26 Apr Keep it Real!
As an organisation, we have noticed that our students have become more demanding. I salute them for this- they have every right to demand more and to question the status quo. It is a positive sign of emerging confidence and beliefs at a young age, that can only be encouraged. Clearly, gone are the days when a tutor would deliver knowledge around a particular subject and then expect the learner to make use of it, in the best way they saw fit, which is largely how I remember my school days. Naturally, we look to find a reason for this trend and I think that many tutors would point the finger at the dramatic rise in social media. We know that social media plays an important and beneficial role in spreading news fast and connecting people and events, which is most welcome. The less welcome part is perhaps the creeping advent of fake news or embellished stories which can turn into a vicious cycle of gossiping, distracting the most attentive of learners. Social Media gives everyone a platform to voice their opinion or displeasure and the boldness and frankness that it encourages, can spill over into people’s ‘off-line’ human interactions. Social Media has also been linked to shortening our attention span and increasing our demand for immediate gratification / answers.
There is no doubt that this faster pace of news/information delivery has also raised individual’s awareness and therefore expectations. A question often asked by our learners now is “so what?’ or “what’s the point?”, like “What’s the point in learning algebra?”; or “so what if I don’t do my homework?” It has made us very conscious of the need to change our approach to delivering knowledge to students, by making a clear link as to the relevance of this knowledge in the workplace environment and life in general.
One way in which JACE has responded, particularly in relation to the teaching of maths and English, is to develop a series of short projects, linking the relevance and importance of each of these subjects to the vocation chosen by our learners. Our learners appear to be approaching these projects (and the maths and English embedded within them) with a different, more positive mindset. We hope that it will prove a good case study on how, instead of enforcing a single style of teaching, that may no longer serve all our learners, we can move forward in a more collaborative approach. It also fits with our core company values, of being Understanding, Innovative and Inspirational.
Continuing this theme, we recently had the occasion to thank some of our colleagues for their enormous efforts in creating our new website (take a look at www.jace-training.co.uk, if you haven’t already visited us here). We were scratching our heads trying to think of a suitable means of showing our appreciation, by hosting an event but within the confines of the working day. It then dawned on us. We have a training kitchen; we have a catering tutor; we have catering students….let’s link them up!
Our very own ‘chef’s table’ was created in our fully furnished training kitchen and three students set to work to design and then prepare and cook a two-course meal, within a strict budget and under the careful guidance of their tutor. The results surpassed all expectations. The food was delicious and all plates were left completely empty, making for a very easy washing up experience! Better than the food itself though, was the joy of watching the learners utterly energised by taking part in this enterprise and directly putting into practice the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom.
At the end of the meal, one of the students rather cheekily asked about a tip. Keep this up and eat your heart out Gordon Ramsay, was the reply in my head but the table duly ‘coughed-up’ and showed their traditional appreciation to a job well done and all seemed happy with the outcome.
The lessons learnt: firstly, all good theories need to be put into practice, by making the appropriate connections (i.e. keep it real!) and secondly, (as reinforced by our students) if you don’t ask, you don’t get?! In the meantime, we are busily thinking of another reason to organise a thank you lunch!
For all individuals interested about a career in catering, we currently have apprenticeship vacancies with some incredible catering professionals and employers. If you are finishing school or 6th form this summer, you can apply for an apprenticeship with JACE straight away. To find out more about an apprenticeship pathway, or to apply for one of our current vacancies, visit our website: https://jace-training.co.uk/jobs-board/