A good deal of learning in store

WEA Tutor Kasia Webb’s recent report on the WEA’s West Midland Region’s website shows an imaginative and practical approach to teaching and learning. I’ve copied the text and photographs below.


In December the Spoken English group from Leigh Road School went on a trip to the local Tesco supermarket. Armed with a task sheet, learners organised themselves into small groups of 2 or 3 to find the answers to questions, based on finding items and working out prices and good deals.

Learners were very positive about their the day out and said they found it useful and interesting.

One learner said, “I enjoyed the trip and it helped me understand special offers”.

Another said, “Before I didn’t know what 3 for 2 meant”, and another said, “I now know how I can make savings when I go shopping and I learnt a lot of new words”.

Despite the rain learners really enjoyed the trip, and all were unanimous in the feedback: “We want to do another trip!”


Equality of understanding is a fairness issue and it’s good to see learning that is so relevant to people’s day-to-day lives, especially when personal and family budgets are tight for so many people. (Wonder if there’s a nearby Co-operative supermarket?)

About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1GI0QK1

9 Responses to A good deal of learning in store

  1. joaniepthemadhatter says:

    What a great idea – very innovative! Who would have thought that a trip to Tesco could prove to be so enlightening!

  2. Pingback: A good deal of learning in store « JoanieP The Mad Hatter's Corner

  3. Think we all need one of these courses, supermarket offers can be incredibly complicated for the general public to work out and there are many examples where the offers are more expensive than the regular prices, well done to the WEST MIDLANDS and the creativity of the WEA for carrying out such an informative and interactive learning experience !

  4. More field trips! That’s what we all need. So much fun, and so many things to learn, both on topic and off on a tangent.

  5. Yes, this is a nice example, and easily adapted for other purposes. It reminded me that Jean Lave, one of the brains behind the idea of communities of practice, wrote a very good book on mathematics in everyday life. In particular, she investigated women shoppers in a grocery store, and studied their practical mathematic ability in tackling ‘best buy’ calculations. She then compared the findings with a simulation exercise in a formal class. People who were highly competent in the supermarket aisle were apparently helpless in a formal setting. It’s an interesting book. If you want to follow it up, the title is ‘Cognition in Practice’, and Cambridge Uni Press published it in 1988.

  6. maureenrussell says:

    Here in the West Midlands we’ve been encouraging our ESOL tutors to take learners out on trips for the past year or so – and this approach has been very successful. Other trips have included visits to museums: Birmingham’s art gallery, The Back to Back museum, The Black Country Museum and Aston Hall. Apart from that, learners have taken the bus or Metro into the city centre, visited the town hall, the Cathedrals etc. These trips are not just jollies! All required sessions preparing for the trip, developing appropriate vocabulary and so on; there were tasks to complete during the trip and follow on work afterwards.

    Tutors were initially a bit put off by having to fill in risk assessment forms and thought it would be too much hassle, but after a couple of tutors tried it and shared their experiences with others, most of the other tutors followed suit – and all have said how positive these trips have been and well worth any extra work involved. They feel these trips have been good for them as tutors: they have excited and motivated them which in turn has resulted in more creativity in their preparation and delivery.

    More importantly, tutors have noticed an improvement in learner motivation and attendance – and feel that learners have gained real confidence, skills and knowledge. For example, many learners said they had never been on a bus or tram by themselves before or asked for a ticket; some said they’d always wanted go inside the Cathedral but wasn’t sure of what to do or whether they’d be welcome; others were fascinated to learn how people in England lived in the past…

  7. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Ann Walker says:

      Thanks for getting in contact. Off-topic is fine.

      I’m an enthusiatic amateur in all of this and don’t claim any expertise. I’m using the Enterprise theme on WordPress, after a few early attempts with different themes. I’ve just added a header photo montage and a logo, using the widget menu to insert an image.

      I don’t know much about the other platforms that you’ve mentioned although I’ve explored Blogger. I’ve found that WordPress is fairly intuitive to use and I like its connectivity with other bloggers. I use the ‘Reader’ feature to read blogs that I follow as well as using its search function.

      Good luck with your blog.

Thoughts, comments or links to other resources? Click here to add.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: