Age to Age
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Project Overview

From Age to Age arose from the desire to raise the profile of speaking and listening in the classroom and from the conviction that opportunities for students to use speaking and listening skills in meaningful, “real life” situations could be rich, inspiring and transformative.

Further research revealed that the importance of speaking and listening skills was being raised in various quarters: in 2008, Taking Stock, a CBI Education and Skills Survey noted: “Oral communication skills are critical, with 39% of employers aware their employees lack these vital skills.” A 2009 OFSTED report on English commented: “The most effective schools used speaking and listening activities successfully to help pupils think for themselves.” (OFSTED: English at the Crossroads)

At the English and Media Centre. We felt the time was ripe for a really exciting and innovative speaking and listening project and when someone came up with the idea of making it intergenerational, we felt that we could do something which had the potential to benefit the school community in the widest sense. Research for the Beth Johnson Foundation: Centre for Intergenerational Practice indicated that younger (under 25) and older (50+) people are the two groups most affected by ageist attitudes, lack of political voice and marginalization, but that intergenerational work had achieved great success in combating some of these issues, as well as in building active communities and promoting citizenship.

Having secured funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we set about recruiting schools and elders’ organisations. The project was structured in two phases – the first in Lambeth and the second in Essex and you can read more about these on the ‘Lambeth’ and ‘Essex’ pages of the website.

In many ways the project exceeded our expectations and we felt that our original instincts had been absolutely right – for some participants the experience was transformative. The teacher training days at the EMC have meant that we have been able to share ideas, pedagogy and inspiration which we hope will help to transform students and teachers’ speaking and listening experiences. We hope this website will support teachers and students in successfully running their own From Age to Age projects.

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Project Overview

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