Adventure Sphere Europe

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Abstract: Project “Adventure Sphere Europe”

In order to convey the European political education in a more interactive straightforward and ultimately more efficacious manner, the project “Adventure Sphere Europe” aims at expanding and enriching the currently existing didactical methods in the classrooms of Latvia and Estonia. In view of the lack of financing resources of the education of teachers in Estonia and Latvia especially in the field of European political education, this project will lead to the development of a training booklet for high-school teachers on European political education. The aim is the introduction of the booklet into school curricula in Latvia and Estonia so that the powerful tool of teachers as multipliers is made full use of. In order to reach a huge variety of people, the booklet will be translated into Latvian, Estonian and Russian language, with the goal of achieving better joint understanding between the groups and reaching greater societal cohesion in a united Europe.

The project will be implemented by the Baltic office of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology of the University of Latvia and the Estonian Jaan Tönnison Institute. Together, this consortium builds a strong team of qualified and experienced partners in the field of political education and European integration. Next to the three main partners, key stakeholders such as the ministries of education, relevant NGOs, and local as well as German experts contribute to the success of the project. Through the active participation of different players, it can be assured that a huge variety of aspects and points of views will be integrated in the project.

Objectives and subject areas of the programme

The European Union is growing and political decisions are increasingly taken at the European level. These developments point to the need of empowering citizens in the observation and understanding of political processes in this geographically and politically growing Union. They need basic knowledge not only of the European geography, but also of the social and political development, of the common values and principles as well as of the differences and cultural diversity of Europe.

European political education has the goal to bring transparency in the European structures. The growing influence of European politics on the life of children, youngsters and their families on the one hand but also the failure of the European constitution at the first try and the decreasing participation in the European elections on the other hand require new concepts for a better presentation of Europe to the European youth. Therefore, European political education is an important precondition for the development and the success of the European idea and the integration of all societal and ethnic groups in the European family of nations.

With the development of the booklet titled “Adventure Sphere Europe” the consortium will develop ways and methods of how to explain and communicate the European idea, the development of the European Union and the functioning of its institutions in a creative and interactive manner to high-school students in Latvia and Estonia. The teaching material gives ideas of how to activate a discussion and a reflection process on the future of Europe among teachers and students likewise. It aims at stimulating to “think out of the box”, beyond ethnic and national boundaries. The presentation and illustration of the history of the European Union and its institutions as well as its basic values and the guiding principles and beliefs of its founding fathers are an integral part of the teaching material.

The project pursues two objectives. The first objective is to design a booklet for teachers that illustrates didactic ways of creatively and innovatively presenting the basic knowledge on the functioning of the European institutions and European history, idea and values. The second objective is to achieve better joint understanding between the groups and reach greater societal cohesion in a united Europe. As the booklet shall be translated into Latvian, Estonian and Russian language, it ultimately also contributes to a better understanding and the development of common perceptions regarding the EU across normally separated ethnic/national groups.

The target groups of this project are twofold. First, the direct target group is a group of teachers, whose educational skill will on the one hand be made use of during the development of the booklet but who at the same time will be provided with trainings on how to communicate the EU to its citizens, in this case the pupils. The second and indirect target group are therefore the pupils, who will profit from the project in the long term, when the booklet is applied in their sociology and history lessons for example.

The project will be structured as follows.

Phase 1: Inception phase

• Selection of participants of the project consisting of about 20 experts in education/teaching methodology and European affairs issues from Latvia, Estonia and Germany (teachers, trainers, NGO activists, state administration)

Phase 2: Conceptual phase

• During the conceptual phase, the participating teachers are to assure the teacher/pupil oriented approach of the textbook. As Europe as a school topic is part of various subjects including history, social studies, language and geography, teachers of all related subjects shall be included in the working group.
• The methods developed in the conceptual phase are tried out by the participants. Furthermore, it is planned to test some of the methods already in this early stage in school classes coordinated by teachers involved in the project.
• The developing and designing process of the textbook is moderated by experienced trainers of “CIVIC – Institute for international education”.
• Participation of experts from the NGO sector dealing with the promotion of the European ideas and values will contribute to the good content of the workshop.
• To guarantee the sustainability of the activities beyond the end of this project representatives of the Ministries of Education of Latvia and Estonia shall be included from the very beginning.

Phase 3: Implementation and test phase

• During the implementation phase between April and June 2010, trainings will be hold in schools in different regions of Latvia and Estonia easily accessible for other teachers of those regions. They are targeted at teachers, who have not been involved in the project until then.
• The teachers will be selected by the partner organizations in cooperation with the national school authorities.
• The seminars of this phase shall be moderated by the teachers, trainers and multipliers of the NGO sector, who have participated already in the designing process of the booklet.

Dates

  • [Kick-off Konferenz "Erlebnisraum Europa": October 2nd 2009|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/1/year-2009/month-10/veranstaltung_id-37855/index.html]
  • [Workshop "Erlebnisraum Europa": October 30th 2009 - November 1st 2009|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/2/year-2009/month-10/veranstaltung_id-37651/index.html]
  • [Workshop "Erlebnisraum Europa": November 27th 2009 - November 29th 2009|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/2/year-2009/month-11/veranstaltung_id-37650/index.html]
  • [Workshop "Erlebnisraum Europa": January 29th 2010 - January 31st 2010|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/2/year-2010/month-1/veranstaltung_id-37652/index.html]
  • [Workshop "Erlebnisraum Europa": August 12th 2010 - Press Conference Riga|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/1/year-2010/month-8/veranstaltung_id-42497/index.html]
  • [Workshop "Erlebnisraum Europa": August 13th 2010 - Press Conference Tallin|http://www.kas.de/proj/home/events/39/1/year-2010/month-8/veranstaltung_id-42504/index.html]