Life in the Classroom 

With Head Teacher at The Academy, Ben Clifton.

 

Ever wondered what the academic side of life is like at The Academy? This might give you a better understanding…

As the head classroom teacher at The Academy, my role has many different layers. It includes being there to give all my students feedback on their performance and attitude – for both on the football field and in the classroom – and also being the first person the students see each day at The Academy, as well as doing my best to be a positive role-model and care-giver to every Academy student.

There are so many surprising, engaging and intriguing elements of the Academy curriculum, that it is hard to say which is my favorite subject to teach. The entire curriculum is laced with elements of the football world – from literacy to numeracy –  with a flavour of football that engages the students who may sometimes find it hard to focus and to stay on topic. Some of the exciting current course curriculum elements that we are working on is all about personal development. The students have all recently completed a personality profile to understand and recognise the gifts that both they themselves – and their classmates and other individuals in their lives – bring to a team situation. These results are focused on giving the students an increased level of self-awareness and a better understanding about the impact that an individual’s behavior has on others within a team dynamic.

The entire curriculum is laced with elements of the football world - from literacy to numeracy- with a flavour of football that engages the students who may sometimes find it hard to focus and to stay on topic.

Ben Clifton

The things that we learn about about all the unique individuals within the Academy classroom are taken on board and we try to use and employ these traits in the best possible way, to identify and apply effective communication strategies that will help each individual build stronger relationships – especially in group activities.

We are currently putting these skills to work in very practical ways in our subject called ‘Outside Yourself’. That’s where all students are divided into groups to plan, participate and evaluate their own excursions. The students have to plan an excursion with a learning goal for their fellow Academy classmates. It’s a different way to tackle an assessment and it’s designed to ensure that students can display the knowledge and skills to plan and organise a complex project, while also demonstrating interpersonal skills to communicate ideas and information effectively. It also makes sure students are pulling their weight in a team situation – and it helps make sure that they have the ability to put self-management skills into action and make sure goals are actually achieved.

I’ve already listed some of the knowledge and employability skills that course module ‘Outside Yourself’ is aimed at teaching and getting each student to absorb as a part of daily life.

One great outcome is that, because the subject has a big emphasis on the demonstration of leadership – something that is reflected in all the current course learning material – the students feel empowered to actively display their knowledge of leadership styles. The sense of independence it gives them is fantastic!

This excursion assessment is a forum for them to use their ability to lead, participate and gain a number of very handy skills that will be relevant in so many aspects of their lives. Most importantly, it gives the students a sense of being in control of their own learning – leaving them with the improved self-belief that gives them a greater tendency to participate in independent learning.

School can be different than what you think – The Academy is an experience that has an impact for a lifetime.

It gives the students a sense of being in control of their own learning.

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