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Ethics and values education in schools and kindergartens
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project ETHIKA - Ethics and values education in schools and kindergartens addresses the field of ethics and values education (by employing critical thinking approach and philosophy with children) and focuses on school teachers and other educators in order to enhance their professional development (key competences and skills) in this field and at the same time aims at policy development in this field at EU level. Ethics and values education (including EU values) is a very important aspect in the development of a democratic, pluralistic, sustainable, and knowledge-based society, both in terms of the position and the role of an individual as a citizen as well as in the area of an individual’s personal development. Research has proven that early childhood education is the most important phase to initiate a healthy development, including moral development. In several EU countries education professionals belong to the ones with the lowest opportunities for profesional development, especially in the field of ethics, intercultural dialogue and similar. Despite of the importance of the so-called inter-subject or trans-curriculum educational contents and aims (including e.g. social cohesion and communication competencies, civic competencies, EU and democratic values, respect for culture(s) and dialogue among cultures) teachers most often lack the required in-depth knowledge and competencies to introduce these ethics and values notions into the classroom. The project is subsequently related to some of the most pressing challenges and problems that permute the school sector across Europe: bullying, relations in the school community, managing cultural differences, etc., which cannot be dealt with and prevented merely by focusing on their consequences, but also addressing their roots. By focusing on the role of a teacher, the project is fostering and strengthening the professional profile of the teaching profession. The objective of the project is to offer teachers in school an accessible and effective methodological guidelines for addressing the topics related to ethics and values education, not merely in subjects that are dedicated especially to these themes, but also in other schools subject, cross-curricular activities and school life as a whole. In addition to that multiple open educational resources, accompanied by guidelines for teachers will be developed . In the project more than 200 teachers will be directly involved, 50 ethics and values education experts and researchers, several schools and kindergartens, all coordinated by 9 project partners from 6 EU countries with high level expertise and experience. The activities of the project will be centered on four main intellectual outputs, namely, (i) methodological guidelines and analysis of the field of ethics and values education, (i) open educational materials and tools for teachers and educators, (iii) curriculum and training proposals, (iv) policy recommendation paper. The methodology employed will be that of critical thinking approach and philosophy with children, and the outputs will be prepared collaboratively, in relation to the identified real needs of teachers that will be established in focus groups; all the outputs will be peer reviewed and tested in practice. There will also be several multiplier events and training activities that are planned to widely disseminate and pilot the outputs of the project. The results also include establishment European network of ethics and value educations players, including teachers, schools, experts and other organizations, that will build synergy, reinforce cooperation and exchange good practices and experiences between different players in the field of ethical education in primary and pre-primary school on local, regional, national and transnational level and peer-to-peer and experts support. Furthermore, through reinforced interaction between practice, research and policy on EU level and in national systems we expect to address the policy change needed to include more ethics and values dimensions in schools and also on faculties of educations and to equip teachers and other educators with the relevant knowledge and skills as part of their professional training. This will result in reduced problems in schools, raised ethical awareness of individuals, active and critical participation in democratic society, employability, and enhance critical and autonomous persons as a basis for civic society. The main impact will be on teachers (and other educators); the project offers them open educational resources and peer-to-peer learning methods and with this strongly enhance their prof. development in the school education sector and increase the quality and range of initial and continuing training; they will gain insight, knowledge and skills to address ethical and evaluative themes in their work in schools. They will have an established support and expert network as well as peer-to-peer exchange channels available.
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