New Erasmus Projects Launch


Last month the School of Education & Humanities welcomed partners from nine other European countries for the Kick Off meeting of two new Erasmus projects, Mission Based Learning, and Young Europeans. These projects involve both Higher Education and school-based partners as well as a Spanish NGO. These projects use an action-based learning approach to encourage young people to make positive changes in their school or wider community through the development, implementation and evaluation of projects.

Young Europeans (led by Lynda Kay and Chris Jones for UoG) is focused specifically on countering disinterest among young people in politics by fostering early political interest and engagement in school. The young students involved will work together to co-create what politics, democracy and European values mean in their world and consider how schools can provide the necessary space for such youth-driven innovation. They will then undertake their projects, based on local issues that are significant to them, and engage in a democratic process of in an attempt to implement change. With these students, project partners will co-create attractive and practically useful guidance to secondary schools on how to foster greater engagement in politics, democracy and European values.

Mission-based Learning (led by Paul Vare and Cathy Burch for UoG) supports students to learn through strong and immersive community missions that address real-life challenges as distinct from working with theoretical material in the classroom. The missions will challenge them to develop various important skills and competences, as well as increasing their sense of agency. All this needs to be underpinned by teachers who can facilitate these processes. The project therefore aims to deliver useful and practice-based guidance to teachers and schools on how to integrate alternative learning activities in normal school life.

The Kick Off Meeting held in both Cheltenham and Gloucester allowed partners to initiate important working relationships, develop a mutual understanding of the purpose and requirements of the projects and agree on the first steps that must be taken in order to run successful projects that will benefit not only the students involved but will have a lasting impact. Each partner provided a presentation about their institution, which often offered an insight into their backgrounds and gave us an idea of some of the projects that the students are currently working on. For the University of Gloucestershire, Cathy Burch led an activity based on Engeström’s work ‘From Teams to Knots’ that made clear the importance of the link between all partners as active members of the project. Our school-based colleagues brought along some of their students to the meeting, which provided an opportunity for them to not only gain valuable experience but ensure their voice was heard. They had the opportunity to work in groups to discuss the projects they may wish to run, how the project website could be designed and how they could work together across countries. The results of these discussions where then presented to their teachers and the other partners in attendance.

At the end of the visit Paul took partners on a tour of Gloucester Cathedral making use of his long-mothballed knowledge of the Cathedral’s history and architecture. It allowed partners to relax and immerse themselves in a beautiful cultural setting following a very busy and productive two days.

These two projects will now go their own separate ways. Partners involved in Young Europeans will next meet in Lithuania in March with those involved in Mission-based Learning holding a student mobility event in Poland this May. We can’t wait to get started and see the fantastic work that the students produce. Websites and Social Media for the projects will be up and running soon.