In today’s article, we carry out an analysis of the pedagogical approach adopted in the toolkits, to allow you to have a clearer idea of their content.
The underlying pedagogical principles of the toolkit are the following:
Key competences for lifelong learning
In line with the widely adopted competence-based approaches of the European education systems, and following the Council Recommendation, the toolkit aims to develop in learners the key competences for lifelong learning needed for personal fulfilment, a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, employability, active citizenship and social inclusion.
Among these competences we can highlight the following:
- numerical, scientific and engineering skills;
- digital and technology-based competences;
- interpersonal skills and the ability to adopt new competences;
- active citizenship;
Although we could date active methodologies as far back as the Socratic method in ancient Greece, it has been in the last decades that we have seen a remarkable movement to make learners the centre of their own learning.
As suggested by Barnes (1989), active learning is purposive, reflective, negotiated, critical, complex, situation-driven and engaging.
Within the ample choice of active methodologies, we favored cooperative learning because of the way it meets the objectives of this toolkit.
In general, it is agreed among teachers that this is an approach that increases learning, self-esteem, a positive attitude towards learning and the acceptance of differences by developing a positive interdependence among learners. In cooperative learning, the goal is not individual success.
Success is shared as it depends on each member of the learning community contributing to it (interdependence).
Cooperative learning is more motivational and therefore it produces deeper learning, better class relationships, deeper critical thinking and better acceptance of oneself and others.
Learning to think and developing self-regulation skills are key for young people to become more effective and autonomous learners. In combination with cooperative learning, it is an enormously powerful tool.
By means of visible thinking routines, the objective is to help learners to understand better what kind of learners they are and how to improve their intrinsic learning capacity.
Teachers support learners by helping them develop the skills they need to be critical and creative in their thinking, and to make hypotheses, weighing different options and their consequences.
They help learners become more empathetic by engaging with different viewpoints, and understanding how others think and feel.
In order to promote deeper learning experiences and better engage learners in their learning process Kolb and Kolb’s experiential learning cycle has also been considered in the toolkit’s design.
In this model, a direct experience is provided by the teacher and this experience is followed by individual or group reflections (metacognitive activity). There follows a phase of conceptualisation. In the final phase, learners should reflect about the application of what they have learnt in their own life.
The toolkit provides ‘light’ assessment tools that can be applied at different stages in the activities to help teachers and learners in their teaching and learning processes.
Assessment is understood in these toolkits as a process supportive of reflection and learning, and different tools are provided for teachers and learners in the suggested pathways.