CULPEER for integration
Institut equalita started in December 2016 a new project in the EU program Erasmus+ under the title “CULPEER for integration - Cultural and peer-learning approaches for successful integration of disadvantaged youth and refugees at school level”
Culture and peer learning approaches become more important as pedagogical methods. The project aims to implement and transfer cultural and peer-learning approaches for successful integration of disadvantaged youth and refugees at school level.
The project introduces a special aspect: joint activities with cultural youth groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their members often themselves are living in difficult conditions. They demonstrate the potential of cultural activities for developing and improving the own perspectives and for social integration.
Learning with cultural youth groups from the South
Culture and peer learning approaches become more important as pedagogical methods. The project introduces a special aspect: joint activities with cultural youth groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their members often themselves are living in difficult conditions. They demonstrate the potential of cultural activities for developing and improving the own perspectives and for social integration.
To support these approaches the project introduces the comprehensive learning offer CULPEER with different tools for applying and implementing culture and peer learning approaches – guidelines, an e-learning course, presenting seven modules about practical aspects of implementation, and an online portal with plenty OER, including interactive elements like audio tracks, video and internet films, web-links, chats, assessments, working groups, wikis, apps with special learning tools etc.
Peer-learning is a central element of the project. Young people from Europe join the performances and participate in common workshops. Artistic and cultural events are developed together. The peer guests are hosted in pupils’ families, what enables an intensive exchange, also at informal level. The local partners and hosts of these events, especially the teachers, support the project, because they recognize the potential of this initiative for changing attitudes and for integration of disadvantaged youth and refugee children.
Integration of disadvantaged youth
Cultural and peer-learning approaches bring particular benefits for teachers, who educate pupils and students with difficulties. Groups/classes including children/youth with special needs (e.g. refugees, children with migrant background, children with developmental disorders, learning disabilities or social problems) get intensive and new experience apart from conventional patterns of learning and competing in classrooms. The exchange and common creative activities with disadvantage children and former street or homeless kids from so called “less developed” countries help teachers to show the kids new views on their own situation and to motivate them for own activities and problem solving strategies.
The potential of culture and peer learning has been recognized as able to support key competences acquisition – social behaviour and interaction, intercultural skills, mother tongue, foreign languages, non-verbal communication, learning to learn through joint cultural and peer activities, social and civic competence, initiative taking and cultural awareness and expression.
Integration of refugee children
A special focus of the project will lay on the integration of refugee children and youth. Europe has to face the challenge to integrate a lot of refugees in the society. The participating countries are particular affected by refugee issues. Cultural and peer-learning approaches have high potential for teachers and pedagogues to facilitate the integration of refugee children.
Peer learning allows refugee children to develop the skills needed to work well with others. Especially the common learning and work with young people from the South, who themselves are living in difficult social conditions, has innovative character and contributes to the improvement of social behaviour and interaction, intercultural, social and civic competences and supports thereby their social integration.
Targeted groups and partners
Targeted groups are teachers, headmasters, pupils and refugee children from participating schools; their parents hosting the cultural youth groups; pedagogues, staff and young visitors of youth centers; audience of the performances, press and media involved in PR activities. The partnership consists of schools and educational organisations from Bulgaria, Greek, Italy, Slovenia and Germany. Involved are 3 schools, a regional school department linked to 22 schools and 6 NGOs, engaged in cultural and social activities and school education.
Main results and outputs
• Guidelines for CULPEER approach and OERs for schools (O1)
• English pilot e-learning course CULPEER with 7 training modules (O2);
• E-learning course CULPEER in 5 country versions (O3);
• Online portal CULPEER with various OERs in all partner languages (O4);
• Video documentation and tutorials on CULPEER (O5)
• National workshops (national multiplier event) in all partner countries (E1-E6).
• International short-term joint staff training events (C1) and short-term exchanges of groups of pupils (C2)
• International network on CULPEER
With these activities and results the project aims to spread the CULPEER approach and online resources to schools, educational institutes and NGOs for improving the integration of social disadvantaged youth and refugee children.