"Europe as a workspace" is a student and teacher based two-year project addressing the specific objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy as outlined by European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2014 agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change. The main objective of this partnership is to develop students' skills (both hard and soft) and employability and to develop teachers' ability to teach students these skills. The national coordinators of each school discussed this future project with their students and teachers during the planning phase and we realized all the schools more or less face similar challenges and needs to be addressed. The students commented that they felt unready for the world of work and that they were having hard time in focusing their attention in lessons. They also complained they were expected to focus on just academic success or vocational qualification but they felt unsure of what skills are required at the next level of education or for various professions in the world of work. Besides they had problems making decisions about their future careers .The teachers commented that they didn't know how skills can be taught in the best way in classes and assessing the acquisition of skills was a great challenge for them.
The partnership has two primary objectives, one aimed at students and one aimed at teachers:
1- Concerning the students; to equip them with both hard and soft skills that can encourage each student to participate effectively and constructively in the workplace and socially both inside and outside their own countries.
2- Concerning the teachers, to strengthen teacher's skills based teaching practice through transnational cooperation and by adopting innovative, effective and new methods and tools in order to bridge the gap between education and employability skills.
The target groups and stakeholders of this project are the students and the teachers that participate directly in the project; the other students and teachers of the 8 participating schools; the local business communities such as experts from employment bureaus, chambers of commerce, companies; other schools as local stakeholders; universities; educational authorities; families; and the students and teachers from other schools in Europe.
The expected results are both of tangible and non-tangible character. The tangible results are: an e-book (the final product); a toolbox of skills; the project related videos created by the students; a toolbox for teaching and assessment of skills; a collection of lesson plans prepared according to the innovative lesson plan model; a board game; a promotional poster, brochure, video and the project logo; the project website; the teachers' wikispace platform; the e-twinning group; the twinspace project on e-twinning; an innovative product or service based on students' coding experience; the students' professional portfolios; the learning diaries; the online newspapers, two surveys to evaluate the success of the project, the students’ blogs and the promotional video. Referring to the non-tangible results, we expect the students will become more creative and enterprising and hold a practical experience in communication and collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, meta cognition, personal learning strategies, citizenship, life (and career) skills, personal and social responsibility, cultural awareness and expression, interpersonal and intercultural skills. Thus, the students will become more motivated to stay at school and continue with a higher education. We also expect an enormous increase in the teachers' skills based teaching practice through transnational cooperation and by adopting innovative, effective and new methods and tools.
During the two year project duration, there will take place 3 transnational meetings and 4 learning/teaching/training activities. The first and second transnational meetings at the beginning of each project year will be for planning and preparation purposes while the last one will be organized for the evaluation and the sustainability of the project. In each transnational meeting the students will also be involved; and thus all the project meetings will be a unique opportunity for the participating students to explore and be equipped with the skills required in the world of work. There will also take place teacher training alongside with each meeting.
In the long term we aim at recognition of our e-book, the toolbox for teaching and assessment of skills and innovative lesson plan model as teaching materials. The project will also contribute to a well-qualified and highly motivated workforce in Europe while employers will be able to access the workforce with the skills they need. We would like to be an example for similar educational organizations and, if possible, we want to help our colleagues, all school stakeholders and NAs in promoting the Erasmus+ projects about teaching and assessing skills.