Richard White, Education Inspector/Adviser with Bradford Council's Inspection, Support and Advisory Service was commissioned to observe and interview staff and students taking part in the Self Image Project in 1995/96. His report gave suggestions on how to further develop the quality of the work, particularly focusing on need to take account of the wide spread of ability, interest and experience in the Transition group. He concluded:

"Much of the self-image work is clearly successful in terms of raising student self-esteem and helping each student recognise their personal strengths as well as aspects of themselves that need development. I found that the creation of an environment of trust and respect for individuals enabled even the least confident students to make significant progress. Most students listening and speaking skills improved considerably and they developed confidence in themselves, each other and with tutors and other adults, some showing very significant change over 9 months. This was particularly true of students who had previously been labelled as lazy and who showed a willingness to work hard to achieve expected outcomes."

Richard White followed up his observations with questionnaires to two cohorts of students who had completed the Transition Course. He found that "the most frequently reported best feature of the Transition To Work Course was the Heads Together work (38% of responses)" and former students identified that the self-image work had helped them become more confident, learn new skills, understand and express themselves, get on with other people and "get focused".

Richard suggested a number of ways of improving the effectiveness of the project including that we clarify the objectives of the different elements of the work and develop a structure of simple learning outcomes that are known to tutors and students as a guide to particular projects.

His suggestion has been successfully implemented and what follows is a list of the initial objectives and attributes of the different elements of the Self Image Project:

Who does the teaching?

The Self-Image Project is a partnership between Shipley College and Heads Together. But who are the people that can make creativity a central part of the learning process and what is there background and training?

"One of the strengths of the Project was the professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm of tutors in seeking to build the self esteem of the young people" Richard White, Bradford Education Inspector/Adviser

All the teaching that takes place in the Self-Image Project is carried out as a partnership between professionals from different disciplines; teachers and artists. Rather than expecting each professional to take on the attributes of the other, the Self-Image Project recognises the need for the people or skills that can bring the two disciplines together in an exciting and productive manner - the "gate-keepers". They may come from either or both professions but we believe that a focus on the process of marrying educational objectives with creative opportunities is crucial.

The Self-Image Project will be making a priority of developing further analysis of this process and looking at providing training in future years.


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