Re-engineering learning: CI Projects is One Degree Academy’s VIP Guest

Children spend 6.5 hours a day for 8 years during their primary school education preparing them for life after school. But only a few revolutionary schools intentionally reverse engineer their curriculum in order for their
students to be world ready.

One Degree Academy in Enfield is a great example of this with one of its core values being raising aspirations and building cultural capital. Their students are exposed to a wide array of different cultural experiences – ranging from learning how to network and shake someone’s hand, to visiting the Theatre or
attending a Black-Tie event or residential trip.
In line with this, they run ‘VIP Talks’, where their students get to meet professionals and practise their soft skills, listening and the art of conversing meaningfully with a range of people. This initiative aims to raise the aspirations of our children by opening their eyes to a range of possibilities and career options that can lie ahead of them. It opens up opportunities for career role models beyond their own circle.

CI Projects’ Director, Kiran Kachela, was privileged to take part in a VIP Talk over Google Hangouts on Friday January 11th . Her audience were Year 1 and Year 2 students who were guided by their teachers to ask questions about her education, job, skills and work environment.

They were also encouraged to ask their own questions which revealed what they were interested in. The 6 and 7 year olds wanted to know about Kiran’s family structure – if she was married or had children. Perhaps there are lessons to learn from this innate interest in the person as a whole. Interestingly, they also wanted to know if she had worked in America or Asia. Is this a coincidence or is the industrious culture of these continents obvious to little children?

The idea of working from home fascinated the children and hopefully prompted a shift in perception. Remote working has been previously associated with low-paying jobs and rarely connected with a full-time professional career. The children were able to see how technology is changing this trend and enabling better work-life balance.

There were some ‘ewww’ moments when Kiran shared about her first job as a help desk operator taking calls about blocked toilets! When she described her work with the Ministry of Justice, the youngsters wanted to know why people go to prison and what life in prison is like and you can imagine the discussion that stemmed from that. Learning like this is hard to be achieve in a traditional curriculum therefore events like these are priceless!

Video conferencing with the students of One Degree Academy was a great opportunity for them to enhance their questioning skills, strengthen their confidence in speaking with adults on relevant topics, articulating their questions and interests clearly. It was also good for them to be exposed to real-working people and their experiences, to widen their awareness of opportunities and how they can work hard from now to achieve this.
For CI Projects, it was fun and rewarding to engage with the youth – a cause we are very passionate about.