Fresh proposals for future education

We do believe that the best way to show how WYRED truly brings out the voice of youth is by presenting the artifacts realized by the young participant to this project. As a matter of fact, nothing tells us about the youth of today more than turning their own words, their own feelings and ideas down into tangible objects for you to see. The success story we are about to tell you is quite a representative example of how this is true.

Valentina Borowansky, a 17-year old from Austria, has written an essay on the topic of future education, called “The Prison School – How the System Fails us”.

“We study. A lot. But we don’t really know anything. We can’t use it. We are not smarter than before.
But how does this work out? We go to school. We study. Then why don’t we know anything?

Did we fail the system? Or did the system fail us?” – is what she asks herself, and us, in her paper aiming to show how today’s school system makes children, young people and their own parents “all prisoners”.

Her ultimate objective is that of demonstrating how school actually doesn’t just provide children and young people with knowledge, but also takes knowledge from them. “The current school system is twisted, outdated, unauthentic and hostile of individuality. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are alternatives.”

Valentina outlines six essential points that, according to her, turn school into “a prison”.

  • The 50-minute school lessons: often meaning that students are forced to stop in the middle of a vivid discussion, an experiment or a fruitful analysis, and forced to focus on something totally different;
  • Young people do not have enough free time: this is especially frustrating as they enter into their final years of school, as they could devote their time to their interests to relieve themselves of the burdens imposed by school, homework and tests. Their spare time is too often overloaded with school-like activities (es. cram school), with the goal of helping them to succeed in school.
  • Too much importance is given to marks. Everybody has to achieve their best results. Since no mistake is allowed, young people are always put under the pressure of having to achieve good marks. Doing bad at school often leads to low self-esteem. Any curiosity for something different than school is put off, as school often takes more knowledge from students than it gives.
  • To be successful students have to put on a mask to hide their own individuality. “Do not invite unwanted attention, stay somewhere in the middle”, then you will succeed. Even after school is just the same.
  • School topics have nothing to do with real life. For example, there is no connection between the formulas forcibly memorized in maths and reality. They are being just learned for the test and forgotten after 2 minutes…
  • The school system will not admit responses differing from “YES”. A student’s life is all about agreeing, respecting rules, being subjected to somebody. These teachings might be prove useful in the future, but which one? This has nothing to do with the future we are heading to.

When focusing on solutions, Valentina argues that there already exist teachers with innovative approaches in didactics and methodology. However, this is just one side of the coin. The other side is the entire education system, which keeps parents, teachers and young people together. Valentina proposes new, democratic, alternative model of schools: for example “Kapriole in Freiburg”, or “The free school in Leipzig” which focus on childrens’ and young people’s individual skills and let the teachers play the role of empowering “Learning-Coaches” that foster the curiosity of the learners.

“Maybe this is not the ultimate solution for our old-crusted system, but it takes the right direction. We need to start learning, understanding, exploring and researching again. The people of tomorrow need a school of tomorrow.”

Valentina Borowanski, our young idealist longing for a better future for education

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Never too young to know how to act online…

On a rainy day in Tortona, a small town in northern Italy, 130 students from 11 to 17 years old learned by playing how they should act when being online. Using Non-Formal Education methodologies, these young people were engaged in a “learning through gaming” process that gave them a deeper view on how our acts online affect our personal lives offline.
Through several actions, participants have built an online space with their peers and discussed which are the responsibilities they have and how they should act when visiting the Internet. At the same time, as an unexpected consequence, children tackled the issues of rights and attitudes of users, thus bringing the digital world into a real, tangible dimension. Some of the most interesting topics addressed were cyberbullying, fake identities, good and what can be deemed as a bad behaviour online.
But middle and high schoolers were not the only ones reached by WYRED.
As a matter of fact, 60 among youth workers in the field of intercultural dialogue and Civil Service volunteers and coming from all around Europe took part in a series of workshops organised within the WYRED framework. The ultimate objective was that of increasing their engagement in the process of Social Dialogue in Digital Society and also raise their awareness on a series of topics while trying to identify challenges and opportunities.
Since some of the participants where part of the 1st Cycle of WYRED, they also had the chance to present their research and provide the facilitators with new ideas and feedback on how to empower more young people and how to make WYRED even more inclusive.
We are happy to see WYRED growing. Why don’t you join our community?

