Archive of European Projects

Discovering Europe
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The title of our project may at first sound like a paradox. There is, after all, no such event in history books as discovery of Europe, since it was mostly the Europeans who travelled around the world in search of new lands, new routes and new means of achieving their goals. With this project, primary and lower secondary schools from ten European countries want to make the best of this tradition. All participants intend to set off for a journey during which they will discover something valuable and worth sharing with whole educational community. Students will discover new lands and make new friends. Although no great distances separate them, they know very little about their neighbours. To change this situation, they will help one another learn about their countries and people and share their cultures. While doing this, they will hopefully discover something more: motivation and sense of responsibility for their education, their own potential and creativity, importance of learning foreign languages and value of teamwork and cooperation. Teachers intend to explore new routes in teaching, to avoid such dangers as boredom, stagnation and discouragement, which threaten both their students and themselves. They want to find new means to achieve their ultimate goal: cultivating and nurturing children's natural enthusiasm for learning, curiosity and creativity, which, though possessed by each child entering school for the first time, are often seriously diminished after just a few years of formal education. They will explore methods that will enable them to better equip children for their further education and future work and that will help in particular those students who fail to achieve satisfactory results in the traditional lessons. We have guidelines for our search. We think the solutions lie in allowing students more power in decisions concerning their own learning and in letting children learn by working in teams on performing practical, creative tasks. We see the need of increasing in our schools the utilization of modern tools of ICT, loved by all children. We would also like to reinstate the element of fun in learning, so often banned from our schools. Therefore, we decided to explore in our project methods based on the theory of constructivism, in particular PBL (project based learning) and webquest. As we know better than anybody that the best way leading to truly learning and understanding something is trying to teach it to somebody else, we also decided to explore the methods of peer-learning and learning-by-teaching in our work with the students. Those four methods lie at the base of all activities in our project. In our search for better routes in teaching , we are going to blend them together in an innovative method of "modified webquest", which will be implemented through the main group of project's activities. Activities of another group, based on collaborative tasks performed on eTwinning platform, will facilitate the process of teaching and learning English as foreign language through providing the much desired communication context. Besides the activities based on virtual cooperation, we will also implement the targeted methods through activities involving direct, face-to-face communication and collaboration of children from different countries during transnational learning meetings. To fully utilize the potential of international cooperation for enhancing the European dimension of our schools, we are going to concentrate all project's activities on the topics concerning geography, natural environment, history and culture of partner countries. Like every well-designed expedition, our project is going to bring tangible profits: numerous teaching resources based on the methods targeted by our project, in form of websites and ICT materials. The resources resulting from the project (webquests, study materials and activity scenarios ) will be available to be re-used after the end of the project, but they will also serve as templates for the teachers, helping them develop new activities based on the targeted teaching methods. We intend the resources to be of use not only for the participating organizations, but for other teachers and schools as well. Therefore, they will be published on the Internet as public teaching resources and disseminated through eTwinning platform, through dedicated project information websites and through national and international portals for teachers.
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