In association with the Awarding Body OCN (NI) guidelines, the curriculum design approach emphasised the importance of having a clear pathway for teachers to enable a coherent and fluid learning process which also allowed learners to choose topics and contents within a qualification structure.
This competence-based educational type of formal qualification is not a new concept in the UK for facilitators, mentors, trainers or teachers. However, such a qualification structure is perhaps not as common within many other European Countries and so the partners in this project each designed a unit structured with Learning Outcomes within which their focus not only lay in communicating contend-based knowledge but striving to ensure that attending students would be able to apply such knowledge in professional or personal situations.
Phase 2 of the Compendium Research completed by project partners in 2017 consisted of a series of interviews conducted by all the partners in their own countries and people interviewed were:
• helping professionals (psychologists, counsellors, coaches, social workers, physicians, etc.) who already apply – or could apply – storytelling in their work;
• professional storytellers who already work with people at risk;
• professional storytellers who do not work with people at risk, but are asked to think about a possibility to do that within their present work environment.
The data gathered provided us with sufficient information to develop a course in storytelling where such a course would also be characterized by a more international approach, putting together ideas from different sociocultural and national contexts.
The name of the proposed qualification is WORKING WITH STORIES and the units designed by the partners are:
• Unit 1: Introduction to Working with Stories
• Unit 2: Building Group Dynamics
• Unit 3: How Stories Work
• Unit 4: Listening Competencies
• Unit 5: Narrative Enquiry
• Unit 6: Crafting New Stories
• Unit 7: Cultural and Context
STRUCTURE OF THE CURRICULUM & QUALIFICATION
From our desk research in 2017, we found a number of EU granted projects about storytelling. We focused on those projects using storytelling as an educational tool, or as a tool to empower people and communities. Considering these projects, we can conclude that no other EU life-long learning project is focused on the specific field of storytelling with people at risk groupings. The UK Awarding Body Open College Network UK (OCN UK) was initially set up to cater for such groups and its methodology of accreditation suits this project very well.
All training is organised in a modular basis within a unit based system where Learning Outcomes (LO) are determined and broken down into competences, skills and knowledge called Assessment Criteria (AC).
All further education and training within ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training) is measured and transferred into ECVET points, so it is planned that the entire training covers 2 ECVET points (corresponding to a working time of no more than 50 hours).
Learning Outcomes (LO) – it is important to monitor the students’ learning outcomes on a determined level, therefore LOs are written to reflect what is intended to be learned and the language descriptors used are of great importance, eg “understand”, “describe”, “explore”, “demonstrate” but are flexible enough to allow facilitators, mentors, trainers or teachers to adjust to the level of the learner. There is NO EXAMINATION for learning content.
Assessment Criteria (AC) – assessment sheets are used for all control processes to reflect the review of the learning outcome in detail. These reflect the learning performance of the student and determines if the skill or competence for the LO has been achieved, or if further work needs to be done and further action completed. There is no FAIL – a student will “achieve” ultimately. Language descriptors include words such as “identify”, “experience”, “perform”.