Years ago the Labour Party set up research into Learning outside the class room, I went to a few of the seminars that were held in Bristol.

The findings at the time where that learning outside the classroom was of tremendous benefit and one quote from an academic was that ‘ The worst outside learning experience in better than the best indoor learning experience‘.

The climate feels ready to promote these ways of learning what with the limited accessibility of younger people being able to be accommodated into a Class room setting.

From my thirty years experience of working outside with young people I can see there’s another way of learning, more like a scaffolding learnIng between all generations whereby young and old work practically alongside each other where dialogue is evoked through curiosity and subject matter evolves through individual and group practical work. This way of working together can be expanded and deepened by applying different subject knowledge around the task.

For example,

Some thirty years ago I worked on neglected housing estates where most of the children were not in school and a lot were being apprenticed into drug mentorships by local cartels. 

Some funding from local authority had been allocated to one of these housing estates and without any discussion a new state of the art playground was installed.

When it was being installed one of the contractors said to the young people and children this playground equipment is indestructible.

This statement fired the kids imaginations ( James Hillman, the image inspires)

In no time at all they’d stolen a ships rope from the dockyard , hauled it back , tied one end off to the top rail on the swings and the other end they tied off to the centre axle stem of the rounderabout. They then simply sat on the far edge of the roundabout and rotated it , slowly tightening up the rope around the centre axle. Of course they’d just re invented their own windlass and with great ease pulled the ‘indestructible’ swings clean out of the ground.

I learnt a lot from this event and have applied the methodologies within my social art practice from here on.

Keeping in mind what I had learnt from the young people and children’s own dynamic self motivated engagement with society on a Plymouth housing estate thirty years ago.

Following these principles:

-Follow the young people’s curiosity and imagination and engage with it with creative dialogue.    

-Bring in subjects around their experiences and what they’d practically embodied .

-Deepen dialogue and open up the depths of subjects around they’re curiosity.

For example the destruction of the playground and the creative imagination .

– History of the windlass: tall ship, Cathedrals and Great Wall of China.

Rope making , plants / nature 

– physics, maths :angles ,  triangles , equations , force and velocity, ,

– engineering etc 

what’s  important about this way of learning is it’s young person led and also many subjects are being taught simultaneously,

It’s kind of learning without even realising the young person is learning.

It’s also based on relationships that are trustworthy between different generations and because of this it’s possible to invite new tutors/ elders into the mix who could bring in more specialisms and wisdoms.

This would then set a mentoring program for each young person to be able to specialise in fields that call to their imaginative intrigue. 

 The task is then completed because the young person has been woken to their own discernment and intrigue to learn, they are then contributing to society and as they age become more engaged and contribute.