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Project Management and Developing our Future Generations

COMMENTARY

By Mark Reeson 

UK
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Introduction

It has been recognised for many years now that children learn better and faster through an interactive approach far more than they do within a stale classroom environment that dulls or stifles a child’s development.  With this in mind, in March 2010 I set about trying to understand the capacity of learning by children and adults alike and then with the assistance of family, friends and colleagues who have had experience of the schooling system developed a programme that I called ‘Living Learning’ and then over the last two and a half years, created a programme with them that has resulted in what it is hoped will fundamentally change how children learn the topic of project management not just now but also for the future.

From the early days of preschool and kindergarten children were challenged to learn but this was always about learning and developing through play.  Children would spend their day moulding materials, dressing up, and charging around and falling over each other outside.

Somewhere however, over the past few years early school years have become the new first grades where the focus of the school day has turned to results orientation and passing tests to meet targets with much more time being spent solely around the preparatory work, but although the fundamental skills of reading and arithmetic are still valuable and essential parts of learning, the practical demonstration of how and when these skills can be used has been lost, so when did interactive learning suddenly become a dirty word?

What seemed to happen was that schools suddenly started to cram more and more into their curriculum to ensure that they fit the targets set by organisations, trusts or governments; something had to give somewhere and it was often the aspect of ‘playtime’, the arts, and the other non-academic pursuits that they had valued for so many years.  Many of the schools at this stage argued that this then set the precedence so that the further a child went through the schooling system; the more they were directed towards targets and less about practical application of the learning and real life skills that would be used for the future.  It was becoming a case of putting a whole lot more into school curriculums, but with nothing really coming out as a result, leading to a child’s time in school gradually being eaten away.

Many experts warned that by removing the interactive learning out of a child’s school day was not the answer and that is was damaging in the long term.  “Interaction is important because it helps to build social and personal skills that everyone is looking for in 21st-century learning.  It doesn’t take away from their learning, if anything it enhances it,” stated Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and co-author of Einstein Didn’t Use Flash Cards (Rodale, 2003).

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About the Author

flag-ukpmwj17-dec2013-reeson-AUTHOR IMAGEMark Reeson

United Kingdom

Mark Reeson is a project management specialist with twenty nine years’ experience, is a Fellow of the Association of Project Management (APM), and has been involved in many project and programme consultative roles.  He has recently been appointed a Registered Project Professional with APM and is a recognised Sustainability Management Global Advisor.  Having started his career in the Royal Air Force, Mark has continued to develop by working and delivering projects in the nuclear, training and international sporting field.

Mark has developed his role through further experience with the nuclear industry and is now the owner of M R Project Solutions and fulfils the role of Project Management Advisor.  His role is very much client facing and Mark now regularly travels the world meeting clients and training and developing their project families for the International Institute for Learning.  Mark’s main role is the development and the consultation with many organisations on ensuring they choose the right approach or methodology to deliver their projects and then follows this up with the correct bespoke training programmes for how their company wants to share this learning with their staff members.  Mark has been very successful in the public sector particularly with the County and City Councils, already having developed a number of methodologies and recently has just launched two training programmes with an insurance company and another nuclear organisation.

Mark recently was asked to take a temporary role within a financial company to assess how they would best introduce a project methodology to improve their turnover and delivery efficiency.  Mark has also had success with his new unique approach to training and mentoring project managers and has recently authored and has become the advocate of ‘Living Learning in the Project Management Community’.

Mark is hoping in the future to develop this further to spread the knowledge and competency available through this approach to many more organisations worldwide.

Mark’s latest success has been the introduction of Project Management for Future Generations which has gained great acclaim already within Africa, Europe and the United States.  In Mark’s own words, “Long may the development of our children continue and project management has a role to play in that.”

Mark Reeson can be contacted at [email protected].