Category

Project

Project, Purpose

Purpose of EAR

The process of European integration has been based on key values such as peace, democracy, freedom and tolerance. However, these values are currently in risk because of socio-economic problems, violent extremism and a lack of trust in democratic processes. The role of education and training, and more specifically citizenship education is very important in addressing these challenges. However, as the Eurydice Report “Citizenship Education at School in Europe 2017” shows citizenship education is addressed mainly on a cognitive level as part of the curriculum both in relation with the teaching and in relation with the assessment (knowledge of the institutions of the political system, environmental awareness, analysis of issues discussed in the society etc).

This approach, as the report underlines, is mostly focusing on knowledge and skills rather than attitudes. However, in order to be able to address the deep challenges that Europe is currently facing is very important to focus on attitudes and engage the students actively and make them part of the whole process.

The project aims to introduce the dialectical method in school education as a key feature that promotes the active participation of students in a democratic society with the support of theatre techniques. The dialectical method is not only promoting the critical thinking of the students but it allows the connection of everyday life with wider concepts and notions (such as humanism, justice, freedom etc) that are fundamental. This is extremely important especially for today’s society that because of the social media is providing a great quantity of information together with a very limited capacity for the understanding and analysis of the information.

Innovation, Project

Innovation

The dialectical method has been established by Socrates and it is about posing critical questions in order to underline the social contradictions. This series of questions clarifies a more precise statement of a vague belief, logical consequences of that statement are explored, and a contradiction is discovered. Its ultimate goal is to free the people from false impressions related with social reality. In our time these false impressions are created through fake news etc. The dialectical method is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. It may be contrasted with the didactic method where one side of the conversation teaches the other.

In modern times, Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, is comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction; an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis; and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate of critical pedagogy and best known for his influential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, has tried to apply the dialectic method in the education. According to Freire, through the dialectical method, the students undertake from the beginning the role of the “creators” and they try to reach the essence of the knowledge through the help of critical thinking. Freire claims that the essence is not in learning knowledge by heart but in the process of acquiring the knowledge. The whole process of acquiring knowledge includes a dialectical movement from action to reasoning and from the reasoning related with the action to a new action. The acquisition of knowledge through the dialectical method requires two interdependent contexts:

i) The general context of authentic dialogue between the students and the teachers as equal subjects in relation to knowledge

ii) The specific social reality in which students and teachers are living

Expertise, Project

Expertise

The partnership has all the necessary expertise on the methods that are being transferred. All the partners are coordinators of other projects (in the framework of the Erasmus+ or the Creative Europe programme) related with social inclusion. Most of them have worked also in the field of citizenship education. The University of Florence which is going to coordinate the development of the part of the methodology related with the dialectical method has all the necessary expertise in order to develop a relevant and academically sound methodology. The Centre of Higher Education in Theatre Studies is a reputable organization in Greece experienced in the use of theatre in education and is able to transfer its expertise in the consortium.

Capacity in upscaling

The partnership includes various stakeholders that are able to upscale the method in various levels. It includes academic organisations (the University of Florence) which on the one hand works with teachers and schools and on the other hand is able to disseminate and upscale the methods on an academic level and through academic work and publications. Mentortec is an organization that is expert in the field of training of teachers and continuous professional development and able to transfer the method in a greater scale. WUSMED is also an organization that is specialized in innovation in training and the development of teachers’ competencies with networks not only in Spain but in the whole Mediterranean region. Acta theatre is also working in various levels for the promotion of social inclusion in education through theatre, it has already developed, through previous cooperations, methods and networks related with this objective which could be used for the upscaling. Action Synergy finally has a long record of cooperation with schools and development of networks for the promotion and upscaling of education practices.

Moreover, almost all the project partners are already coordinating other projects in the framework of Erasmus+ KA3 programme related with the upscaling of good practices, fact which gives them a significant expertise in this issue.
Finally, the list of the project associate partners includes public organisations, schools, regional authorities etc. which are key actors for the mainstreaming and upscaling of the results of the project.

