***deadline has now passed. Come back soon to find out more about this project***
I [Peter] was sat playing ‘Undo’ with my children. This problem solving game invites participants into a murder mystery, where you can travel back and forward through time attempting to understand and prevent it. The educational benefit of this was, initially, pretty obvious: it was fun and engaging; the cards were full of text that we took turns reading; the theme introduced new vocabulary; the puzzle of what happened stretched our imaginations; and we practiced talking and cooperating.
But there’s more… things that wouldn’t have occurred to me if my day job wasn’t researching reading interventions. The game provides a series of ambiguous one-word clues. For example, set in a 50’s jazz club, one clue was ‘Bill’. Was this in reference to a person’s name? Was it the list of performers? Or a bill for a customer to pay? Or even something to do with a bird, or a banknote, or a law? Discussion of these ‘tier two’ words is one effective strategy for improving vocabulary and comprehension. Thinking about the meaning of the current clue taps into inference skills, and the game provides an opportunity to explicitly draw out how ideas in the text are linked together. It boosts working memory as multiple interpretations of the story are visualised and participants engage in active reading.
This is naturally embedded into a game – it isn’t overtly educational. But a tiny, and very specific, piece of knowledge about comprehension I’d happened to pick up helped me to realise “this is a part of the game we should linger on a little longer – rather than just choosing the clue, we have an opportunity here to talk about multiple interpretations a little more”.
And this got us thinking. If this one, small, story-telling activity has such hidden depths for exposing children to one part of their education, what else can we engage using games?
Therefore, we’re looking for a qualified and experienced educator to help us get the most educational and social benefit out of gaming. Not by turning games into classroom resources, but by recognising places where the games overlap with the skills children are developing.
We believe gaming offers unique opportunities to engage in educational and social development work with young people. We believe this is due to:
- Increased motivation to engage in learning new skills;
- opportunities to learn and practice unfamiliar vocabulary and contexts;
- exposure to subject-specific content;
- opportunities to cooperate with others, and engage in dialogue and debate;
- practicing learning, understanding, and operationalising rules or instructions;
- learning and practicing numeracy and spatial skills
- use of logic and strategy
- strengthening confidence and self-esteem.
The Gaming & Education Practitioner will help us to unleash the potential of games to support and strengthen the facets of educational and social development that are naturally embedded in games. That is, we are not looking for someone to ‘teach’ a formal curriculum using games as a method of learning. Our ideal candidate is someone who can recognise the innate potential gaming has to be a catalyst for educational and social development in children and young people, and seek to gently capitalise on it. This is a significant part of the new direction for Gamers@Hart; to be more intentional about getting the best from gaming.
Due to restrictions in place for Covid19, in the first instance we will look to card games played in pairs (e.g. Pokemon, YuGiOh and Magic: The Gathering), but we hope to extend this to board games over the coming year.
The ideal candidate will therefore:
- have a post-graduate teaching qualification;
- have experience of teaching KS2 and/or KS3 curricula;
- be able to quickly build rapport with children and young people;
- have significant experience of following safeguarding practices;
- have knowledge and experience of the pastoral support of children;
- be competent at learning new games (for this position, pedagogical knowledge and recognising the potential in gaming is more important than knowing the rules of any specific games – we can teach you that!).
Hours will be variable, and likely to be immediately after school and at the weekend. We strongly recommend a Zoom conversation with the Directors, Jeni and Peter, to find out more before applying. Please message the Gamers@Hart facebook page, or email email@example.com to arrange a convenient time.
£11-15 per hour depending on experience.
Who you will be working with
|Jeni Hart||Peter Hart|
|As one of the directors of Gamers@Hart, Jeni has been the most intimately involved with the project for the last six years. She particularly oversees the administration and food side of the business. Her interest in using gaming as an educational and social resource comes from her background in community development work, her training as an occupational therapist, and her further work as a teaching assistant and through teacher training.||The other director of Gamers@Hart, Peter, is youth worker-turned-researcher. His PhD is in professional ethics in youth work, which led to becoming a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds researching character education and reading interventions. Linking gaming, education, and research is his ideal job!|
|Neil, Anna, Anna, Emily and Dan.||Ian and Becca|
|This is the family of workers who run the regular shop activities including our current set of events, they show people new games, and make sure everyone is well fed and watered.||Our sessional workers come from People’s Meeples, a community organisation closely associated with Gamers@Hart. They are here specifically to run Autism Friendly Nights.|
What you’ll be doing
- Supporting the directors in creating and delivering gaming programmes and clubs aimed at children and young people who enjoy mental challenges, predominantly from 8-12 years old.
- Creating game-based educational resources that can be used by teachers and home schoolers.
- Supporting the development of, and delivering seminars on, the educational and social benefits of gaming.
- Aid in the social development of young people and facilitating relationships within the groups.
- Maintaining the highest level of safeguarding and covid-safe procedures.
What you’ll bring
- A postgraduate teaching qualification
- Experience of teaching in KS2 and/or KS3
- An enthusiasm for gaming
- Substantial experience of safeguarding children
- Experience of facilitating the development of relationships amongst children.
- A demonstrable ability to build rapport with children and young people
You may also bring:
- Pedagogical experience in informal settings (e.g. youth work or after school clubs).
- Experience of board and card games, including Pokemon, YuGiOh and/or Magic: The Gathering
- Experience of writing or leading seminars for parents and/or teachers
- Experience of writing resources for teachers
- Graduate degree in education or child development
How to Apply
Closing date 25th August
Shortlisting will be completed by the end of August for an interview in early September.
The successful applicant will be subject to a DBS check and satisfactory references.