Various accounts of the European Council and the European Commission in recent years have concluded in the context of "Schools for the 21st Century" as to the great importance of basic and transversal skills. According to these studies a particular demand exists for so-called STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). STEM subjects (in Germany MINT- subjects) must be strongly emphasised as an educational priority and made more attractive for girls and women. Recent OECD studies have also demonstrated the different roles of girls and boys in the natural sciences in schools.
This research will become even more important to Europe in the future. Therefore, it is particularly important that interest in science and math subjects be developed as early as possible. Similarly, these studies emphasize the importance of learning and mastering of foreign languages for the mobility and future employability of young people.
So, the EU Commission initiated, within the framework of ERASMUS partnerships, new alliances to foster innovation, spontaneous problem solving ability and creative, flexible thinking. Involved in the project "Development of a quality action and skills-based education in the STEM subjects at primary school" are three primary schools from Germany, Italy and Turkey.
Quality development in teaching methodology has for some years been a special focus of the three project schools, as they had found an imbalance of learning outcomes - especially in mathematics and science. On closer inspection, this notably showed that girls and children from underprivileged families were not engaging with the current teaching techniques. The use of alternative forms of education and new innovative learning strategies resulted in a significant improvement in the learning of basic skills and acquisition of knowledge. The three associated schools would therefore like to build a network to carry out a project on “learning by doing” (Maria Montessori, Freinet) in the STEM subjects. The aim is to inspire all students, especially girls and students with difficulty in gaining access to these subjects, towards action-oriented learning and developing the corresponding skills.
Under the aspect of this idea for Europe, the teams would plan together three project meetings with different topics from the perspective of a contemporary problem-solving science tuition plan in the English language. For these training, teaching and learning activities each school will contribute four teachers - three from the natural sciences and one English teacher.
Also, four students are representing their country at these meetings. They actively participate in the teaching of the host country and participate in testing the created teaching materials. When returning at home, they had to report their school family about their host school stay and can clarify the experienced European cooperation.
In the project meetings teaching materials will be developed together and manufactured as well as tested during the project meeting in the classroom of the host country. All participants will receive a comprehensive insight into the science teaching methods of their host country. Additionally, the relevant subject areas of the organizing school will be presented - including existing learning and teaching materials. This should foster the exchange of ideas and discussions. Full-time education, other educational opportunities, integration of children with impairments or learning difficulties in the classroom are other important issues.
All results will be translated into the local language to be used in every lesson. Thus, the project results will also be aligned in such a way that they allow a bilingual education. Advanced English language skills allow not only teachers but also perhaps - as expected – students, communication across national borders.
It is very important to all project participants to ensure the sustainability of the project. The existing co-produced stock of teaching materials that require revision, updating and expansion, will additionally require communication with the partner schools after the project has ended, and there are other activities which will support sustainability. We also envisage an extension of the exchange on science education. The foreign language aspect, which is already a factor of the project should enhanced considerably by the focus on cooperation. Then students may be increasingly integrated with the eTwinning-TwinSpace over the project.
Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics