AN ACADEMIC EXERCISE: PROVIDING THE THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
After having been working on International Skills (Global Competences) with our students for a while in ELvis 3 & 4, a number of schools in the ELvis partnership secured funding through the Erasmus+ KA2 programme in 2015 to create:
An International Skills Inventory and Training Programme for Global Citizens. The project began in September 2015 and ran until August 2018, building on the successful exploratory work around International Skills carried out by several of the school partners. They were joined by Sarah Jones (our ELvis researcher – see the research page) from the University of Hull in the UK. The official launch took place at the University of Hull in October 2015 (see the picture below).
There were 4 key outputs in the project, as follows:
- To create an International Skills Inventory, primarily aimed at EU citizens, which is the basis of both an International Competency Framework and an Online Assessment Tool.
- To create an International Skills Course including interactive course materials, student activities, examples and assignments, which foster both collaboration and autonomy leading to deep learning in a series online learning materials. These enable secondary school teachers to assess, teach, test and certify relevant international competences, with the aim of improving the level of key competencies and skills with particular regard to their relevance to the labour market and the contribution to a cohesive society.
- Teachers can use a freely available digital resource teacher toolkit including a suite of tools (an online community of practice, dedicated YouTube channel and an eBook) which will collate the few pre-existing case studies and develop new case studies, exemplars, rubrics, templates etc, which can be continually updated after the project end. (see http://www.isitpgc.org)
- We also disseminated the first 3 outputs through already established European and International networks by means of presentations, publicity and events. We will continue to contribute to the academic discourse on the development and application of International Skills through meetings in our own networks, national networks of schools, academic papers and conference presentations.
Learning, Teaching and Training Events.
During the course of the project. We ran 3 separate learning, teaching and training events, inviting interested people to attend and discuss International Skills and how to best attain them.
BACK TO BASICS: PUTTING THE THEORY INTO PRACTICE
Three years of ‘more academic work’ ensured that we, being practice-oriented teachers, wanted our students to do more hands-on work and show what they could achieve. That is why Sophianum put in a successful bid for an Erasmus+ 229 project on Putting International Skills into Practice. (ISPiP).
Two German Schools (WGE Enger and KSF Freigericht, and CDG from Lecce joined the bid as ‘experienced partners’ and Pedro Cerrada from Utebo and The Ridgeway School from Wroughton were the ‘new’ members to the crew.
The objective was to have 25 students in all of the 6 schools first do the International Skills Survey, receive results and then work on the relevant learning materials developed in the previous project. After having done this, the students were asked to set themselves a challenge, that could be met in either a school, university of work experience setting abroad, while staying in a host family. The students needed to learn the basics of the language spoken in the country that they face the challenge in and also get to know the area by taking part in a couple of ‘heritage trails’ showing the direct surroundings of the school and some relevant places a little further away.
In 2018-’19 There were the ‘experiences’ in Lecce, Freigericht and Gulpen. In the final year of the project, Enger and Wroughton were visited. The final meeting in Gulpen, showcasing what the students did, could not be held because of the Covid situation.
In 2021 the schools from Lecce and Gulpen joined by schools from Merksem, Melilla and Stockholm started to plan a sequel to this, to keep the topic high on the agenda for students.