Reaching the grass root level

The partners have substantial experience in reaching the grass root level. The University of Florence is constantly organizing teacher trainings and the Educational department is one of the greatest teacher training organisations in Italy. Mentortec and WUSMED are working as part of their regular work on the field with teachers that want to be trained in new and creative lessons. Acta is working everyday in the field supporting the social inclusion in many levels including education. Action Synergy has successfully completed many projects related with innovation in teaching and training and has important networks with schools and teachers since they deliver teacher training as part of their normal activities. Also, many schools and “grass-roots” level organisations are participating in the project as partners.

Make an impact on a larger scale

The project includes organisations that are able to extend the impact of the project on a larger scale. The University of Florence is able to transfer the results of the project at a policy level being one of the main institutions responsible for teacher training. They can also transfer the results of the project in the academic level and in the scientific community. WUSMED is also able to transfer the project results through its networks throughout the Mediterranean region.

Project, What we will do

What we will do

The development of the project is divided mainly in 4 distinct phases. The first phase is related with the development of the methodology based on the specific needs and characteristics of classrooms in relation with their citizenship education initiatives. This phase will include five different parts. In the first part, the partners are going to organise a research with schools in order to identify the most important issues related with citizenship education in Europe. Then, the partners will prepare jointly the draft first part of the methodology consisting of the main principles of the methods and how these can be applied in the classroom. The University of Florence is going to coordinate the part of the methodology related with the dialectical method while the Centre for Higher Education in Theatre Studies is going to coordinate the part related with the theatre techniques. Then, the partners are going to develop the practical part of the methodology consisting of teaching and educational scenarios for specific issues and subjects relevant for specific local contexts but also for wider national and European contexts. On the basis of the synopses and the draft methodology, in the framework of the 2nd transnational meeting, the partners will discuss the adaptations that are needed in the methods in order to serve better the needs of the target groups. Following this meeting, the 3rd part of the first phase begins which is the part of the adaptations. Partners on the basis of the internal discussions during the meeting but also on the basis of their consultations with stakeholders are going to propose adaptations on the draft methodology. After the finalization of the adaptations, the 4th part is related with the development of a guidance book for teachers (finalized methodology). The book will be developed in English and, after its finalization, translated in Greek, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian during the 5th part of the first phase. The guidance book will be available both in electronic format and in printed format.

The second phase is related with the training of trainers. The training of trainers is going to be organised in a blended format using both face to face and e-learning. The face to face training is going to be organised in the framework of the 3rd transnational meeting of the project in Bristol and will last 3 days. Totally 11 trainers are going to participate as trainees from Greece, Spain, UK, Portugal and Italy. These trainers after the completion of the face to face training course, are going to follow an e-learning course in order to complete the development of their skills. An e-learning platform is going to be specifically adapted in order to meet the needs of the target group and training material is going to be developed and uploaded on the e-learning platform.

The third phase is related with the training of teachers. This phase is going to be organised face to face in local and regional level as well as online in national and European level by the trainers that have participated in a training of trainers sessions. Guidelines are going to be provided to these trainers who are going to train teachers through specialised workshops in local and national level. The training of teachers face to face is going to be made through workshops which are again going to last for two full days. It is envisaged that a total of 250 teachers are going to be trained in the framework of the face to face workshops while another 250 teachers coming from different parts of the partner countries as well as from other EU countries, are going to be involved through the use of e-learning.

The fourth phase is going to be the phase of the practical implementation of the methodology based on the dialectical method inside the classroom. The trained teachers will, within the framework of the training seminars organised in the previous phase and as a precondition in order to get their certification, apply in practice the techniques they have learned in the classroom and document their application with a report and related evidences. The partners are going to monitor the implementation of the method in school and provide support wherever this is needed. The application of the method from 500 teachers to classrooms comprised of at least 15 students will mean that the project will benefit at least 6.000 students all over Europe. If the teachers implement and document adequately their implementation, they will receive their certification.