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Promoting Young People’s Transition Pathways Through Engagement in European Self-Organised Learning Spaces
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015, Date de fin: 31 août 2018 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

This project has developed out of a cross educational sector partnership that united in diversity so as to improve the holistic needs of the school education field in tackling Early School Leaving (ESL). Working in and across higher education, public school and third sectors, we offer a response which engages with the very heart of the learning process as experienced by young people across local, national and European levels. Young people’s engagement with what they are learning is a central aspect of how they are learning. The quality and relevance of skills and competences of young people who leave school is another urgent matter being addressed at European and national levels. This challenge has been met with an opportunity to ‘rethink education’ with a focus on ‘stimulating open and flexible learning’. We propose that a lack of active involvement in one's own learning is a key component in the high percentage of young people who do not go beyond lower secondary education in Europe. Our solution is long-term investment in the principles of self-organised learning (SOL). SOL is a learner-centred approach in which the role of teacher is as facilitator rather than as transmitter of knowledge and learning content. SOL supports a learner-driven identification and reflection on what is, could and should be learned and how. Learning to learn through SOL is an essential component in how it can specifically promote learner autonomy, engagement and a disposition towards lifelong and lifewide learning. We therefore propose that a change in balance of control between teachers and students can promote engagement and reduce disengagement as a preventative measure towards tackling ESL, with a particular focus on basic and transversal skills. Our main project aim is to improve school education (students aged 13-18) in tackling ESL through the development of innovative forms of SOL as preventative and intervention measures. We join experience and capabilities to the delivery of the shared objectives of the project work at local, national and European levels. In doing so, we will straddle the spectrum of formal, in- and non-formal learning situations in a number of basic (maths, reading, science) and transversal skill areas (foreign language skills, digital skills, entrepreneurship, social and civic skills). The project is built around the shared objective to develop, test and implement four sustainable and alternative SOL spaces across Europe. The idea of a space originates from the notion that one cannot design for self-organised learning itself but create an environment for the learning to take place. In creating these spaces, we also intend to produce a number of transferable outputs which can be used by those working in school education, including young people. These interactive materials include: a sustainable digital platform for the authoring of learning content in the area of basic and transversal skills; a handbook for facilitators of the SOL spaces in different languages; a guide on methods for student self-reflection and evaluation; links to accreditation for stakeholders creating the SOL spaces; and a guide on learning for change which others can use to implement change in their own settings. We also intend to underpin our activities with a strong research base, providing practice-based evidence about how the different SOL spaces foster engagement 'in action' and impact on engagement. Together, these results are designed to increase pupil engagement in learning basic and transversal skills and capacity for incorporation of new and alternative forms of learning like SOL into the school education context to tackle ESL. The existing adoption of SOL principles across our different sectors coupled with its potential for adaptation provides fertile ground for knowledge exchange relevant at local, national, regional and European levels. Our project involves partners from three universities Newcastle University (coordinator, UK), Lahti University of Applied Sciences who will work with the Rudolf Steiner School Lahti (Finland), two NGO's - Toekomstonderwijs learning centre (Belgium) and Success4All cic (UK), Trinity College Dublin who will work with Irish schools (Ireland) and a public school- George Stephenson High School (UK). We will work together using a networked approach to design, trial and evaluate the SOL spaces as well as participate in transnational meetings and teaching and learning activities to share experience and expertise to benefit the holistic needs of the school education field. We will each play a part in developing a particular cluster based around key themes we think are relevant to knowledge building around tackling ESL. By spreading our results and supporting the school education sector to enhance and transform the learning of basic and transversal skills through SOL, we intend to have an impact on national and European policy.



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