STRAIGHTENING WINDING ROUTES TO ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP
This initiative is co-funded by the EU. It was born from the concern about making students more active in their own learning, and more aware of their own potential. The project is entitled Straightening Winding Routes to Active Citizenship, among others, some objectives are promoting the responsibility and autonomy of the students, encouraging the active participation of students in the classroom, introducing and maintain new working methods and strategies that promote collaborative learning and peer to peer learning. Increasing self-confidence and motivation among students, developing strategies that integrate multiple intelligences...
The topics we have chosen for the project are INCLUSION-EQUITY, NEW INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL METHODS DEVELOPMENT, and STRENGTHENING TEACHERS PROFILE since we see in our schools the necessity of supporting students who are sometimes low motivated or do not feel fully included in school. The causes can be diverse: low socioeconomic status, low self-esteem and poor academic results.
Once these needs (engagement, increasing self-esteem and responsibility, fostering active role and creativity among students and social inclusion) have been detected, we will try to make our school more inclusive, by making students more self-confident and autonomous. We want to foster a work environment through our project, where students show themselves with confidence. Participative and active methodology will bring as a consequence a development of the critical attitude, motivation and empowerment reinforcement.
The project consist of a wide range of activities, in which, both teachers and students, take active part. The role of teachers is to make students active and aware of their possibilities as students. That is definitely a matter of inclusion, since the school must give a chance to everybody, and the way to this is to empower students with the support of different strategies like cooperation, improvement of oral communication, fostering creativity and critical thinking.
Students will work on four topics, which will be useful to develop this strategies:
- Social inclusion topic will support Cooperative work/ Cooperative learning
- SCAMPER will support Creativity and Multiple intelligences
- There is only one race will support Improving oral speech
- Diversity and immigration will support Social emotional learning
At the same time, teachers will make theoretical didactical researches related to the strategies, in order to reach more efficient results. These researches will be included in a Didactical guide.
The project includes four short mobilities, the so call learning teaching training activities (LTT), one for each partner: Poland, Latvia, Finland and Spain. The four partners have choose a method to work in a well balanced way: ONE PARTNER, ONE TOPIC.
Social inclusion has been the most relevant and effective result of the project. The participants have been able to work with different kinds of people. All the students in each school had equal possibilities to take part in the project and the students involved have different backgrounds. They learned multicultural skills and also to respect different cultures and other people. The students have become more open-minded during the project. They have shared their experiences and new ways of thinking among their school mates. Teachers have learned from each other and they have spread the knowledge they have gained in their own schools. Additionally they have got new tools for their work and become more motivated.
Straightening the profiles of teaching profession – Thanks to the project a big group of teachers developed their teaching skills. Teachers involved in the project learned a lot during each short-term meetings. While watching lessons and taking part in different kind of workshop they discovered many new methods, teaching techniques and fostered some new ICT tools. After the visit there were school personnel meetings organized to present the knowledge to other teachers in every school. By using presentations, pictures and explaining some differences between educational system and school approach to the students we managed to pass basic information to the colleagues. School teachers became more open minded, more eager to implement new methods in their lessons and focused more on students than the lesson results. What is more, schools have organized meeting for teachers for the district promoting the knowledge and experience they have learned thanks to Erasmus project.
The main objectives are the following:
- Promoting the responsibility and autonomy of the students. The students have been able to work in an autonomous manner when making different projects, being responsible with the tasks provided and with the presentations of those projects.
- Encouraging the active participation of students in the classroom. The students became more active, especially during the exchanges and hosting.
- Introducing and maintaining new working methods and strategies that promote collaborative learning and peer to peer learning. Being able to work in teams satisfactorily. Teachers and students were able to cooperate when doing the projects and use the strategies necessary to make this possible.
- Increasing self-confidence and motivation among students. Students have learned that they are really capable of doing things on their own in stressful situations and speaking in public using a language different from their own. This way they know they can be successful and motivated for their future personal and working life.
- Developing strategies that integrate multiple intelligences. The students have been able to manage different situations when making the projects using different strategies and methodologies, negotiating and resolving conflicts when necessary.
- Integrating and socializing with people from different countries and cultures. The students have been able to socialize properly among themselves, respecting their different backgrounds and personalities and fomenting inclusion.
- Using New technologies to elaborate projects and prepare the different activities. Teachers and students have used different applications and on-line programmes to elaborate their projects improving their ICT skills.
- Communicating in English language and improving their oral and written competences. Students have been able to communicate in a language different from their mother tongue effectively, improving this way their language competences in the different skills: reading, speaking, listening and writing.
- Respecting others’ opinions and negotiating to reach agreements. Students have been able to discuss their ideas respectfully and propose new ideas negotiating the best way to improve their work together to make it more effective.
The main impact in our school of this project we hope it is on teachers and students. During this project, teachers have been able to use more active methodologies which benefit the students’ process of learning. Some advantages of using these methodologies are:
- To record and facilitate learning from experience
- To develop critical thinking
- To increase ability in reflection and thinking
- To improve problem solving skills
- To enhance reflective practice
- To enhance the students personal development
- To enhance creativity and to improve written and oral communication strategies
- To increase communication skills
- To foment inclusion
- To improve the use of multiple intelligences
After the first year of the project, active methods became more usual in our schools, and several teachers added to put them in practise.
Students saw also that the exchanges and the whole project improved their communication skills; most of the students experienced that the project improved their English skills and self-confidence to large extent. They learned mostly language (verbal and nonverbal communication) and about traditions. Also they experienced that they learned about values, norms and beliefs.
This project has also contributed to both of the most relevant priorities:
- Social inclusion: so that all the students may feel valued and important, no matter their personal or social background. It is very important that nobody in risk of social exclusion feel that they are left apart and know that they are given the chance of fully participating in all of the different school activities, and even encouraging them to take part in this project.
- Strengthening teachers’ profile: it has been a priority to learn different ways of teaching, using very active methodologies which help students to develop critical thinking, to improve reflective practice and communication skills, to foment inclusion and improve the use of multiple intelligences, creativity, problem solving and written and oral skills.