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). Mentor delivered two training sessions in February 2016: one in Salford, Greater Manchester, and another 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 focus more 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 recognised activities and approaches they felt would drastically benefit their students, especially: behavioural management, improved engagement, and better understanding of group dynamics.
We are thrilled 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 about the impact this will have on these children and many more in the coming months.
Our findings following the initial stage of the programme are interesting; we’ve seen a particular 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 how to close the gap in terms of possible beneficiaries.
For more information about Unplugged, click here.
Testimonials from participants:
Training was interactive and thought provoking
I thoroughly enjoyed the training and programme. Thank you!
Very enjoyable and informative