Approach

At Forest School Singapore, we believe fervously in the importance of community spirit. As the famous saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. With Singapore’s history of kampungs in the 1950s – 1970s, we certainly resonate strongly with that.  Our motto at the Forest Singapore is to be the Village that helps to raise the child. In our village, we believe that children come with their own knowledge and we can mutually learn from one another. In that sense, we refrain very much from telling them what they should do. Instead, we believe in getting them to explore with their senses and arrive at their own decision, under our facilitation.

We continually assess whether a child is in the basic, intermediate, advanced or graduate stage. The coaches play an instrumental role understanding the child, then working with the child and the community in overcoming any personal challenges as well as identifying their key strengths. Facilitation and coaching are our main style of delivery.

We intentionally raise independent, and socially conscious thinkers who will become the next generation’s leaders. All aspects of growth and development are covered in Forest School’s holistic and forward thinking program – Social, Physical, Intellectual, Communication, Emotional and Spiritual.

Forest School carries a space that empowers the child. Within this space, the child is expected to grow in terms of competence in all areas from unconscious incompetence to beyond unconscious competence in accordance to the Burch’s Competence Model. This model is further elaborated below.

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Burch’s Competence Model: One of the Science of Learning Which We Strongly Believe In

Stage 1 – Unconscious Incompetence

This stage is described as “blissful ignorance” where learners are not aware that a skill or knowledge gap exists.  Learners don’t actually see the need for a particular skills and if they do think about it at all, they assume it’s either way beyond them or too easy for them to bother with. To move past this stage, learners need to find themselves in situation where they struggle and realize that they actually do need to learn something. An example of unconscious competence would be when a person may not want to learn how to drive until they are faced with a situation where they have to learn how to drive.

Stage 2 – Conscious Incompetence

Most people view this stage as the most uncomfortable phase as most people are used to feeling a certain level of competence in other spheres of their life. However, at this stage you start to recognize that you are not very good at certain skills or activities. It could be humiliating and embarrassing for the learner. However, acknowledgement of one’s incompetence prods one to improve and train and eventually becoming competent. It is very tempting for learners to give up when they are at this stage. Hence, learners at this stage need constant encouragement, support and examples of people who have successfully mastered the skill. Feedback on performance should be given frequently to facilitate improvements in the process.

Stage 3 – Conscious Competence

At this stage, the learner begins the adventure towards utmost competency. A consciously competent individual dedicate himself to the improvement of his skill by undertaking repeated practice, participation and formal training of the skill. The skill can be practiced but only under conscious effort and attention. One useful technique to move on to the next stage is to teach the skill to another individual.

Stage 4 – Unconscious Competence

As you build experience and expertise, you reach the stage of unconscious competence where you do not have to think about the activity you’re engaged in. When people are at this level, engagement in the skills look effortless. The unconsciously competent person can often engage in other activities while engaging in the skill they are unconsciously competent in. However, this could make it difficult for trainers to understand that their learners are still undergoing stage 1 or 2. Hence, the trainers need consciously remember to assume the role of learners, perhaps by attending a training course by watching other trainers at work.

Stage 5 – Beyond Conscious Competence

While it is not included in the Burch’s competence model, many are campaigning for the inclusion of the fifth stage. This stage of competence means that not only can the person practice the skills with grace and ease, he/she can also step outside of him/herself to see what they have done and identify the steps and underlying thought process. They become observers of their own skills.

If you’re keen to learn more about how this approach is conceived, you can read more at our education website: https://forestschooleducationseries.wordpress.com/
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