Archive of European Projects

Creating Peace
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Five of the schools involved in this partnership have already cooperated successfully in a Comenius project, one school is new to similar projects. All schools involved educate students with special educational needs (autism spectrum disorders, esp. Asperger syndrome, behavioral issues, mental and combined handicap). The idea of the new project arose from discussing education, future and career choices of students with special needs in different countries - all partners saw lack of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills (poor social skills, self-management skills, anger management, emotional control, relaxation technics, teamwork and communication skills, low self-esteem, ...) as the main reason of their students failing in higher education and their relatively high early drop out rate. The aim of the project Creating Peace is to encourage and coach students with special educational needs to develop their transversal skills, especially interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and critical reading and thinking in order to help them to integrate more easily into local society. The theme of the project - Thirty Years´ War - was inspired by our last Comenius project´s meeting in Osnabrück, one of the cities where peace negotiations before the Peace of Westphalen were held. The Thirty Years´ War was a conflict that has divided and almost destroyed the whole Europe (all participating countries have been involved to some extent); still an understanding based on mutual respect has been found and peace was created. Students participating in the project will try, figuratively speaking, to reach peace both within themselves and with people around them by learning new, effective strategies to handle successfully various conflicts (both internal and external) in their lives. During the first year, students will learn about the Thirty Years´ war, how it influenced lives of people and how the peace was reached.. In the next stage, they will look for successful solutions of conflicts in their national history in general, they will discuss other possibilities and try to draw inspiration from it for their lives. Folders of material and worksheets will be created by teachers. While studying these topics, students will be coached to improve their critical reading and thinking, one of the transversal skills they often lack. They will also express their impressions and feelings in an artistic way (comic, art object, song, rap, drama...). Students will share their work with their partners via ICT tools. During the second year - Creating Peace - partners will search for and try out therapeutic games and activities developing their pupils´ communication and teamwork skills, self-perception, emotional control, anger management etc. Peace negotiators from Münster and Osnabrück will serve as symbols of „peace creating“ activities: each country will get an equal number of peacemakers and create the symbolic number of files shared with others and available online for public use. Students will provide feedback on therapeutic activities that will be included in activity files. Transnational project meetings and learning activities will present for students an opportunity to communicate with their peers on an equal basis, to experience the diversity of European culture and history, to compare and contrast styles of work and learning strategies. Use of English and ICT during the project will motivate them to study more these subjects and develop another set of skills useful in their future career. For teachers, meetings will bring an opportunity to share and compare methodologies based on diferent education systems, to inspire each other and to develop together an innovative approach to teaching intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and critical reading and thinking to students with SEN. At the beginning of the project, students will create a place for origami cranes visual, adding an origami - a symbol of peace - each time they finish working on one of the successful historical conflict solutions and when a conflict in the group is successfully solved/overcome/stopped in a respectful way. This way they can draw encouragement from remainders of their successes in days when things go wrong and see the growing strength of their group. All projects results will be available for download to serve as manuals for wider public.
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