Brussels, 7 May 2013
8 out of 10 say EU projects aid innovation in classroom
More than eight in ten people involved in an EU-funded initiative aimed at encouraging innovative teaching methods and improved learning materials for children say the scheme had a positive and lasting impact on them. The same proportion also stated that it would have been impossible to achieve the same results without European support, according to a new study.
The projects were funded through the EU's Comenius scheme, which supports a range of activities, from school partnerships to teacher training and the eTwinning school network. Part of the Lifelong Learning Programme, which will be succeeded by 'Erasmus for All' from January 2014, Comenius allocates around €13 million a year to universities, teacher training institutions, NGOs and schools, to support the development of new teaching methods and materials. Examples of innovative teaching include the use of drama education and basic science for young children (see background).
"Our aim is to help schools to provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and confidence that they need to reach their full potential,” said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. "The added value of this European initiative is that it exposes teachers and schools to different approaches and expertise, which results in more innovative solutions in the classroom.”
The study found that the most positive impact was on individuals directly involved in projects, who said that it broadened their views, increased access to best practice and innovation, and improved their professional skills in ICT, languages and management.
The benefits highlighted most by organisations included the opportunity to develop new links and synergies, both within the institution and with others. Systemic impact through the projects and networks is less strongly felt, but most respondents say it exists, for instance where teacher training modules and content developed within a project or network are integrated into established courses.
The 'Study of the Impact of Comenius Centralised Actions: Comenius Multilateral Projects and Comenius Multilateral Networks’ was conducted for the European Commission by the Greek educational organisation Ellinogermaniki Agogi from December 2010-December 2012. It conducted a survey among participants in 145 projects and networks.
The DICE project involved 12 countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK). It focused on the positive effects of drama education on the development of pupils. Non-profit organisations and universities from the countries teamed up to carry out the research. The partners included educational theatre and arts practitioners, psychologists and sociologists. The EU provided €282 000 over two years in co-funding for the project.
For the Naturbild project, universities and teacher education institutions from six countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria) developed a new teaching strategy to help children moving from pre-school to primary school. The consortium produced video analyses of children’s play and lessons and used them to train teachers in specialised workshops. The project received €298 000 in EU co-funding over two years.
Comenius and eTwinning
The Comenius programme is open to schools, teachers and educational organisations from the 27 EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Some parts of the programme are also open to organisations from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. The projects and networks which are the focus of this new study can involve additional partners from any other country.
Created in 2005, eTwinning is a growing community of schools in Europe. 200 000 teachers and more than 100 000 schools from 33 European countries (the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) have signed up to use its free and safe online environment for teacher training and joint educational projects. The eTwinning portal is available in 25 languages. As part of the eTwinning Plus initiative, launched in March 2013, selected schools from schools in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have joined the eTwinning community.
Who was Comenius?
The EU Comenius programme for schools is named after the Czech writer and scientist John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), who is considered as the father of universal education, based on equal opportunities for all children. He lived and worked in many different countries in Europe.
For more information
More about Comenius Multilateral Networks and Projects including funding rules, examples and project results
European Commission: The Comenius programme
European Commission: Education and training
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