This project has been developed on the basis of the need for improvement in basic skills for the pupils within our educational systems, which has been identified at a local, national and European level. Our partnership consists of 6 secondary level schools, from 6 EU countries – Ireland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania and Finland. Our research and experience from previous projects has highlighted the necessity of good basic and transversal skills, in order to improve the employability of our young people when they enter the jobs market.
The particular areas for improvement highlighted, which we feel we could address within our project are, the attainment of good basic skills in literacy, foreign language learning and ICT. Our objectives are to increase the motivation of our students to acquire these basic skills, and to introduce them to ways to use these in an interesting and innovative way. We also know that in order to increase motivation and learning among our students, it is also important for our teachers to engage in the exchanges of good practices with other colleagues in other educational systems. We also aim to engage our students, teachers and wider school community in a European project which will strengthen our roles as European citizens.
The participants will be pupils and teachers in our schools. However, it is expected that the impact of our project will go beyond the students directly involved in the project, and will impact in a much larger way on our entire school communities and local communities.
The students will participate in short-term mobilities, and as part of a multi-cultural, European group of editors, will create a series of international newspapers. They will stay in host families and will experience everyday life and the educational systems of other European countries. The teachers will visit classes and experience other schools and new methodologies and pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, particularly in relation to methodologies to improve literacy, foreign language learning and ICT skills.
Apart from these mobilities, communication and cooperation will continue throughout the 3 year project, through the use of various forums, such as e-twinning.
Pupils will have to learn to work together, overcome obstacles, such as language barriers and learn communication and cooperation skills. They will focus on enhancing their ICT skills in the creation of the newspaper, and it is envisaged that their motivation to read more and communicate more effectively will be a key impact of this project. They will also become aware of the importance of foreign language learning as a key component to being able to live and work in another European country.
Staying in host families and visiting other European schools will bring an element of inter-cultural awareness and tolerance to our students that we cannot provide in the classroom alone. They will be exposed to other European communities, cultures and languages in a way that they will never forget. They will learn about other educational systems in a very real way as they will experience school life in another European country in a very authentic and tangible way.
We feel that, in the long- term, an improvement in literacy, ICT and foreign languages for our students will make them much more attractive as employees in the labour market. Not only this, but we feel that our project will no longer limit them to jobs in their own country, but will open their eyes to the availability and possibility of Europe as the gateway to future employment.