ENDEAVOUR: Verb try hard to do or achieve something. Noun an attempt to achieve a goal.
The online dictionary definition of the word Endeavour neatly sums up the ethos behind this learning project, begun in 2012. As a teacher I want to challenge and motivate my students in their learning and help them deal with setbacks and problems whilst allowing them ownership of their learning. Students now have so many opportunities available to them that allow them to take their learning in new directions. School projects in my day involved trawling through the limited information available in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ladybird books or the teacher’s general knowledge, and then copying images neatly into a jotter and summarising the key facts. Today I can remember very little of the different breeds of dogs or the Kings and Queens of Britain…
The students who have worked on the Endeavour projects in the three years since it began will hopefully have a much clearer recollection of their learning in the future, and may even be able to relate the skills they began to develop in primary school to those required in their future careers. The personalisation and choice of developing your own project, the usefulness of transferable skills development and the satisfaction of solving problems independently will surely have a more significant impact on their future selves.
One of the first Endeavour participants in primary 7. Keen to be a fisherman like his father this boy wanted to use Endeavour to develop his own lobster fishing business. He wrote to the business teacher at the High School to find out how to do accounts correctly and received a wealth of information, from which he set up spreadsheets to record the lobsters he sold to his father. Then he researched the costs of buying fishing boats online and looked into finance, calculating how much he would need to save up for a deposit. He also researched the life cycle of a lobster and the importance of ethical fishing practices to maintain lobster numbers for the future and created a photo diary explaining the process behind lobster fishing. In the final Endeavour showcase he bought into school lobsters which he sold for a good profit to teachers and parents- they were extremely tasty!
In his Endeavour project he was able to develop the skills for work and possible future career that were relevant to him, and was far more motivated than in other areas of his learning as a consequence. Endeavour projects are a great way to develop skills for life, learning and work in school.