Our partner Elderberry chose to work closely to an upper secondary school Didaktus based in Liljeholmen in Stockholm. The school has pupils between 16 and 19 years of age. Most of the pupils at the school are from immigrant backgrounds, many are refugees and a large proportion, are young people who have travelled as refugees to Sweden alone. They organised together with three teachers from the school: Linda Sjöberg, Senja Fredriksson and Nina Wennberg, a youth festival program, spread over several weeks in September and October 2015, with the focus on health issues Global and Local. The program began by inviting SIDA, the Swedish International Development Agency to present to the school examples of it work with health issues in Africa and especially in Kenya.
Throughout the festival, both schools and CSO’s found the material produced by Eduglocal extremely useful and of good quality. Most teachers were not familiar with the concept of Webquests and Elderberry found that the school needed to be able to adjust the material for their own particular use, course plan and curriculum and to suit local situation. For example, in this school the teachers required a conceptual program for the work at the same level as any other for the age range, the language however needed to be more carefully thought through, as most pupils spoke Swedish as a second language. Although the Eduglocal quest tool is set up so that new quests can be added, the teacher did not have time to completely rewrite the quests. This is a pattern that repeats itself in many projects.
Extensive experience with working with EU projects over 15 years has shown that excellent material and ideas will lay on the shelf gathering dust after the completion of an EU funded project for practical reasons such as lack of time or training for teachers. In order to combat this, Elderberry developed a policy of only entering projects that could be developed further by adding to their extensive training program.
Our partner Elderberry proposed to invite the three Didaktus teachers to the Eduglocal teacher training courses to be delivered on Lesvos. They also set up an alternative method of reaching schools and CSO’s. They initiated a one day training course on the use of the Eduglocal material the quests and how to link to CSO’s and integrated it into our one week training courses for teachers. 292 teachers went through a one day training program, 32 teachers went through a two day training program and 12 teachers including the three from Didaktus went through a full 6 day training program during a teacher training course on Lesvos together with the partner Regional Directorate of Primary and Secondary Education in the North Aegean.
The first Eduglocal course trial was held on the island of Lesvos at the end of September of 2015. It was a great success, with educators from four countries working together to explore the project’s themes of Food, Climate Change, Migration, Citizenship and Health. The focus of the Eduglocal training course on Lesvos was for all participants either individually or as groups to work through the already produced on-line quests, each supported by one of the study visits detailed above. They were then asked to create their own tailor made Quests that could be used directly when they returned back to their school or organisation. One group decided to concentrate upon Migration, one on the Environment and two including Didaktus on Health issues.
On returning to their school the Didaktus teachers worked through, with their colleagues and pupils, the quest they had produced: Lika/Unika – Alike but Unique. The quest has its starting point in an online resource created by Save the Children Sweden: “The lottery of Life” www.livetslotteri.se . An interactive campaign from Sweden that asks the public to place themselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate and imagine what their daily lives would then be like. It is this year’s winner of a UN award designed to honour advertising that promotes the ideals of the world body. The campaign has been so successful in Sweden, generating more than 250,000 hits on its website and extensive discussion in the media, that it is being expanded to other countries and languages. The quest then goes on to explore various health issues at a local level. After the youth festival program over 100 pupils decided to make their practice period as volunteers in hospitals or working with the elderly.
Learn more: www.eucourses.eu
Training during and especially following a project is important to disseminate the resources and methodologies, and is the key to sustainability. The practical everyday situation in schools means that many teachers do not have the time to write, adapt or research the diverse resources created by projects. Sending out publications disseminating online resources is never enough. A blended learning approach focusing on training how to use the material and giving teachers time to reflect and adapt to their own specific use is to be preferred if we desire sustainability of project results leading to empowerment of teeachers and their pupils to engage in Global issues.