I have organised many off timetable days in school before. After a few hours of activities, the inevitable happens……a few students become off task and ask to go back to their lessons! What?!?! Who wants to go back to maths lessons!
But in all honesty…I sometimes see where they are coming from. The off timetable days can sometimes become stagnant, with one activity taking place and lasting too long. The students have either completed the task early or struggle to grasp the concept of it. Don’t get me wrong, all the days we have hosted have been hugely beneficial to the students, but only the students who have the motivation to drive themselves. Now this to be fair is the majority of our students but it is still pretty difficult to engage 100% of them, 100% of the time.
So, I entered into the FEO Masterclass expecting much of the same. I was ready to answer the question ‘Do I have to do this?’ with the response ‘You put your name down to do this, so get on and do it!’ . Why should this day be any different?
How wrong I was!
From the off, the presenters captured the students attention. They were not going to let them sit in their seats and hide from the questions that were being asked of them. Instead, they were encouraged to speak out, stand up and to not be afraid to have a go….even if it was wrong. It was better to have a go than not at all.
And this was the message of the whole day. Don’t be afraid to try. And do you know what? Try the students did. They became more confident, suddenly choosing to stand and answer a question rather than waiting to be picked. They were laughing and truly engaging with the presenters.
And the other great thing? They were not sat in one place for too long being talked at. A quick 15 minute presentation, then to their table to work. Another 15 minute presentation, then back to work on their projects. It was building the project piece by piece, brick by brick. Layering up everything they had learnt. And not giving them the chance to be bored.
During the group work time, all the presenters and entrepreneurs went to the groups. They talked, laughed, gave advice and encouraged the groups. They praised them when their work was good, and they continued to build up their confidence throughout the whole day. This showed in the final presentations of the day…given by the students themselves.
And do you know what? Not one student asked me to go back to their lesson! So why is this day different to others? It’s because they understood their audience, expected the highest level of work and commitment from them, but gave them the support, encouragement and fun aspect that they needed to complete the tasks set to them. They genuinely wanted to encourage these students into their own businesses.
Would I recommend the FEO Masterclass? Absolutely! And I can’t wait for next year’s event.
*Please also see an article produced by the school for their website;