Creative Learning Clubs were developed as a result of passion and enthusiasm expressed by both the students, and PEPY* staff. We were delighted that there was an appetite to further explore the concepts that had been introduced in Creative Learning Classes. Students made use of their free time at school by participating in these clubs, whilst also utilizing the Creative Learning Space and resources, to borrow books and practice their computing skills.
Creative Learning Space
At Chanleas Dai Junior High School there was no library, sports field, or recreational space, meaning that options in which to spend free time were limited. The Creative Learning Space was not a club, or a project, but a classroom which was opened to be accessible to students at any time of the day. The room was stocked with books, XO & PC laptops, LEGO kits, and arts and crafts supplies. Students were granted the freedom to engage in whatever activity they chose, or, if they preferred, they could simply spend time in the space with their friends. A member of the PEPY team staffed the space, and was on hand to provide support and inspiration when necessary.
Engineering Club ran through the second term, and was open to all junior high school students. Through the use of LEGO, the young people were able to learn about basic design, structure, engineering and programming principles. We were fortunate to develop a fantastic relationship with National Instruments and LEGO, who provided donations of materials and training for our team, which were instrumental contributions to the CLC programs.
Book Writing Workshop
The book writing workshop was established in 2011, under the influence of a former PEPY staff member, Riem Noun, who wished to project his passion for literature and story-writing onto the students. The workshops ran over two summers, supplying an opportunity for additional learning fun outside of the school term. The junior high school students in attendance responded with enthusiasm, writing and illustrating stories individually and in groups.
In 2012, the Creative Learning team decided to pilot a Newspaper Club for students in Grades 7 and 8. The club met three times a week, with a focus of developing a range of skills including interview techniques, structuring newspaper articles, and photography. As a result of these sessions, students were able to improve their writing techniques, in addition to learning how to produce short-form journal articles.
- 60 students created their own storybook, including plot, characters, and illustrations in a summer Book Writing Workshop over three months. (2011)
- By perfecting the skills needed to interview community members, Newspaper Club students built confidence in their abilities and strengthened relationships with the community.
- With the use of the LEGO robotics kits, students developed a basic knowledge of programming and structural design.
- By learning the basics of computer repair in our Engineering Club, students kept their XO laptops in good working order at minimal cost.
Challenges / Lessons learned
- A constant challenge faced was ensuring that government teachers at the junior high school were engaged and involved in development of both, PEPY projects, and their school as a whole. The motivation behind this was that by feeling invested in the projects themselves, hopefully the teachers would be more dedicated to executing them successfully.
- These projects were not sustainable without the support of PEPY. While we still maintain that the projects had the potential for long-term sustainability, we had developed a time-bound plan and, as such, the clubs ceased in 2014.
For more detailed information about this program, find our Creative Learning Classes final report here.
These articles may also interest you:
- Homework Club: PEPY’s newest pilot project
- New Newspaper Club fosters young journalists at Chanleas Dai Junior High School
- Enthusiastic Students Continue to Explore Engineering
*Up until January 2015 PEPY Empowering Youth was known as PEPY, read more about our localization here.