Nine partners from eight European countries attended a kick-off meeting for ‘Mission-based Learning’ in January, at the University of Gloucestershire in England. The project uses an action-based learning approach to enable young people to learn through strong and immersive community missions that address real-life challenges as distinct from working with theoretical material in the classroom. The missions will challenge them to develop various important skills and competences, as well as increasing their sense of agency. All this needs to be underpinned by teachers who can facilitate these processes. The project therefore aims to deliver useful and practice-based guidance to teachers and schools on how to integrate alternative learning activities in normal school life.
The Kick Off Meeting held in both Cheltenham and Gloucester allowed partners to initiate important working relationships, develop a mutual understanding of the purpose and requirements of the projects and agree on the first steps that must be taken in order to run successful projects that will benefit not only the students involved but will have a lasting impact. Each partner provided a presentation about their institution, which often offered an insight into their backgrounds and gave us an idea of some of the projects that the students are currently working on. For the University of Gloucestershire, Cathy Burch led an activity based on Engeström’s work ‘From Teams to Knots’ that made clear the importance of the link between all partners as active members of the project. Our school-based colleagues brought along some of their students to the meeting, which provided an opportunity for them to not only gain valuable experience but ensure their voice was heard. They had the opportunity to work in groups to discuss the projects they may wish to run, how the project website could be designed and how they could work together across countries. The results of these discussions where then presented to their teachers and the other partners in attendance.
At the end of the visit Paul took partners on a tour of Gloucester Cathedral making use of his long-mothballed knowledge of the Cathedral’s history and architecture. It allowed partners to relax and immerse themselves in a beautiful cultural setting following a very busy and productive two days.
The next meeting of Mission-based Learning partners will be a student mobility event in Poland in May. We can’t wait to work closely with all the students who attend this week long event.