Nowadays, no matter where teenagers are from, they face all sorts of problems and, sometimes, they do not know how to deal with them. Therefore, eight teachers from Turkiye (2), Romania (2), Belgium (1), Poland (1) and Italy (2) gave 56 students the chance to describe and share their problems in order to find solutions in order to solve them in the eTwinning project ‘And you?’, which lasted from October 2022 till May 2023.
Like any other eTwinning project, it is the result of the collaboration between the two founders, the 6 partner teachers and their students. The founders, together with the partners, decided the project plan, the distribution of the tasks, the project activities and the group roles.
In this project, the students:
- gained life skills, such as problem solving as the main idea of our project is teenage problems;
- gained critical and analytical thinking skills while describing the problems they face and found solutions;
- gained communication and collaboration skills as they met and interacted with their peers while doing the project activities;
- improved their creativity as they carried out the project activities with their imagination and web tools;
- gained global awareness and multicultural literacy as they took part in mixed country teams with their foreign friends, learned about their problems, shared ideas etc.;
- improved their communication skills and their English knowledge as the language of the project was English;
- improved digital skills as they used web tools while implementing the project activities.
In order to develop students’ 21 century skills, we applied the following approaches:
- project-based learning approach– each activity was a project in itself for which the students had to do research, analyse, synthesize, express their opinion, write texts, use their imagination, work individually and in groups etc.;
- peer-learning and communicative approach– they had to communicate, to share their problems, to find solutions, they learned from one another, to collaborate with their partners to carry out the tasks;
- student-centred learning approach– as the students were actively involved in all the activities, the products were done by them and the teachers were just mentors/ supervisors; the students were the ones who decided the final product of the project on Forum.
I involved 7 students in this project from 11th grade, philology intensive French group, and other 7 students were involved by my colleague, the geography teacher. I integrated the project in the existing curriculum and I coordinated the students to do the activities during the English classes. Each activity has a description, aims and learning outcomes which are in line with the general and specific objectives for the English curriculum for grade 11, English minor. We applied a multidisciplinary approach so that the students could use and acquire knowledge from different subjects and treat the topics from different perspectives and in order to do the project outcomes they used their knowledge of English, ICT, psychology, geography etc.
During the classes, the students worked individually, in pairs or in groups to design the logos, posters, to write slogans, to express their views about eTwinning etc. The examples of problems given by the students arouse a lot of debates and they gave personal opinions, examples and solutions that worked in their case.
We designed a monthly project plan with a description of the activity, aims, responsible partners and learning outcomes. All the teachers and students were involved in the activities and collaborated to achieve each activity’s aims. The clear proofs that we achieved the project objectives are the visible and invisible outcomes. The students created: videos, presentations, logos, posters, slogans; contributed to the creation of the word cloud, mindmap, ebook.
It is essential to use technology in eTwinning projects as it facilitates collaboration, communication, helps express creativity, create common products, share information, disseminate activities and final products, express their views, to share their problems and solutions for these problems, to find project partners etc. The web 2.0 tools were used in accordance with the aims of the activities and the students’ age. In each activity description, the founders specified the web 2.0 tools used (Padlet, GSuite- Google Docs, Google Slides, Forms; Canva, Bitmoji, Mentimeter, Popplet, Voki, Fliphtml5 etc.).
Among the activities we carried out, I would like to mention: ‘Who we are’, ‘Where we study’, ‘Where we live’, 7th February, 2023 Safer Internet Day- ‘Let’s add some tips about how to be safe online’, ‘Our Project Logo’, ‘Our Project Poster’, ‘Our Project Slogan / Motto’, ‘Teenage Problems – Feel free to express yourself!’, ‘Our mindmap with social issues and teenage problems’, 9th May 2023- eTwinning Day, Final Product of the Project- was decided according to the co-decision on the ESEP Forum, i.e. an ebook of solutions to the teenage problems and social issues. All the project outcomes were disseminated on TwinSpace and on the project blog (https://andyouetwinningproject.blogspot.com/).
In order to evaluate the project, we applied evaluation surveys to students, teachers and parents at the end of the project. At the beginning of the project we applied pre-surveys for students, teachers and parents to learn their expectations. In this way, we measured the impact of the project on them and if we have met their expectations. Another way of measuring the impact of the project on the students is their comments/ feedback on Forum- Page discussions and blog.
A recognition of the quality of the activities carried out in this project is the National Quality Label which I received in October 2023.