The T.A.S.K. project provides a structure for students around the world to connect as a team to learn about real global issues that they will need to face together whereby they exchange cultural information and discuss, plan, research, and create their own unique community projects. Through authentic international collaboration, students become global citizens who can make a difference.
At a time of global uncertainty and societal fragmentation, there is a real and pressing need to grow empathy and compassion and to challenge an existing lack of concern, or connection with the suffering of others and the degradation of the planet. The eTwinning project titled “Teens’ Action Spreading Kindness (T.A.S.K.)” school-education.ec.europa.eu/en/etwinning/projects/teens-action-spreading-kindness-task/twinspace is a 9 month-long (October 2022 – June 2023) capacity building project for students at the lower and higher secondary education level aimed at building a generation of respectful, responsible, healthy, and caring youth by strengthening their belief that they can make this world a kinder one.
Participants: 15 teachers and 292 students from Romania (Colegiul Național Pedagogic „D.P. Perpessicius”, Brăila; Dumitru Tăuțan High School, Floresti), Poland (Zespol Szkol nr. 12 Wroclaw), Italy (Omnicompresivo Guglionesi; IIS Cassata Gattapone; Battisti-Ferraris School, Bisceglie), Portugal (Agrupamento de Escolas Cego do Maio; Agrupamento de Escolas de Satao), Turkey (Çiğli Science School; ASE Social Sciences High School), Greece (The 4th Junior High School of Chios), Croatia (SUVAG Polyclinic Elementary School, Zagreb), Finland (Haapaniemi School from Viitasaari) and The Netherlands (Vaterigse Veld College, The Hague).
Following this project, students will have developed a variety of social competences. Students will be able to identify, research and describe global problems, making connections with local problems, to collaborate with others and work effectively in teams locally and globally, communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. They will use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions (actions, campaigns, inquiries etc…). What is more, they will develop a sense of empathy, tolerance, will be guided by a growth mindset and will believe in their potential to learn and progress.
The pedagogical approaches used throughout the project are varied and aimed at successfully reaching the aims of the project. The project is based on the Problem Based Learning methodology in which students play an active role in the learning process. Most of all, students do Project-Based Learning: they get fact-based tasks, problems to solve and they work in groups. Another approach during this project is constructivism, meaning that students are active, rather than passive learners. They work in groups, research, investigate, create, and express personal opinions. This kind of learning usually transcends traditional subjects and is based on interdisciplinary.
This project consists of different stages, briefly described below:
1) Preparation stage – Teachers’ meetings for collaborative planning of the project activities, Presentation of the project in each school (Director, teachers, students, parents etc.), Registration of the students, Edition of the students’ and teachers’ profile, Agreeing on a common Netiquette, Getting to know each other activities.
2) Compassion Boost Stage – Self-compassion boost activities, Kindness boost activities for World Kindness Day
TASK Self Esteem building activities
Self-Esteem boost quotes explained
Collaborative Brainstorming on Kindness
Dalai Lama quote explained
Essay writing: Commenting on Dalai Lama’s quote about compassion – NowComment.com
3) Inspiration Stage
Brainstorming: What is a HERO?
Global heroes, National heroes and organisations and Personal superheroes.
Writing a letter to the future self
4) Reflection and Inspiration Stage
Collaborative brainstorming: Identifying issues in our community that matter the most to students. Students participate in class in a collective brainstorming to identify the problems in their community they are concerned about and would like to act upon.
5) Investigation Stage
In international teams, students get connected and do research work on the selected issue and learn about the existing/possible solutions to solve or mitigate the issue
Safer Internet Day – 7th of February
Thanks to the collaborative work between TASK eTwinning project partners, a quiz for Safer Internet Day 2023 was created. Students chose topics related to e-safety and did research to learn about: Online grooming, Cyberbullying, Sexting, Fake News/ Digital Media Literacy, Hacking/ viruses, Data security, Phishing. They prepared a set of questions with multiple answers, from which 14 were selected to make this game initially in English and later translated it in all the languages of the project partners to be disseminated and played by other students in our schools.
6) Planning Stage
In international teams, pupils devise an action plan on Global Youth Service Day website to address their issue and to be implemented in their school or community (awareness campaigns for the school and community, donations/fundraising festivals etc.)
7) Action Stage
Teams implement their action plans.
8) Reflection and dissemination Stage
Evaluation of the impact of the project: on students’ learning outcomes, on students’ self-compassion and compassion, in general, on the school community.
The project activities were designed to align with the main learning objectives of the English subject, while also incorporating relevant content from other subject areas, including History, Foreign Languages (mainly French), Citizenship, Arts, Religious Education and ICT. This approach ensured a well-rounded and comprehensive educational experience for students, fostering their development in multiple areas of study. By integrating diverse subject matter, we aimed at providing a more engaging and stimulating learning environment, as well as at encouraging students to explore and connect with a variety of topics and ideas.
To conclude, our project is aimed at planting and nurturing, in youth minds and hearts, the seeds of peace, compassion and understanding for a kinder and better world. It is about cultivating sensitivity and caring for ourselves, others and the nature, so as to embrace Joseph Campbell’s view on the meaning of life: “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.” Together we will be spreading kindness by walking the path of compassion towards ourselves, others and the world.