Thursday, 16 April 2009

GX Week 3

Monday 6th April

I'm aware that I might not have explained very well exactly what Catch 22 and e2e are. Catch 22 is a youth charity aiming to help young people in need learn, earn a living, find somewhere safe to live, steer clear of crime and give something back. Catch 22 runs a number of projects aiming to address one or more of these needs. the project I and Olga are mainly work with is entry to employment or e2e which aims to help young people with no or few qualifications learn and gain skills and qualifications to help them find employment or enter further training. It's basically like a short college course. Here's the information from the Catch 22 website:

'Some young people find themselves out of the education system at an early age and, with no qualifications, it is difficult to get a job. Essex Entry to Employment service provides education and training for young people aged between 16 and 18 who are not in employment, education or training. Each year we offer 60 young people a supportive and creative setting where they can study up to six courses. This helps them gain qualifications, build life skills and encourages positive choices.
Young people who are referred to the service attend an introductory day, where we work with them to find out what they need to move forward. Then we devise a flexible programme of activities for up to 22 weeks, with a minimum attendance time of 16 hours a week.
The young people gain accreditations in:
Numeracy and Literacy level 1
NCFE Airport Skills (Customer services)
OCN Employability
CLAIT (OCR IT course)
First Aid
Food Hygiene
The young people usually stay actively involved with our project for an average of 26 weeks. And we achieve above the national average for the amount of young people who go into work for over six weeks.'

There we go. Olga and I act like classroom assistants working one to one with some learners but also helping with some of the paperwork and lesson planning. In the future we may be leading some of the lessons ourselves.

There was not much to do again at Catch 22 today. We sat around for a while in the morning though I was greatful for the time to update my blog. Around 11am we sat in on teh e2e staff meeting after which our placement supervisior Di had a chat with us. She hopes that we will be able to spend a little time workign with some of the other projects run by Catch 22 across Essex, which could be really interesting. Di had to close e2e for tomorrow because too of staff shortages due to sickness so we will be spending the day with Matt and his engage group (not explaining that project too!). We spent the rest of the afternoon making a quiz and display about Kazakhstan which will be presented to the learners and hopefully spark some debate and a literacy exercise. Di was going to the college so she dropped us off in town around 3pm where I had a look around the shops and bought some materials to make my learning journal (a record of the learning experienced on GX based around the Global Citizenship Framework).

Tuesday 7th April

Olga and I spent the morning working on our Kazakhstan display. After lunch we went with Matt and six sixteen year olds from his engage project. All six were still in school but not attending for various reasons. The aim of engage (or youth east) is to engage them in something and encourage and help them back into education, training and employment. Similar to e2e except that the course is only 4 days and works with young people who are the hardest to reach and are unlikely to go into connecxions etc. Catch 22 has to go out and find them. I don't know how they do that though so don't ask. It was really sad to hear some of the young people say that school had given up on them. A traditional school is not the best learning environment for everyone we need to find a way to offer these people alternative routes without them feeling that they have been given up on. Today the group were going to Lambourne Outdoor Activity Centre for team building. Everyone took part including Olga and I and they worked really well as a team. Much better than I had expected. We even managed to get everyone over the 10ft wall! After dinner I headed round to one of the other host homes for our MPR committee meeting, where I had a strange encounter on the bus. A few stops after mine a guy got onto the bus and asked the driver if he were going to the train station. The driver said that he was not but that he was going to the bus station which would be his best option. The driver tried to explain how to get to the station but the guy exclaimed that he was from Exeter and didn't know Harlow at all. The guy got on to the bus and sat a few seats behind me then attempted to get the attention of a girl sitting in the seat opposite who was listening to her i-pod. Having a map in my bag and knowing how confusing a new town can be I decided to do my good deed for the day. I moved a few seats back and offered him the use of my map. I explained what the bus station looked like (you can't miss it)and that it would be best to try and get another bus from there as the walk to the train station looked to be a pretty long way. With the directions resolved for the time being I asked what he was doing in Harlow, to be told that he had recently found out that he had sister, had tracked her down to Harlow and had made his way to her house to contact her. However when he got there she wasn't in so he'd left a note. With that explained I told him about Global Xchange and what I do was doing in Harlow until we reached my stop and I got off wishing him luck with finding the station and getting in contact with his sister.

Wednesday 8th April

This morning at Catch 22 half the group went to Stanstead Airport whi8le we were left behind to do maths. I was pleased that I managed to get a level 2 on the self assessment as I have been finding some of the level 2 questions which are equal to GSCE grades C-A* challenging. In the afternoon we did a session on equality and diversity with an interesting game showing how society rewards certain identities which might be good for a GCD. For me however it was not practical to do outside as the skirt I was wearing kept blowing up in the minimal wind. After dinner we headed to Bishops Stortford Cinema to take advantage of Orange Wednesdays and watch 'The Boat that Rocked'. The film was enjoyable enough but seemed to go on a bit meaning I had to miss the very end as I was desperate for the toilet and that we missed the last bus in Harlow. After some amount of stressing and debate we shared taxis. On the short walk back to our host home I tried to make conversation about the film but Gulnara siad that she didn't enjoy it and didn't like rock music and that was where the conversation ended.

