Introduction : Out of school education
What is an out-of-school education?
Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) includes all forms of education that takes place outside of the formal school environment.
Information : Out of school education
it is an educational concept first proposed by Lauren Resnick in her 1987 AERA presidential address,which consists of curricular and non-curricular learning experiences for pupils and students outside the school environment.
The point of out-of-school learning is to overcome learning disabilities, development of talents, strengthen communities and increase interest in education by creating extra learning opportunities in the real world. In a study performed by the UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) it was proven that out-of-school learning increases the interest in education and school itself.
Out-of-school learning is typically not coordinated by the school itself. Out-of-school experiences are organized with community partners such as museums, sport facilities, charity initiatives, and more. Out-of-school experiences can range from service learning to summer school and expeditions or more commonly occur in day to day experiences at after-school with creative ventures such as arts courses and even sports. Some other examples of out-of-school learning are:
- homework and homework clubs
- study clubs – extending curriculum
- mentoring – by other pupils and by adults, including parents
- learning about learning
- community service and citizenship
- residential activities – study weeks or weekends
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It has been found in research by the Wallace Foundation that out-of-school learning can be a great opportunity to discover and develop talents. Especially if a professional organization develops a learning environment that guides groups of pupils/students in their co-operation in creating a professional and publicly visible product, presentation or performance. Companies, cultural institutions and non governmental organizations can offer valuable out-of-school learning experiences.
Organizations will see results accordingly to the quality of the experience, whether they aim to promote active and healthy lifestyles, increase community involvement and visitors/members, to an interest in a company’s corporate responsibility projects and employment opportunities.
In the United Kingdom alone, several local and state bodies run out-of-school learning projects, with additional funding from the National Lottery (£9.1m in 2000). Some major examples of out-of-school learning projects are:
- Parentzone, an out of school learning initiative from the Scottish government
- LA’s Best, an out of school learning initiative from Tom Bradley mayor of Los Angeles, California from 1973 to 1993
- Sarahs’wereld and De Wenswijk, out of school learning initiatives from the Wensenwerk Foundation sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in the Netherlands.
Direct benefits of Out of school education
Learning outside the classroom can help teachers create enthusiasm for learning, provide a real-world context and expose students to a range of STEM careers.
Students who experience learning outside the classroom benefit from increased self-esteem and become more engaged in their education. Evidence suggests learning outside the classroom can help raise achievement, improve classroom behaviour and improve the engagement of students, including those who are hard to engage in the classroom environment.
In 2016, School Travel Forum conducted an independent research study to find out how school trips and learning outside the classroom impact the development of students. They found 60% of teachers noticed an increase in students’ confidence, resilience and wellbeing after participating in a school trip and 61% of students achieved higher than their predicted grade.
The study also found that while most teachers wish they could offer more learning outside the classroom opportunities, 67% cited cost and organisation as their primary deterrents.
External benefits of out of school education
A degree of cost-benefit analysis takes place when deciding to organise a school trip or other learning outside the classroom activity. Costs involved in coordinating learning outside the classroom may include accommodation, transport, insurance, learning workshop fees, and time taken to fill out paperwork. Benefits commonly include what students are expected to get out of the trip, such as a better understanding of a concept or topic.
While the cost-benefit analysis can be helpful in making decisions, teachers often forget to include the many external and intrinsic benefits that arise from learning outside the classroom. These might include reduced behavioural problems, a more accepting attitude towards cultural differences and diversity, or a piqued curiosity in a future career prospect. All of these are examples of benefits that have a positive impact but cannot be easily quantified. Because of this, organising a school trip or other learning outside the classroom experiences may appear costlier than it actually is.
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