The BE PART project aims to develop, implement and evaluate an innovative participatory youth approach to be implemented in regular schools, fostering inclusive education while promoting citizenship competences and youth empowerment
Simply defined, participation is the act of taking part in or becoming actively involved or sharing, but the reality of youth participation is more complex. In further defining participation, and concretely youth participation, many definitions are based on the following concepts: decision-making, taking part and active social citizenship
So we can define youth participation as:
Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training
Promote common values and intercultural competences, including Citizenship Education
Promote inclusive education for all learners
Strengthening the awareness of European values
Our methodological approach relies on five main concepts that combined will assure the innovation on the promotion of the acquisition and development of students’ civic competencies.
Is a participatory approach that places youth in the centre of their development and growth, that comprises 5 main principles: 1) the definition of the goals and objectives of youth development are defined by them; 2) a social and physical place, in which youth can take their activities, needs to be created, allowing the regular contact with them; 3) the development axis is the interaction and cooperation with others, so mentorship from adults and peer-to-peer mentorship are encouraged; 4) one of the most important roles of youth is as role model, in which they need to encourage other youth to be engaged and participate in the development; 5) the integration of youth into local and national development programmes and frameworks is crucial.
The backbone of the youth participation models is the establishment of strategic partnerships between youth and adults, fostering the promotion of youth skills and autonomy in the participation in decision-making processes. Studies reveal that these models have a huge impact on the mobilization and engagement of youth in social and politic sphere. There are three different types of models of youth participation – youth-led, youth-adult partnership and adult. The one that will be focused in the BE PART project is the youth-led model, once that teachers will be the facilitators and supports of students, as leaders of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of models of youth participation.
Is a management strategy in which two parties cooperate with each other in the process of designing and developing a product, methodology or event, that will be an added value to both. The process of co-creation brings richness to the learning process, providing a personal and unique experience between the two persons cooperating with one each, promoting the motivation and engagement of the persons in their learning path. Co-creation provide meaning to the learning, being a quite relevant method in the engagement and motivation of students in school activities.
Is a student-centred pedagogy, characterized for promoting an active learning by involving learners in the exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Instead of being teacher-led approach, PBL is an active learning in which teachers will act as learning facilitators by presenting questions, challenges and problems to which students needs to respond to. Considering that PBL is an active learning, is important to guarantee the coexistence of 5 axis:
It aims to improve quality of life and is a process in which youth takes the charge of their lives, by being activities in their contexts and following their believes, values and goals. Youth empowerment differs from youth-led, once it is focused on generating innovation and changes in the community, impacting individuals that are involved in the process or integrated in the community.
On December 2019, we launched the European project ERASMUS+ KA3 “Be Part” with great enthusiasm and eager to work to an ambitious and innovative project that promotes the active involvement of students in the decision-making of their schools, through the implementation of Models of Youth Participation and invests in the capacity building of teachers in the field of citizenship education. At first, our team was composed of the Principal of the school, Mrs. Corinna Pertsinidou, and the Deputy Principals, Mrs. Georgia Pritsiouli and Mrs. Anastasia Detsika. On September 2020, after Mrs Anastasia Detsika was appointed Principal, to a neighbouring school, Mrs Maria Kassi, teacher of Music, joined the team. In the beginning, we had many difficulties regarding the PIC validation since, our school was the first in Greece to implement an ERASMUS+ KA3 project. The solution came by the Ministry of Education, which agreed to provide us the PIC validation and to act in the project as an Associated Partner in the Dissemination of it. It also took a lot of time and energy for us to open a bank account since a lot of documentation was needed. As a school, we worked in School manager’s interviews with Action Synergy. We chose 10 out of 28 Models of Youth Participation, specifying concrete examples of implementation in school. These models are integrated into the Models of Youth Participation Handbook. We provided feedback to the Cocreation Manual, providing definitions of the role of each actor of a school (principal, teachers’ association, parent’s association, students board, education coordinator etc). Also, we planned and implemented our dissemination schedule and we provided feedback for this to the project manager. The dissemination plan which we implemented concerned, the updating of teachers’ association, parents’ association, students’ council and the Director of the secondary education department of eastern Attica, of the project. Many posts have been made in the school’s web site, in the school’s facebook page as well as we launched a press release on the local press. Also, we created the project’s corner in a central area of the school. Last but not least, Mrs Corinna Pertsinidou participated in 27th Conference of Greek Teachers in Europe and the first online on “The role of Education in promoting the European way of life”. The Conference was co-organized by the Office of the Education Coordinator in Brussels and the services of the European Commission (DG Communication’s Visitors Centre) and Dr. Theodoros