• Olivia Halsall

OLEA’s Electi: An Online Sunday Club Installing 21st Century Skills For Children Aged 8-11

Updated: Apr 29

As I continually strive to bridge the gap between academic research and educational practice on the ground, I wanted to share an inspiring report I recently came across. The National Literacy Trust published findings from their tenth Annual Literacy Survey and found that 2 in 5 children attest to the fact that writing makes them feel better, and that “the link between writing and mental wellbeing was further strengthened when children engaged in creative forms of writing”. Creative forms of writing may include poetry, plays, short stories, song lyrics, short personal and reflective essays, television scripts - the list goes on.

While each one of us had very different lockdown experiences, according to the report, many young people felt that they had more time to think and generate ideas, that they were inspired to write, and that lockdown made more digital writing formats available to them. It got me thinking. What is it about the cathartic, relaxing nature of writing that makes us feel so much better about everything?

Hearing from my students about how bad the lockdown situation was getting in Shanghai, I decided to take action and ignite a writing spark that could take their minds off things. I launched a one-off storytelling workshop for students in China who were feeling increasingly mentally drained by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Designed as an informal, one-hour session, students were sent worksheets in advance and asked to print these so as to limit their screen time.

I took them through the ins and outs of a story plot using my own example of a short story on happiness. Through each element of the story, from the exposition to the resolution, students were encouraged to adapt the story’s plot and characters to their own imagination wonders. Needless to say, the workshop was a success and the feedback from parents and students alike was brilliant!

“Thank you for this workshop! Your teaching style is very gentle and encouraging for the children. My son picked up many new interesting words and was captivated throughout the workshop. Thank you!” - Mother of 12-year-old boy, Beijing.

Off the back of this success, I am going to be rolling out a live, weekly online Sunday Club for students aged 8-11 to engage in writing, all the while enhancing their 21st century skills. OLEA’s Electi is a series of live, online workshops to install 21st century skills through OLEA’s Foundational Pillars (IQ, EQ, SQ, AQ and CQ). We encourage collaboration, empathy and communication for students to enhance their international intelligence. Workshops will center largely around storytelling, poetry, reading, critical thinking, creative writing and interdisciplinary problem solving.

Given the international and multilingual nature of our workshops, we look for open-mindedness, creativity and a willingness to cooperate and empathise with others among our OLEA study body. Workshops are delivered via zoom on Sunday morning (UK time) to students aged 8-11. To reiterate the international element of these workshops, further research has found that "39.5% of multilingual young people enjoy writing, compared with 29.9% of their monolingual peers". This is a really exciting statistic and demonstrates the potential enjoyment multilingual students can saturate from this workshop.

What makes OLEA’s Electi so unique?

  • A unique curriculum based on research from the University of Cambridge.

  • Worksheets are sent in advance to encourage students to physically write.

  • Workshop seminars are structured similarly to Oxbridge tutorials.

  • A supportive and ambitious environment for students to cultivate their minds.

  • An international, multilingual environment to foster communication skills.

  • Payment via WeChat or Alipay for China-based students.

Please email olivia@oleaeducation.com, or contact +44 7563414137 to secure your place!

Written by: Olivia A. Halsall

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