they made on this page.
A Day in the Life of an Anxious Student
BREAKTHROUGH - Being Frank - Arts Depot
Cooking at the Pavilion
18 students learn how to use a digital camera really well – this was a success across all ages, students Their skills included understanding basic camera functions, selection correct modes, planning shotsand changing lens, use of tripod, recharging, care for the equipment.
7 students learnt how to plan a video shoot, including use of storyboard and varying shots.
4 students learnt how to edit using imovie. 2 of these additionally learnt how to add audio and transitions.
A total of 29 students actively participated in various aspects of the Not Without Me project.
This project was essentially promoted digital inclusion in a hands-on, practical, problem solving way. One stated, “I have learnt different ways to take photos. You can change different modes and move the aperture.” The technology tasks had to be learnt and shared: some had to take photos, others had to film, others then learnt to edit and record soundtracks. Another student commented, “I recorded some of the video footage. I used a tripod and used zoom to create interesting effects.”
It is difficult to apply the ‘Evaluate IT’ report template to the way our project evolved. It is clear that the students improved their digital skills and gained confidence and motivation form the project. They also used digital appliances as a means to explore their own well-being and to communicate this via a digital medium. It will be uploaded onto our school website and it is hoped that it will make new students feel welcome in the setting – so broadly, social and health outcomes have been achieved.
As staff, we have learnt so much from this project about how capable our students are and how they like to learn. They tell us this clearly in the videos they have made for this project. Our challenge is to carry this forward and build on this project based learning approach.