Kallianos, Visitor Professor at the University of Bonn and performed under the auspices of EU Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who was also the keynote speaker with an excellent approach and analysis of the European way of life that we all share. Mrs Corinna Pertsinidou, presented the topic: “ERASMUS+: bridge between generations and nationalities. The innovative action KA3 “BePart” in the participatory management of the school”. We participated in the kick-off meeting of the project through web and in the 1st transnational meeting, in the Capacity Building seminar and in every Web meeting (4 web meetings so far). We have developed a very fruitful and close collaboration with our Project Manager, Mrs Rita Sousa, and with all partners. We provide answers to the emails and to everything we are asked for, on time, as well as, we fill in the evaluation form after each meeting, seminar or transnational meeting. Finally, we prepared the timesheets for the financial department. We started implementing the project with nine (9) students, after we had an open call for the project on October 2020, with many candidates. We started our meetings on the 12th of November 2020 through the web, because since then we are under lockdown due to the pandemic covid-19. In the following meetings with our students, which are held every Thursday, 13:30 to 14:30, after their regular classes, we started with team building, ice breaking activities, introduction of the project and introduction of the Models of Youth Participation that we suggested in the handbook. The students filled in the templates about their needs and problems in school. This concluded to the problem that as a team we are going to deal with: “Lack of individual and social responsibility in relation to their peers and the school environment”. Then we held a poll and the students chose the EAR Model of Youth Participation. Before the Christmas break, we showed three short videos and animations on individual and social responsibility as a stimulus for the students to express their thoughts. We created collaboratively two Christmas cards for our partners. After Christmas break, we created a google form, which we intend to use as a survey for all our students on the topic of individual and social responsibility in many areas in the school community. We are working on a small theatrical play for social responsibility based on three books on the same topic. Finally, we are preparing our country’s, city’s and school’s presentations and an amusing digital game for our meeting with our partners’ schools on February 2021. All our students of the project are very much involved in it. They are full of ideas, they are enthusiastic and anxious to see the results of their work in practice. The pandemic so far, in the phase of preparation, has not been an obstacle, since we are using Webex for our meetings which have many utilities for collaborative work. But later we certainly need open schools to implement what we have prepared. We are all looking forward to the results of the implementation of the EAR model to our school and our local community as far as individual and social responsibility is concerned. We also anticipate our students to develop civic competencies, critical thinking, responsibility and effective interaction with the whole school community.
Hello from Barcelona, our first months have been participating in the BE PART project. After a few first moments of knowing the proposal and organizing ourselves, we have advanced in recent weeks with actions aimed at reinforcing the bases of the implementation of one of the models for this school year. The teacher training has helped us a lot to know specific aspects of the project! About 30 students are participating regularly in the sessions and we will soon be able to expand the project’s framework of action to the entire school, involving more staff and students in management decisions. Don’t miss this google site under construction to present one of the MYP decided on commission. https://sites.google.com/virolai.com/clearparticipation We also want to highlight that we have included in the actions of the project actions to improve youth participation in aspects of our environment by joining the project (the first vote).https://miprimervoto.org/
Our school has been actively involved in the project and the students have been actively involved in generating ideas on how to supplement or improve the school environment and life from the very first meetings. In the co-creation work with principal they submitted their project, to include it in the school’s budget. At the beginning of the distance learning, online meetings took place, where parents offered their ideas. Intensive teacher training also took place within the project. Teaching, discussions, analyzes are doubly challenging in the current situation, so teachers were happy to be able to work with other project organizations and schools to expand their knowledge and work on different digital platforms: both online and interactive for remote communication.
My experience on project BePart Erasmus + has been one of the best. To be able to help the school to improve, to help us to improve as a person and student and to represent my country, is incredible! My expectations for this project are high. I hope we can achieve everything we want. It is a great challenge for us! BePart-erasmus + will help us to improve our English and will allow us to get to know other cultures. I’m loving it!
ESPF’s participation in this project has been very enriching for both teachers and students. We like to face new challenges and embracing this project is without a doubt a real big one. We have extraordinary and highly motivated students, who are available to face new challenges. When we presented the project to them, they really wanted to BePart of it. The big constraint is this pandemic situation, but we will see it with a window of opportunity.
I didn’t know what Models of Youth Participation were and now I know
The school commitment with our well being is overwhelming. Inside this group I felt I was a part of something big that affects our lives
What can I say? It was important for me to have a voice in the school issues that affects me and all my colleagues. Also, I have now a different perspective on certain things and I’m more active in obey the school rules and getting my colleagues to do the same