A shot from a workshop with the Civil Service volunteers

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Feedback from teachers in the Teacher Training Course in Salamanca

Some comments from the participants of the face-to-face week in Salamanca:

“A very interesting week in Salamanca with extraordinary teachers and collegues” by Elena (Italy)

“Una semana completa llena de información, intercultural, internacional, flexible sobre el estudio del fenómeno religioso y el estudio de prejuicios y estereotipos relacionados con ellas” by Ana (Spain)

“Thinking over how to adapt the very interesting contents of the course to the teaching of Language” by Alberto (Spain)

“We worked hard but it was really worth because the themes we discussed were challenging. My congratulations to everybody” by Massimo (Italy)

Teachers from the Irish school St. Paul’s CBS join the teacher training course

The first Irish school to join as research partners is St. Paul’s CBS, North Brunswick Street. With a migrant student population of over 35%, it is hoped that the students will benefit greatly from participation in this European study.  Teachers, Ms. Valerie Roe and Mr. Ciaran Geraghty are looking forward to engaging with the ten students who will work together over the coming weeks.

E-EVALINTO project at ESAI 2018

Dr. Bernadette Sweetman and Prof. Joe O’Hara of EQI DCU presenting on the E-Evalinto project at the Educational Studies Association of Ireland 2018 conference.

The ESAI (Education Studies Association of Ireland) 41st Annual Conference took place at UCD from 5th – 7th April 2018.  The theme of this year’s conference was Values and Purpose in Education, a theme that is highly significant in the current research of the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection of Dublin (EQI).

EQI, partner of the E-EVALINTO project, were well presented with researchers from the Centre presenting seven papers at the conference as well as chairing some sessions. One of the presentations was devoted to our project topic: “Tackling early school leaving in migrant populations through peer mentoring”. An overview of the curriculum and online educational resources developed inside the project has been presented and a summary of the engagement in schools by the project participants has been outlined.

The Conference Book of Abstracts is available at http://esai.ie/conference-2018-book-of-abstracts/

 

E-EVALINTO Teacher Training Session at ITIS “Galileo Galilei” of Arezzo

On occasion of the Teacher Training Session held on the 8th March of 2018 at ITIS “Galileo Galilei” of Arezzo, Industrial and Technical School, we had the chance to see the implementation of activities of the Mentoring project. This school has experienced Oxfam Intercultural Mentoring Project since three years and it has been successful in the engagement of young students, both as mentors and mentees. The mentees comes from different parts of the world: from Africa to Asia passing through Eastern Europe. The students are at this point able to conduct their tasks with minimum supervision and there is a great trust between them and the two coordinators. All the students involved in the program demonstrated a good interest towards the new activities proposed from E-EVALINTO assignments. [Youngsters already find some “free” moments inside the normal homework timetable to interact between them about their different cultural backgrounds: we spotted a nice scene where a Chinese boy was teaching to his Italian mentor how to eat with chopstick, using two pencils and a rubber for the demonstration! A possible challenge will be there when these young people are invited to reflect on their differences in a more structured way and then to put the results into written words and finally to assess each other performances.]

In the need assessment phase, in fact, it emerged from the students a strong request for an increase in intercultural events and activities inside the school circuit. Keeping in mind the priority school needs of the students, E-EVALINTO might represents a positive chance to go deeper in the process of interculturalism and integration.  After many years concentrating in homework and after-school sessions and in addressing the academic weakness of the mentees involved, these new ludic and playful activities are a mean to even out the school differences and to bring the tutor-mentee relationship to a more personal level. E-EVALINTO activities are an enriching chance for the whole program that is already a best practice in intercultural mentoring experiences. Actually, creating stronger personal relationships between students with different backgrounds is a powerful way to prevent school drop-outs and to nourish broader intercultural sensitivity.

