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Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Everyone responds to tasks differently. Do you need to experiment in order to understand? Do you plan everything you do in advance? What does safety mean to you? How about creativity? Or progress? If you are aware of your own cognitive processes, you have what is called metacognitive ability. It has been proven that school students who develop metacognitive abilities share a greater chance of success in school and in the rest of their life. They are able to identify what makes learning meaningful for them. resulting in a profound sense of empowerment and an improved engagement with their studies. However, this is not fully recognised in the cultural mainstream, and formal educational systems demand that students fit in with only one idea of successful working. Inner diversity - the way one learns, communicates and processes information - can therefore be a trigger for exclusion from education. Students who do not fit the model can find it hard to derive meaning from their experience and feel that education is simply not for them. They may disengage intellectually or emotionally from their studies and from planning their futures, or they may drop out of school entirely. This of course has a great impact on self-confidence and their ability to succeed in the rest of their lives.Our objective is to improve educational outcomes for secondary school age students by helping them to reflect on their individual learning styles. Our project will offer them tangible strategies to adapt better to the formal education system. To this end, we envisage this potential Erasmus+ project as the pilot process among school communities, targeting students aged 12 to 16, to develop a unique and attractive set of pedagogical activities and materials on the theme of inner diversity.We would like to pilot a programme of activities targeting school students aged 12-16, offering opportunities to students aged 16-18 to facilitate, so as to educate them about the principles of inner diversity and how they can use them to: (a) recognise and describe their own way of learning; (b) notice similar or different patterns in others; (c) develop strategies to better participate in learning environments, including resilience, self-determination and self-regulation. We will work in conjunction with partner educational NGOs who already have strong connections to schools in their local area. AMO Reliance supports young people in Belgium experiencing difficulties in their personal and educational life. Ofensiva Tinerilor EPTO has a long history of developing and facilitating non-formal educational programmes around the themes of diversity and personal development. Our aim will be to develop the programme with members of these organisations, in consultation with an advisory group of non-formal educational experts, experts in the field of cognitive diversity, teachers from the respective formal educational systems, and school students. Local NGOs will then facilitate workshops in schools directly, as well as training older students to continue the programme by training their peers. Through our work in 4 secondary schools, we will reach 75 teachers and staff as well as 225 students in our first year. We will explore different possibilities of interaction, combining the classic workshop structure developed in conjunction with EPTO with games making use of digital media. By the end of an academic year’s piloting, strengthened by an action-research process, we will have a full-blown training programme, shaped by the young people it aims to support. We would like to see students reporting an increase in self-confidence. We also hope to see teachers and other school actors reporting a deeper understanding of differences in student learning, as well as deeper confidence in developing strategies to address them. The project is sustainable: schools will retain access to the materials we will develop, and the peer education element means they can repeat the trainings for generations of students, and introduce them to new schools without us. The students reached will be helped to understand better how they function, how they learn, and what their strengths are. They will be reassured that there really is a place for them in school, as in society.
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