The Facework journey, one step at a time.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write. The illiterate will be those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Herbert Gerjuoy

The Facework project has been directed by Stephen Carrick-Davies working with The Inclusion Trust and the WORKTREE organisation. It has been supported by an advisory group and a wide range of partners from Alternative Providers across the country with funding from Nominet Trust and support from OCR.

During over 2 years of research and direct engagement with young learners and staff from alternative education projects, we developed the 5 overarching Design Principles (see below).

A double page spread article giving the background and ethos of the Facework Project appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Recruiter Magazine see copy here

This videos from Stephen and Jack shows what we have learnt in developing the Facework project and our theory of change. →

 1 Walking in the learner’s shoes

  • At the heart of our approach is developing a deep empathetic understanding of how a pushed out learner feels and helping them to become confident enough to ask the right questions and reflect on what they are learning.
  • Through co-designing these resources we  understand how many of these learners learn best. We’ve blended formal and informal learning resources (including social media, video clips and music)  to make the learning relevant and the issues accessible and up-to-date.
  • Our focus has been starting with ‘pushed-out learners’ a term we use because it shifts the focus and ‘label’ given to a young person, on to the failure of the system which leaves these learners feeling pushed out and ‘failing.’

2 Valuing what the learner brings

  • We start by validating the existing skills and experiences that a student brings to the learning and helping them to see how many of the skills, learnt in their non-school lives are transferable to the world of work.
  • Young learners are best helped to prepare for work by shaping the learning around their existing interests, passions and dreams and by placing a value on what is being learnt beyond academic boundaries.
  • The Facework Challenges are deliberately structured to provide real world tasks which will prompt students to ask questions (not simply to receive the ‘right’ answers).

3 Relevance for work today and tomorrow

  • Enabling young learners to engage directly with real employers is the key to helping them understand the culture of work today.
  • Our focus is on equipping young learners with positive attitudes (what some might call ‘soft –skills’),  so they are better prepared for new environments and more able to cope with real engagement in the workplace.
  • The Facework Challenges include up-to-date scenarios and they help instil positive attitudes and resilience in students. This is the currency for future change.

 4 Learning everywhere and from everyone

  • Deep learning and mastery happens best in a place where excellence already exists.
  • Empowering the learner to choose their own mentor and identify the environment which will fuel their passion is crucial
  • It’s important to find new ways to validate any learning which is genuine and relevant to the learner including non-traditional channels. (see accreditation section)

5 Harnessing digital tools for learning

  • All our resources are freely available to use, adapt and refine. We want to encourage others to author and share their own digital resources through this site (using Creative Commons).
  • We use simple ‘lean’ media (for example phones for filming and existing platforms to share videos) to capture authentic learning and model ways in which learners can become teachers and teachers learn from their students.
  • Facework promotes collaboration and interaction. We believe the best resources come from the students and staff themselves who can freely refine and adapt these initial resources.

And  Finally…

We want to test out a very simple theory of change, namely that it is when students are bold enough to help their peers and share their insights in public that they reflect on what they know and understand and get a chance to learn, unlearn and re-learn.  It is only when they are challenged by their peers that they can begin to flip their thinking and engage in deep reflection about their attitudes and behaviours and have something unique to offer and indeed find their true value and right career pathway.

The competences that young people can develop as they face work may be more complex to codify, categorise and assess and but surely we should be measuring what is of value, not just what is easy!”     Stephen Carrick-Davies

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