Education Programme

"We are living in a new economy - powered by technology, fuelled by information, and driven by knowledge."

The education model that had been traditionally rolled on in Matt Talbot incorporated modular learning reinforced by one to one mentoring support, focus on study skills and assignment completion. We felt that a number of elements approaches.

We felt that critical thinking, problem solving and communication were constant themes that shone through in other aspects of programme content and our revised educational approach should emanate from this concept.

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What is Project Based Learning and How Will This Approach Be Applied to Our Work in Matt Talbot?

Much of life requires solving problems or overcoming challenges via the input of two or more individuals. From learning to walk, write or speak, to conducting research. When we change our thinking to recognising that these problems or challenges to overcome can be viewed as projects, our capacity to effect change becomes much more solution focussed. This forms the basis of the PBL approach and imbedded into this is the development of the core skills of

  • Critical Thinking

    An ability to transcend simple recollection of information and upgrade to logical reasoning via analysing information and applying correlating knowledge-based principals.

  • Communication

    The ability to share information, ideas, arguments and narrative clearly and correctly according the situation.

  • Cooperation

    The ability to pool resources for the success of the group or project, whether the resources are information or ideas

Next Steps to Achieve our Ambition

As is evident from the above, the move to PBL requires a shift in thinking and approach to all programme content and activity to support the proposed model.

Over the last two years Matt Talbot have begun to lay the foundations to build towards this highly impactful approach.

1. Ownership of Programme

Each participant works with core staff to populate their timetable on a weekly basis with activities, courses, appointments etc. that support their identified career plan and build in skills that will support them to the follow through on agreed tasks. The participant is required to email their timetable to the programme manager. It is the participant who decides how can I best make use of my time and work on my identified goals; manage and schedule appointments and decide on goals and tasks

2. Future Options programme

For the above to work effectively, the approach requires the participant to learn across a range of skills (research, communication, digital technology) and take responsibility for the completion of agreed tasks and actions. This approach is imbedded into our Future Options process based on our Work In, Work Through and Work Out Stages correlating to Assessment Phase (Work In)– getting to know your values, beliefs and recognising skills through use of career portal, workshops on soft skill development , work place tours, general work experience; Research and testing Phase (Work Through) – identification of aligned courses, research and investigation into career options, mentoring support, more specific work experience and for longer phases, going out into community more which might include volunteerism; Work Out – exiting phase specialised courses, longer-term work experience, career coaching (examples include E-mentoring support with Deloitte which has now progressed to specialised work experience in the payroll section of Deloitte, one-off bespoke mentoring support in business set up and management through EIR)

3.Peer to Peer Learning

We have encouraged the sharing of skills at peer level within the participant group on a one to one and group level in a number of programmes that have been piloted and are current. Examples are Missing Ingredients Programme which was designed and facilitated by an ex-participant the focus of this was on the development of communication skills, decision making and research through cooking; skill exchange sessions and mentoring support to include literacy support and study skills. Some of this approach has been used to mentor peers in the community through engagement in Smart Recovery.

4.Programme Activity

We are currently running a Smart Recovery weekly programme. This a peer-led scientific recovery model based on the principles of CBT, REBT and Motivational Interviewing. The programme places emphasis on self- responsibility, social interest, tolerance and commitment. As the group develops it will become self-perpetuating in that group members will train in Smart techniques to be able to establish community-based Smart Recovery meetings. To date one participant has successfully completed the training and is now sharing their skills with a local organisation.

5. Piloted Programmes

such as the Living History Project allowed us to apply the PBL techniques to our Literacy Programme. This culminated in our group agreeing the subject matter, researching, applying the learning to group discussion, power point presentation, creating and organising and running a “guided tour “including production of brochures for all group members.

Balance for Better Programme for International Women’s Day: Creating a visual and audio exhibition on Gender Inequality and hosting this in Ballyfermot Library and a local Conference.

6. Impact Days with Companies

The days are planned and run out using the PBL principles to include allocation of roles, completion of tasks, communication at team level, budgeting and use of digital technology where applicable

We believe that this approach is an effective working methodology in proactively addressing the holistic needs of our participant group in that it promotes challenging ways of thinking, encouraging ownership of the outcome of interventions, promotion of peer to peer learning and support, becoming independent of services and promoting volunteerism and a giving back to community.