Case Studies - ORBITAL (Ireland)
Ennis Community College offers the ORBITAL (Outdoor Resources Brought into Teaching and Learning) programme to 2nd year students. The programme is funded, staffed and provided through collaboration between Ennis Community College, Ennis Schools Completion Programme, Co. Clare VEC, Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Ennis West Partners Bus Company, Clare Sports Partnership and supported by JCSP.
ORBITAL is about learning outside the classroom and is based on a model of experiential learning and offers the students at Ennis Community College the opportunity to experience the curriculum in action. Orbital takes place on Tuesdays from 9.40 am to 12.35/1.15pm for 2nd year students on two week rotation and involves visiting sites in Ennis and its surroundings towards Shannon, Limerick and the Burren.
2. Institutional implementation
Why is ORBITAL part of the Curriculum in Ennis Community College?
Some students have difficulty understanding educational concepts in the classroom environment. What may have seemed less interesting and abstract in the classroom becomes exciting and alive when experienced for real on these visits. It is difficult within a classroom environment to always demonstrate the practical use of a concept or to show how a concept might practically inter-relate with other subjects/situations. With teachers input and suggestions of visits, timing and destinations the visits can correlate directly with the teaching with the classroom thus increasing the learning outcomes for each individual student.
“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand”
Current research indicates that experience based learning is highly effective with students with emotional behavioural difficulties and those with other special needs and has been proven to increase retention rates up to75%. Orbital focuses on ‘practice by doing’ it also provides a focus on building self-esteem, self-confidence and promotes within students good team building and group work skills.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”
What is the purpose of ORBITAL?
SCP staff work with the school by offering alternative learning and educational provisions such as the ORBITAL to cater for the students who due to educational needs, behavioural difficulties or language difficulties cannot engage fully with the mainstream curriculum.