Take learning out of the classroom with Ocean Youth Trust

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland provides adventurous youth work voyages where young people build skills and gain qualifications. One teacher tells us about her experience of sailing with OYT Scotland.

Funded through the Pupil Equity Fund and the Scottish Attainment Challenge Fund, she and a colleague were able to bring along a group of 10 young people for a week full of challenges and adventure.

What was the experience like for you?

We were conscious of the relationship power imbalance. With the emphasis on team work and living together in a restricted space, we realised that as teachers, how we are perceived in school would have to change on the boat.

The result was liberating for the young people and for us. We got on so well and we did the same tasks as the young people.

It was great for them to see us mucking in, cleaning the toilets, doing the cooking and cleaning. We were treated exactly the same as them and the barriers that are created within a school environment disappeared. It felt like they looked at us as older people that had knowledge we could give them, someone they could trust and get advice from.

Did anything change on the voyage?

Whilst our primary role is to ensure young people get their qualifications, it was good for them to see the more light-hearted side of us. I think they realised that they could get on or actually like a teacher.

They gelled with us as human beings; our interests, our personalities, our sense of humour. Because of that they were and still are more open to talk to you about things and I have a stronger relationship with them.

Have you noticed any changes since returning to school?

I was a bit worried when we came back and having to revert back to a more formal teaching role. I was concerned how the young people would react. However, that hasn’t happened, they’ve been so respectful.

Before the voyage, one young person always made negative comments about the school. Since she’s come back her whole attitude has changed, she is more positive and she changed massively. One boy who was on the trip was someone who, in the past, saw me as the person who asked him why he was late or enquired if he had a note for me and would never speak to me in registration. Today we sat down and had nice chat about how he was doing.

Bring your group on a voyage and see the difference it makes for yourself. Contact Alistair Carter on 01475 722 722 or email alistair@oytscotland.org.ukfor more information.

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