Category: Education

In Memory of Sir Ken Robinson PhD, 1950 – 2020

Sir Ken Robinson died on the 21st of August 2020 and I want to recognise his amazing work for education in the world as well as the inspiration he brought to Crossfields Institute. In these two short videos, he sums up beautifully what should be at the centre of our educational decision-making.

This particular video may be the last public appearance he made and here, he invites us to learn from the impact of a relationship to the natural environment that caused devastation and extinction so that we can start to also change our ways of approaching learning, education and school:

In the second video, which is a short tribute, Sir Ken tells a story about human potential and how easily it is missed in a system that habitually medicates the seemingly restless children of today:

I invite you to take this opportunity to dwell with Sir Ken’s core message – I invite us to take a moment to imagine what changes we are ready for, now, as we enter a new era where some doors are closed forever and others are finally opening…

Dr Charlotte von Bülow
Founder of the Crossfields Institute Group
Director of Crossfields Europa

Relational Arts & Organic Design – an inspiring new course at Emerson College

Relational Arts & Organic Design is an immersive twelve-week course exploring the relational nature of the world in which we live through a rich programme of nature-based crafts, expressive art and observational science The programme is composed of three four-week blocks built around the themes of Enquiry, Creativity & Purpose:

  • Block 1 – Enquiry: 4 x one-week open modules
  • Block 2 – Creativity: 1 four-week open module
  • Block 3 – Purpose: 1 four-week final project

Students can take part on either a full-time or a part-time basis, choosing one or more of the open modules from the first two blocks. Please note: Block 3 (four-week final project) is only open to students who have completed either Block 1 or Block 2.

Find out more:

Restorative work instead of sanctions and punishment

It was good to read a report in The Guardian on the use of a “restore” process in a school in Gloucester to break the cycle of sanctions and exclusions. As part of the research and development undertaken for an Erasmus+ funded project, staff from Crossfields Institute have taken part in a training session led by teachers from Finland, who use Restorative Mediation widely in their schools. It had a significant impact on the group of 50 teachers gathered from four countries, and we could see the value of the process for both student and staff conflict or difficulty.

Learning support on four legs!

We welcome the increased interest in the use of dogs as educational support “staff” in schools, as reported here https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/28/teaching-support-dog-school-teach-read

We offer several qualifications that accredit practitioners working with horses and dogs to facilitate human development, develop mindfulness practice and use horses in therapeutic work. Developing these qualifications has allowed us to see at first hand the amazing ways in which trusting relationships between animals and humans can lead to increased health and well being.

Next time you see a learning styles questionnaire, burn it?

Next time you see a learning styles questionnaire, burn it – began a typically forthright article in The Guardian back in July 2006 by Professor Frank Coffield. He had published results of a large research project into the use of learning styles questionnaires two years previously, but the UK Department of Education was firmly wedded to the use of learning styles, and his results were not publicised by the Learning and Skills Development Agency which had commissioned the research. Nearly 11 years later The Guardian has published a plea from scientists, educationalists and psychologists to “ditch the neuromyth” of learning styles.

At Crossfields Institute we are developing a qualification for 16 and 18 year olds focusing on developing a range of creative thinking skills. The focus of this is on building capacity and developing skills, whatever the style and preferences of the students.

Is 14 too young to choose your educational path?

The UK government initiative to introduce University Technical Colleges, to create centres of excellence for vocational education is under scrutiny, following news that seven have recently announced their impending closure. The impetus for these colleges came from the 2004 Tomlinson review into secondary education.

Significantly, Tomlinson did not recommend separate pathways for academic and vocational education, rather the replacement of multiple exams and qualifications with a single, integrated Diploma approach, utilising an extended project as a significant component.

Crossfields Institute is working on an Erasmus+ funded project with schools in four countries to develop a Diploma that combines academic and practical learning, and requires students to complete an Independent Project and, in doing so, seeks to respond positively to the recommendations in the Tomlinson review and create an integrated approach to learning that will enable a wide variety of students to achieve their full potential.

Goat time out!

Varndean School in Brighton have a specialised team who have helped the school de-escalate challenging behaviour. The flock of goats initially came to the school to maintain the grass, but are now having a significant impact on behaviour and wellbeing:

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/how-pygmy-goats-have-transformed-pupil-behaviour

Crossfields Institute works with a number of affiliated organisations who already know the value of engaging with the natural world for young people, and our qualifications seek to develop healthy, integrated engagement with the world around us.