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ASH Berlin

School Pilot Project ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) in Mecklenburg-Pomerania

 

The weekly project-learning day ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) is an educational programme for year 7 pupils in regional schools in Mecklenburg-Pomerania. HEE was developed as a pilot project in 2009/10 in three Productive Learning schools. Subsequently, it was tested and evaluated in a school project at the following schools.

  • BALTIC - School Rostock
  • Regional School ‘Caspar David Friedrich’, Greifswald
  • Regional School ‘Werner von Siemens’, Schwerin

 

The school-project has now been completed and its findings are to be published in due course.

The publication will be based on the annual evaluations of these three schools. To download the evaluation documentation please click here:

School project evaluation ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) at the BALTIC - School Rostock:

School project evaluation ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) at the Regional School ‘Caspar David Friedrich’, Greifswald:

School project evaluation ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) Regional School ‘Werner von Siemens’, Schwerin:

As four additional schools established a dissemination project in the school year 2011/12 aimed at pupils in year 7, the weekly project-learning day ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) gained a wider interest already during its school project phase.

Claus-Jesup Schule, Förderzentrum, Wismar
» Evaluation school year 2011/12

Regionale Schule "J. W. v. Goethe", Parchim 
» Evaluation school year 2011/12

Regionale Schule „Fritz Reuter“, Neubrandenburg
» Evaluation school year 2011/12

Integrierte Gesamtschule „Erwin Fischer“, Greifswald
» Evaluation school year 2011/12

Five further schools started with their participation in the HEE programme in the school year 2012/13:

  • Gymnasiales Schulzentrum, Dömitz,
  • Sonderpädagogisches Förderzentrum „Schule am Fernsehturm“, Schwerin,
  • Regionale Schule Eggesin, Eggesin,
  • Schulcampus Evershagen, Rostock und
  • Schule an den Tannen, Demmin

 

Currently, the Ministry of Education is considering whether to introduce the HEE programme within the entire federal state in comprehensive schools and in regional schools to aid an early professional orientation.  It has been widely acknowledged that the project-learning day benefits the personal development of the pupils and the pupils’ independence during their own educational process.

The project is sponsored by the federal state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania and the European Social Fund.

 

What does HEE refer to?

The project-learning day aims at providing all year 7 pupils in their school with a real-life and practice-oriented educational programme for one day per week in order to individualise their education, to make theory understandable and to turn the learning process into an enjoyable experience for all. All year 7 pupils participate one full day per week in a HEE project-learning group.

Educators who are participating in HEE run project-learning groups based on their assessment of the pupils’ interests as well as their own personal talents and interests. Pupils choose one programme in which they would like to participate in the forthcoming school year. The project-learning groups are embedded in a context of activities so that pupils are able to engage in a theoretical reflection derived from practical experiences. In this way, pupils can experience knowledge and its utilisation.

Based on the principles and methods of Productive Learning, HEE aims to provide an early vocational orientation by strengthening pupils’ independence through experiences with activities from year 7 onwards. These activities provide opportunities for research and reflections on experiences gained and connect theory with practice.

 

One project-learning day per week – engine for education or a complete waste of time?

The existing HEE project-learning groups present a broad spectrum in terms of projects for activities from different areas, for example, catering, handy-craft, event management, stage production, internet radio, nature and the environment, urban history and urban exploration. In conjunction with activities and experiences, facts from maths, German, English, biology, and technology are acquired and revised.

The educational quality of HEE reveals itself, according to educators, first and foremost in the form of competencies and abilities which pupils are able to consolidate or acquire whilst participating in the HEE projects. Apart from practical faculties, pupils also acquire methodological competencies which are also relevant in a variety of other subjects. For example, carrying out research into a topic or into a question posed, selecting information, presenting topics and content on posters, giving presentations using a variety of media, the ability to structure one’s approach for the execution of a specific task, and time management.

Also, the young people’s social competencies develop further as they learn to communicate with one another, present their ideas to each other and/or argue for them. They become ‘team players’ who learn to be considerate and to respect the strengths and the weaknesses of other participants. They become increasingly efficient in giving and in receiving feedback and are able to give valuable and target-oriented advice to their class mates. Also, pupils learn to overcome their anxieties and inhibitions – for example whilst conducting interviews, during phone calls with co-operating partners or at presentations of products at fairs in front of an audience. Here, they acquire the skill to speak and to present themselves adequately at a given situation.

Pupils also increase their ability to influence events as they are going through a process of more active participation themselves. In doing so, they learn to recognise and to formulate their own educational needs, to be responsible for themselves, and to understand that - in order to facilitate change - they must become active players.

 

Participating pupils, educators, school management see HEE as a major achievement:

Pupils:
‘I have learned stuff that I will really need later on in life.’
 ‘I have learned to take on responsibility.’
‘I would like to continue with HEE as this is a lot of fun.’

Educators:
‘Teaching can be different, a lot more practical. Within smaller groups, pupils are more self-confident. The lessons are more enjoyable for them and this makes time fly. The relationship between teachers and pupils is more relaxed. Pupils feel that they have a voice on the way in which the lessons are run and what they contain. There is more communication in the class room. During project-learning days, pupils participate with greater interest and more actively. The relationship between pupils has improved and pupils are more relaxed when trying to find solutions to questions. The majority of participants think that HEE had a positive impact on their own development. Pupils are more self-confident, they are able to give presentations with fewer inhibitions in front of their class mates, they can sing and present themselves in front of an audience, and they have also become more computer-literate.'

School management:
'The experiences gained with Productive Learning at our school since 2005 have shown that learning which is based on practice and on activity can arouse pupils’ curiosity, can challenge them and entice them to engage in learning again. Consequently, we did not hesitate to ‘act, to discover and to explore’ in co-operation with two other schools in Mecklenburg-Pomerania. In retrospect, the introduction of the HEE school project was a courageous and important step into the right direction in order to embark on a new trajectory within our educational work at our school. In this way, we were able to try and test this form of learning for all the other school in Mecklenburg-Pomerania. After three years, ‘Acting, discovering and exploring’ (HEE) has become an integral part of our day-to-day running of the school and this will remain to be the case.'

 

Contact:

  • Daniel Guzmán
  • Friederike Bliss

 

The project is sponsored by the federal state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania and the European Social Fund.


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