Thursday 9th April

Helped the learners compare tabloid and broadsheet newspapers before creating their own article by taking a story in one of the papers and putting their own twist on it to mixed success. The afternoon was spent on more maths. the difference in some of the learner when they get some one to one attention is quite remarkable. I had to do some work on the internet for the MPR which was a total waste of time as after I finished I received an e-mail from Ali changing the dates. In the evening Ilma took us to a baby shower where everyone seemed to be wondering what we were doing there as I explained the complexities of GX over and over again.

Friday 10th April

Ben and Misha led the first GCD on social responsibility, or "how our daily choices affect others". As to be expected teh discussion of individual social responsibility was continually overshadowed by teh concept of corporate responsibility. Firstly we brained stromed ideas about what social responsibility is: How decisions affect others, individual actions, decisions and consequences, forming a clear moral framework and living by it. Then socially responsible actions:buying fairtrade, giving blood, recycling, saving energy, volunteering, using public transport, walking, cycling, car sharing, donating products/money to charity, buying the big issue, helping strangers, reading/watching the news to gain awareness of global issues, informing others, organ donation. Next we did some role plays of social responsibilty showing, helping the elderly, donating and buying clothes from charity shops (which you know I love!), helping the homeless, giving blood and how one good deed can breed another. After a much needed tea and coffee break we did an exercise known as a day in the life of where we had to think about how to make each action during our day socially responsible. Our group took to the extreme growing our own veg, keeping livestock and listening to the news on a windup radio to stay informed but not waste energy. Next we discussed issues of difficulty, effort and cost around following a socially responsibile lifestyle, for example, poorer people are going to be more concerned about getting food on the table than wether it is fairtrade or locally produced. After lunch we watched a video in Russian about a boy whose mother was HIV positive. It was hard to follow but I think the point was that instead of accepting being a victim he took a socially responsibile action of educating others about HIV & AIDS. We then took part in a social responsibility version of dragons den which was a good idea but everyone was starting to feeling very tired and check the clock. Finally we looked at global, national, community and individual levels of social responsibility and part took in a brief discussion about corporate responsibility. Everyone was seriously flagging by the afternoon. I felt sorry for Ben and Misha as they had worked so hard but underestimated the time discussion and translation would take. In the end they had to drop around a third of their material. They were unfortunate also as being Good Friday the buses were poor and many of us had to walk from our host homes to the bus station. then when we arrived at the venue in Bishops Stortford it was locked so we had to use the offices of the real life trust which made a poor venue being small, dark and hot. Plus everyone was very conscious of the time as we had made a commitment to be at the Harlow Playhouse for 7pm. In an ultimate show of hypocrisy after the session we had a quick dinner in McDonalds. Back in Harlow at the Playhouse we watched an enjoyable but somewhat amaturish production of the Nutcracker ballet. As usual once the show had finished everyone just stood around. Still feeling pretty ill I only wanted to go home. Gulnara did not and we had our first counterpart arguement. In the end unable to walk home alone we both stayed with different people and agreed to talk in the morning.

Saturday 11th April

Gulnara and I cleared the air this morning after discussing how we felt about last night. We agreed to forget about it and had a hug. I hope that we can both start to be more considerate of each other. Bishops Stortford Football Club had donated free tickets so in the afternoon we all headed off to the ground , engaging in another half an hour walk from the station to the ground. Seriously I've been doing sooo much walking! I did not enjoy the football. It was cold and wet. I don't understand the rules and the players spend far too much time rolling around on the floor with 'injuries' for my liking. Give me a rugby match any day. The score was 0 - 0. We headed back to Harlow with everyone (the UK volunteers at least) seeming relieved that nothing is planned for the evening or tomorrow. I think everyone needs a rest and Gulnara and I need to plan our GCD.

Sunday 12th April

Finally a relaxing day! I caught up on some reading and some paperwork while Ilma and Gulnara were at their churches. Then in the afternoon we started planning our GCD. We had the basic plan down in an hour. I hope that we haven't gone too far in learning from Ben and Misha and planned too little. We need to do some research on our chosen topic, immigration and refugees (we had to change from our original choice after being told that Kate and Dina's GCD falls on a celebration of culture in Kazakhstan so they should do 'ways of working with different cultures') and finalise the plan on Wednesday/Thursday. We had a nice chat over dinner and headed to bed reasonably early.

Ben and Misha conducting the first GCD

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