We are delighted to post the first of three blogs on an arts education project conducted in Gloucestershire by teachers in the department. In this first post, Ben and Gail introduce their project.
Ben Van Praag & Dr Gail Forey, Department of Education, University of Bath
As a result of government intervention, universities are currently engaged in outreach work designed to support those from underrepresented groups in higher education (HE) to understand that doing a degree is a plausible option. Often, these outreach activities focus on pupils from Y11-13. In January 2022, Ben Van Praag and Dr Gail Forey from the University of Bath, an EAL teacher and two Teaching Partners worked with a group of 18 students in Y4-6, in a primary school in the South-West of England. The group was made up of those with English as an additional language (EAL), or with special educational needs (SEN), both of which are underrepresented in UK HE. The exploratory week-long Arts-based, Co-creation Research project, delivered during the school’s art week, was designed to provide insights into the post-educational aspirations of children from these backgrounds.
During the week, the pupils worked through a variety of activities framed around the statement of ‘When I grow up, I want to....’ The week started with an in-depth group discussion about what the pupils wanted to do when they finished their compulsory education. They drew visual representation of their hopes and dreams on paper, before sharing with the rest of the group the jobs that they would like to do. These included YouTuber, footballer, photographer, vet, artist, beautician, scientist, nail technician, game designer, fashion designer, pilot, engineer, and rapper.
The group were really excited and enjoyed being involved in communicative games and tasks that were specifically designed to explore and develop their aspirational vocabulary. This helped them to think about a wider variety of jobs, places of work and other requirements that would hopefully help them to think about their own choices for the future (Read how the project progressed in the next blog post in late February 2022).