With the delivery of the Unplugged programme now well underway, we are keen to share our own, and participants’ experience.
The Unplugged UK pilot started in September 2015, with the recruitment of 10 secondary education institutions (including mainstream secondary schools, Special Needs schools and Pupil Referral Units).
To present, Mentor has delivered two training sessions. The first Unplugged training took place on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th January in Salford, Greater Manchester, whilst the second was held on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd February in Cannock, Staffordshire.
The Unplugged training
Professor Peer van der Kreeft, from University College Ghent, the programme developer, delivered the training. During the training the teachers played the role of their pupils in order to better understand their feelings, problems, fears, and expectations and tested delivery of some of the Unplugged lesson plans on the rest of the group. The training also highlighted the importance of developing positive group dynamics and a safe classroom environment in which to discuss the topics that are covered by the Unplugged programme.
Teachers’ feedback revealed that all participants highly valued the training approach used. In particular, teachers valued the interactivity and participation encouraged in the training, which allowed them to find new ways of creating and delivering lessons.
This is a positive characteristic of the Unplugged training, differing from other approaches which are mainly focused on information provision and passive learning. Another important aspect of the training is that teachers, by understanding this specific positive characteristic, will ensure it is taken into account to shape their teaching approaches accordingly. Participants also noted that most activities helped them to adapt their practice in terms of lesson preparation and delivery.
At the training, teachers clearly recognised activities and approaches which, according to their views and expertise, would benefit their students drastically (specifically referring to better behavioural management, better engagement, and better understanding of group dynamics).
“Training was interactive and thought provoking”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the training and programme. Thank you”
“Very enjoyable and informative”
Mentor is incredibly excited to have already trained 10 schools in Salford and Cannock, allowing over 500 children to benefit directly from an evidence-based prevention programme. We are confident on the impact this will have on these children and many more in the coming months.
Our perception following the initial stage of the programme is interesting, as it shows the demand for the programme from Special Education schools and Pupil Referral Units. We hope that at the end of the pilot of the Unplugged programme we will not only have evidence of what works in prevention but also more information about the gap in terms of possible beneficiaries.
For more information about Unplugged, click here.