The project started in September 2018 and has been planned to end by February 2021. Due to Covid-19 emergency, the project has received an extension period of six months until August 2021.
The project by itself could be viewed as a small one that builds upon a previous Erasmus+ project, namely CARMA (Link to project). When we look deeply into Drop’In and its results, we can boldly acknowledge that the project produced several transferable and sustainable outputs that if disseminated through the right channels could bring impact on ESL on different levels on a European scale and could be of an inspiration for bringing change outside the European context.
A catalogue of 40 non-formal learning techniques has been published, this is not new because similar catalogues are available on the net from related projects or from non-formal learning institutions, etc. but the difference is, the Drop’In catalogue has been deeply thought of in its inspiration phase, its ideation phase and finally in its implementation phase. The project consortium had in mind the humane centered design i.e. the target group was in the center in order to bring positive change for the social good. The six categories addressed in the catalogue and the activities under each category were not mere practical activities to achieve solely a learning goal i.e. to answer the needs of the learning outcomes dictated by the formal curriculums. Rather, the activities touch base with the you, I, and We as humans and how we can open up and challenge the knowledge we have critically, challenge our implicit biases that are rooted in us because of who we are and where we belong to (our identity), and challenge our abilities in daring to think and act with empathy for bringing positive change.
A transferable training program using non-formal learning techniques for teachers. Here again, similar training programs are abundantly available from professional organizations, but Drop’In did not pause on only achieving a practical program that could be copied, adapted and applied. Drop’In training program was able to link the reality of teaching with the future realities of teaching and learning, focusing again on the humane factor for positive social good, to be able to teach, learn, and be the change agents in our ever evolving societies. The training program within the realm of the available resources for this project was deep enough to tackle several competencies that are essential in our 21st century learning and teaching. Rooted in the idea of collaborative classroom education and sustainable education. UNESCO’s core competencies for sustainability were in the center along with the WHO Psycho-social competencies. These two sets of competencies are in one way inclusive since they address several corners that are the base of development and change in the field of teaching and learning. Nevertheless, Drop’In ideation is rooted in the humane centered design, for this, the Soft Skills needed for bringing this shift of change were also in the center. These soft skills were not only based on the knowledge found in grounded research but also verbalized and highlighted by the group of European teachers that took part in this project.
The policy paper produced on ESL was able to link the policy framework of the council recommendations of June 28, 2011 on policies to reduce early school leaving on the school level and on the individual level. This is a huge step and a breakthrough for Drop’In. The activities of the project and its results walk hand in hand with the recommendations on both levels. Furthermore, the set of Drop’In recommendations formulated in the paper address the three most important key elements in bringing change: Professional Development in education – Curriculum Development – Monitoring & Assessment.
Zooming in we can see that no one was left behind in the process of bringing change. ESL is a major problem, and might have a different turning point in the coming future due to Covid-19 positively and or negatively. This depends on the level of readiness, preparedness, and available resources. But is this enough? Drop’In succeeded in addressing the micro level of teachers and students working on the ground with their different realities and backgrounds. The meso level of school directors and district coordinators to help them organize and think critically of how learning happens in the 21st century and finally the macro level of policy makers to be inspired and to bring this inspiration into action for the positive social good.
The consortium had a wonderful journey working on this project. Collaborated with 12 teachers per partner country from first and second level secondary schools, had 3,200 students between 12 and 18 years participating in addition to policy makers attending the teacher trainings and dissemination events.
We hope that our work could be effectively brought into use and our policy paper could be of an inspiration for bringing positive change for the future of early school leaving.
Our materials and documents are available on our website to download for free and to be shared.
Dima Bou Mosleh