Outdoors in Europe
active learning methods in a multi-cultural Europe.
The world around us is changing rapidly and we face new and unpredictable situations in our everyday lives. The rapidly-changing world has a huge impact on the lives of young people all over Europe. Our responsibility in schools is to prepare the students for the changes. In our experience the traditional teaching methods do not meet the needs of the students coming from diverse cultural and economical backgrounds. We need more active learning and teaching methods in order to prepare them well for their future private and professional lives. We see the necessity for our project because the Europeanizing and globalizing world is often against people who come from these diverse backgrounds.
The objectives of our project are not only to implement more participatory learning and teaching methods (such as peer teaching) but also to raise awareness for a healthy lifestyle via outdoor activities. Moreover, we want to improve intercultural knowledge, language skills, self-esteem, soft skills, ICT skills and deeper understanding of a common Europe and its values amongst the participants. Additionally, this project will help to establish international networks and equal opportunities for all participants. They come from five schools from Turkey Austria, Finland, Spain and Germany and represent different school systems (private primary school, public upper and lower secondary school, public vocational school). This ensures to have participants with different backgrounds, ages and fields of expertise. The number of students and teachers directly involved will be approximately 250 and around 1500 people will benefit indirectly from the project.
The activities used throughout the project can be separated into three main groups, namely activities before, during and after each international student meeting. Before the actual meetings, the students are familiarized with peer teaching and other active learning methods. They are also prepared via CLIL lesson input so that they become familiar with the topics and terminology of the next meeting. During the meeting students will put theory into practice using peer teaching and other participatory methods and document their learning process using videos, photos etc. On the last day and after the meetings these instructive materials will be used to carry out peer teaching within and outside project participants, who come from different economical, linguistic and cultural backgrounds (e.g. refugees, immigrants, migrants,…). Naturally, evaluation will happen before, during and after each meeting on behalf of online questionnaires and interviews, so that adjustments can be made, if necessary. This way we can ensure a constant and productive workflow including different activities and methods.
The main methods used in the project are peer teaching, student-centered learning and CLIL. Especially during the international student meetings the focus will also be put on kinesthetic/practical and intercultural learning. Because of the issues tackled by our project, cross-curricular and phenomenon based learning are also included.
The actual results of our project will be the developed products, such as instructive videos and photo documentations, CLIL lesson plans, a glossary, a recipe collection and a website with a database. Obviously, we envision a further impact on the participants of our project and also outside the project. This includes participants with higher motivation to acquire and use new knowledge, better language skills and ICT skills, a deeper knowledge of innovative methodology as well as better intercultural understanding and higher European awareness. Finally, networks for the future will be established.
In order to sustain the results, experiences and knowledge gained throughout the project and have a long lasting effect in- and outside of our schools, the material on the website will continue with open access and cooperation will also remain between the partners after finalizing the project. In these lasting partnerships and networks teaching knowledge and experience of innovative methods will continue to be shared because this will be very helpful for students from a different cultural and linguistic background (e.g. refugees, immigrants, migrants,…) since they often do not speak the official language of instruction and they lack cultural and linguistic awareness. Therefore, a more participatory learning environment can help them not only improve their language level, but also learn about actual content and facts at an earlier stage instead of learning the official language of instruction and the content separately.