14 SES 04 A, Educational Trajectories of Young People – Attempts to Describe and Explain
This paper will present the findings of an evaluation of an out of school hours learning project in schools and libraries across the city of Dundee. The aims of the project were two-fold; to establish homework clubs in libraries and out of school hours learning clubs in primary schools within the areas of highest social disadvantage. The study analyses the extent to which the project met the overarching aims of promoting lifelong learning through raising pupil achievement and self esteem, promoting partnership working and the targeting of resources specifically towards disadvantage and under achievement and the effects of intervention at the transition stage between primary and secondary education.
The European Commission (2010) lays down a set of competencies based on a combination of “skills, knowledge, aptitudes and attitudes” (p3) in its framework for lifelong learning. This framework claims to provide within the competencies a means for policy makers to identify key areas that are essential for social inclusion, personal fulfilment and opportunities for employment in a knowledge society. The Lisbon European Council (2000) provided the foundations for the identification of these key competencies including basic skills in literacy and numeracy, basic competencies in mathematics, science and technology, learning to learn, social skills, entrepreneurship and general culture. Moreover, the European Council (2009) acknowledges that the increased output of new information worldwide has increased the need for lifelong learning in order to ensure success in society, academic life and in the workplace.
In Scotland, educational policy has become increasingly influenced by social policy. The Scottish Executive (2002), proposed inclusion and equality and learning for life as two of its national priorities in education. This focus on lifelong learning has been emphasized more recently by the Scottish Government (2009) as part of its curriculum reform with the emphasis on skills for learning and life.
There is clear evidence that there is an association between OSHL and an increased motivation to learn, self-esteem and academic performance. (MacBeath, undated). There is also evidence to suggest that OSHL helps to motivate disaffected pupils, improves attendance and reduces opportunities for crime. (Scottish Government, 2006). McLean (2003) has defined the three essential ingredients for motivation in learners. These are autonomy or self-determination to succeed through personal initiative; agency, which allows pupils to control their environment and, affiliation, the feeling of being connected through social relationships. These outcomes are concurrent with the aims of OSHL
In the HMIE review of Scottish Education (2009), inspectors found that many secondary schools did not build on pupils’ achievements in primary seven and this hindered progress in the early stages of secondary education. A more recent study carried out by Horobin (2009) attempted to measure the impact of transition to secondary school.
This paper draws on evidence from literature that addresses the benefits of OSHL in terms of pupil achievement and aspirations and the relationship between disadvantage and under-achievement. This study takes cognisance of a social constructivist approach advanced by Vygotsky (1978), where significant adults “scaffold” children’s learning until they are able to work and learn independently.
References Commission of the European Union (2010) Implementation of Education and Training 2010: Work Programme; Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning: A European Frame of Reference Available online at: http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/doc/basicframe.pdf Accessed 16 January 2011 European Council (2000) Report on the Quality of School Education: Sixteen Quality Indicators Available online at http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/policy/rapin_en.pdf Accessed 16 January 2011 HMIE, (2009) Improving Scottish Education, A report by HMIE on Inspection and Review, 2005-2008, HMIE Inspectorate of Education, Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Almondvale Way, Livingstone, EH54 6GA available online at http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/publication/ise09.pdf accessed 16 January 2011 Horobin, M.V., (2009) School engagement, self-esteem and well-being during transfer from primary to a secondary school, Ph.D., submission available at https://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/handle/10023/693 accessed 16 January 2011 MacBeath, J., (undated) Study Support in Scottish Schools, The Quality in Education Centre, University of Strathclyde, Jordanhill Campus, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow G13 1PP. McLean, A., (2003) The Motivated School, London, Paul Chapman Publishing. The Scottish Government (2009), Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work. Edinburgh, Scottish Government. http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence/buildingthecurriculum/entitlements/skills/index.asp accessed 16 January 2011 Vygotsky, L., S., (1978) Mind in Society, The Development of Higher Psychological Processes: Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Quality in Education (2002) Study Support Code of Practice for Public Librarians, Quality in Education Centre, University of Strathclyde, Jordanhill Campus, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow G13 1PP.
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