Anna Devitt founded DirectDevitt Comedy & Confidence using her own personal experience and research to create a learning environment where all learners can achieve.
In her own words, “DirectDevitt started as a small idea using my own comedy career and knowledge of how laughter really helped people overcome sad times. Often I would come off stage and people would come over and say, “Thank you, I really needed to laugh today”. These little moments and my own mental health battles got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be good to spread more laughter?”
Anna Devitt devised, develops and delivers the Comedy & Confidence qualifications through which students are taught to use comedy as a medium to battle mental ill-health and build self-confidence and emotional resilience. Each programme encourages participants’ creativeness and offers hands-on experience of performing comedy and learning communication and confidence techniques for use in daily life.
These Awards also incorporate employability skills, self-development and entrepreneurial skills. The target audience is young people aged 12+, including those outwith mainstream education, who are more practical learners seeking to improve confidence through creativity. DirectDevitt Confidence Award is available at SCQF levels 3, 4 and 5 and the Direct Devitt Comedy Award and Comedy & Confidence The DirectDevitt Comedy Award are at SCQF level 6. All of the Awards were credit rated by SQA.
The Confidence Award at SCQF level 4 is now being delivered online, alongside Resilience through Creativity (RTC) level 4 which incorporates the NPA in Creative Industries and Mental Health & Wellbeing Award.
All of the Comedy & Confidence programmes are underpinned by mental health benefits. With the unprecedented chaos that the pandemic has brought to the world, we understand the need for mental health resilience and the resultant benefits that our programmes deliver to students. So we felt that the time was right to take the level 4 programme online. We have spent some time exploring this and are currently using Zoom to deliver online, but have the full courses available via Moodle for all level 4 qualifications ready to enrol in January 2021!
On this platform we will make available the student programmes and the train the trainer courses; all are interactive and fun throughout and we will be launching this as a pilot in January 2021, gathering feedback about how our clients feel this is working for them. It’s a mixture of live sessions and being able to work at your own pace.
It’s been fairly difficult as everything we do is creative – even the way we gather evidence is creative, we use videos and voice notes and, rather than the traditional methods of essays, we have scripts! However, all of our clients have been great and really worked with us to help keep Comedy & Confidence alive and well during this time!
Client Roslyn Mahon from CLD North Lanarkshire said:
"Although we have no experience in the physical Comedy & Confidence programme, the online course is really good at bringing young people out of their comfort zone. We are finding the screen is normally a barrier, however this doesn’t seem to be the case with Comedy & Confidence. This course is providing the young people with transferable skills that they will not only use in the workplace but in life too."
We are really keen to collaborate with organisations that already provide online delivery to enhance the platform and help us move forward with our online offer.
As the saying goes “Everyone can learn but not everyone can be taught the same way!” so we are really open to working with a variety of people to be able to offer a fuller, more sustainable delivery for education.
That’s why we now offer the full training of trainers online too – so if people are creative and want to offer their candidates something fun and educational we can approve them. Comedy & Confidence covers a lot of multi-qualification work - scripts have been used as evidence for assessment for Nat 4 English for example - and this approach has seen a lot of interest from schools which have learners who are more creative and “out there” with their studies.
We have had great support from SQA Credit Rating Service and the SCQF Partnership. Both organisations have really supported my vision and are very forward-thinking. Every time I have approached them with a question or idea, they have always been welcoming and happy to engage and advise!
Education is a variety of things and it’s great that SQA Credit Rating Service and SCQF Partnership can see my approach to learning and have added value to it by having the programmes credit rated. SQA was also very helpful at getting our remaining candidates through when the pandemic hit.
Yes, we hope to move all of our programmes online in the near future. The Scottish Tech Army has come on board and are helping us develop our online offerings to make them more interactive and creative. We are seeking schools to run an online pilot of the Train the Trainer course for the programmes at SCQF level 4, so please get in touch if your school would like to get involved.
“We can make education work for everyone very simply. Education can be an enlightening experience and everyone can learn, but not everyone learns the same way, so it is time to evolve and re-create elements of education. It can be done, it has been done, and I look forward to seeing more creative approaches and outcome-based units using creative assessment methods within the curriculum."
For more information on the Comedy & Confidence Awards, visit www.annadevitt.co.uk
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