Some say that all the greatest human achievements and most of the technological advances we have made have come by chance. However, as Louis Pasteur put it “Chance favors the prepared mind”. Therefore, the WWS consortium needed to understand what it means to have a “prepared mind” in the 21st century and how we can contribute to developing the skills necessary for it.
In days when technology evolves at a rate, which the average human is hardly able to follow, humanity is bound to focus on other types of achievement, which are not simple supplements to STEM-related skills but which contribute transversally to all quality aspects of life – social, professional, mental, cultural wellbeing.
Humanity has been struggling with inequality, with prejudice, with discrimination far and wide – openly visible in less developed regions and subtly disguised in more advanced ones. No wonder that one of the most important aims of the training programme you are diving in is encouraging equality, inclusion and diversity. Yet, despite the unlimited informational vortex we and our children live in, what the youth and adults of the future will need, is not simply the availability of information but the possibility to analyse the information, consider it critically as well as create new content on their own. This is why the other main aim of this programme is, via non-formal learning, to develop and promote literacy skills. The empowerment, which would be generated from achieving these main objectives, would also manifest itself in a third achievement – the so-called socio-emotional literacy, which stories, books, poems, theatre and other creative activities inevitably pave the way for.
Even if it is never late for anybody to start/achieve anything, WWS training programme has focused its attention on a young audience – 10-14 y.o. children, among whom, struggle with literacy and comprehension.
The training programme, which the WWS consortium developed for use in schools throughout Europe, develops:
– Reading skills: awakening children’s curiosity and appetite for reading by means of reading to them and sharing with them literary works, which transmit strong messages in an easy to comprehend way
– Writing skills: creating a safe environment for participants to share ideas via oral and written storytelling, where everyone’s contribution is considered valuable and important and where the facilitator works and shares as an equal of the children
– Analysis and critical thinking: as children progress with their reading, story making and experiential learning (via theatre for example), their level of preparedness for discussing and analysing in depth materials, problems, texts or stories increases, as well as their proactiveness and the ability to formulate and state an opinion
– Collaboration, communication and teamwork: encouraged to work together on common projects or in smaller groups in relation to certain tasks, with the help of the facilitators, leads to the formation of mentioned skills
– Empathy, self-regulation (ability to regulate and control how to react to own emotions) & social skills: not isolated from all the other skills but rather developing gradually, as a group contract of behaviour and acceptance is adopted and adhered to, different roles and stories are lived and relived, thus adding to a virtually unlimited life-experience or at least mind-experience, thriving in a group of acceptance and tolerance, which discusses sensitive topics with utmost care, leaving ground for personal opinions, which never aim to inflict harm or to curb someone else’s rights or safety.
Our project outputs relate to each other in an organic way, building from initial strategy planning to pilot activity and finally the completed web-based training course. A clear thread links the outputs, as follows:
Intellectual Output 1
Handbook: School Strategy Guide for encouraging a reading and writing culture based on inclusion and diversity values:
This outcome, sets out in concise, accessible form the intellectual underpinning of our approach, around the significance of literacy and its relationship with diversity and equality, and good practice (as academically assured) for non- formal learning approaches, signposting practitioners and institutions in a practical way towards the approaches they need to adopt to integrate these interventions into whole school policy and practice. This work, with its practical focus, was able to inform the development of the
second outcome, our pilot curricula and sessions with young people. At the same time, the project’s own experiences in creating these curricula and piloting our approach in schools across partner countries themselves constituted further research which formed feedback assisting in the finalisation of IO1. In this way the outcome also reflects IO2 output learning. The guide is also a resource for schools and NGOs who may wish to develop their own strategies, and a wider template for non-formal learning approaches more generally.
A long document was created by the IO1 Leads and updated throughout the project aimed at contributing to the development of the curricula in partner countries and the online training course (IO3) so that key messages from the strategy handbook could be incorporated in the web-based course and resources. IO1 Extended Strategy Document
Intellectual Output 2
Creation of the literacy project curricula and piloting creative activities
This output, the core practical activity of the project, involved all partners researching and developing curricula, planning and running pilot courses in their schools incorporating the strategic approaches in IO1. It both meets the objectives set out as IO2, and also, as set out above, provided further experience to feed back into final strategy development. At the same time, the courses themselves, the curricula developed, practitioner and participator feedback and our own evaluations, including documentation outlining processes, methods and alternative techniques, were important contributions to the process of creating IO3 as a robust resource for schools, NGOs and education authorities.
IO2 co-lead, in collaboration with the partners, also created a paper as a working document, IO2 Towards the online Training course, in order to enable the creation of the web-based Training Course and Resources package, IO3. This paper was continuously reviewed and updated to incorporate additions and revisions made to the curricula during the piloting of the school sessions.
IO3 ONLINE TRAINING AND LEARNING RESOURCES PACKAGE: https://www.weavingwebofstories.com/blank-page-copy?fbclid=IwAR04MSb0_tImsnFVSe25JRSk80sBh4eqUsKj8m9RTYEy8u99nojr_S0esEU
July 1, 2022