It is also an opportunity for teachers and trainers to learn the importance of a pre-structured evaluation mechanism, as envisaged in the project. In fact, there is a low awareness about the importance of peer assessment and self-assessment as a different way to promote personal growth. Furthermore, EVALCOMIX offers the chance to teachers and students to receive a training on the use of the digital platforms (school funds allocated to computer technology are very poor). On the side of migrant students, EVALCOMIX represents a stable mean to stay updated on the progresses of the activities even when they are abroad or busy somewhere else. In fact, it is typical for some young foreign people (for instance among the Chinese community) to go back to their Country of origin during special occasions, or to have a part-time job that sometimes make them skip afterschool activities.

 

Voices in the digital world

Shortly before Easter-time the first WYRED cycle was finished at the  “Produktionsschule Eggenburg“ in Lower Austria. At this school Young People are prepared for either continuing formal school education or for starting an apprenticeship. They are intensely supported in defining their occupational future. Highly engaged they worked on the topics, being specifically important for them in the digital world. This means that they add their specific ideas, expectations and wishes to these of the participants in the other countries and make them available to external stakeholders.

Participants from the „Produktionsschule Eggenburg, on the righ the coordinator at Eggenburg Franziska Titzmann

 

Topics for the digital future

Impressively “derkoffer1”, “zeref36” and “178” (avatar-names) for example describe the fascination gaming has for them: It turnes out that this fascination has a lot to do with being a valuable part of a community. A member of a community who is appreciated and who´s contribution to the game is regarded as a being welcomed and wanted. Amongst several other participants “Sedetka” explores environmental pollution, inequalities of the resources-distribution in the world or the issue blaming colleagues in school. So, she writes a story and tells us, how to avoid blaming and shaming. Furthermore, her poems describing good and not so good times in life in their emotionality are very touching.

High creativity

Just exemplary you find two artefacts below, indicating the high level of creativity the young people from Eggenburg have shown. One product is from Sedetka about what she is expecting for her future life. The second artefact is from “Jesseal”, who created a collage showing the dangers of nuclear power plants, being a steady real danger in the northern border region of Austria – the region where the Produktionsschule Eggenburg is located nearby.

Sedetka: My life is great

 

Jesseal: Dangers of nuclear power plants

The WYRED team wants to thank the young people from Eggenburg for their engagement, their ideas and the topics they brought in. Thereby they significantly contributed to making WYRED a success.

 

 

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Fotografia che denuncia

Ciao a tutti! Mi chiamo Noemi Ricci, ho 20 anni , vengo da Roma e frequento il secondo anno di Scienze Politiche. Nel mio progetto,”Fotografia che denuncia”, la globalizzazione e le disuguaglianze sociali fanno da macro argomento e da supporto al tema della fotografia come mezzo di denuncia da parte di numerose ONG (Organizzazioni Non Governative).

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E-Evalinto Transnational meeting – Dublin, March 2018

The six partner institutions of the Erasmus+ funded research project E-Evalinto met in DCU St. Patrick’s Campus on 15 – 16March 2018.  Over the two days, partners shared their experiences of how the initial pilot schools who have joined the project as research partners are progressing with the intercultural peer mentoring activities.

The research project, which aims to combat early school leaving amongst migrant students, focuses on a variety of targeted peer mentoring activities followed by a range of assessments on a purpose-built virtual campus.  Presently, a pilot group of post-primary teachers in Spain, Italy, Poland, Cyprus and Ireland are receiving training in the use of the E-EVALINTO virtual campus.

Partecipazione sociale e voto

Mathematical analysis of social partecipation and vote based on a questionary. It wanted to show how we vote, the thought of people about old generations, the relation between social partecipation and vote, the perception of social involvement and how we can improve it.

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