Over the past two years, international research has been conducted into how you can use educational methods to empower young people to do more with sustainability. Working together with people other than yourself, working on practical issues and a coaching role for teachers are important conditions for achieving real results. Aeres University of Applied Sciences Wageningen made an important contribution to monitoring this research and providing hands-on training to lecturers.
Land-based TVET’s from eight different European countries participated in this two-year international study: Austria, Finland, Denmark, Spain, The Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Hungary. During the study, four different methods were tested on the students and participating teachers were given the opportunity to gain experience working with these different methods.
Methods such as Innovation Camp, Living Lab, Gamification and Team-learning have been tested with an international group of students (to participate in learning) and teachers (to learn about the method) from all 8 participating countries. There are little differences between these four methods. The research has made it clear that a good method should meet a number of preconditions. By working internationally, an important condition is already met, namely gaining experience by working together with people with different expertise, experience, age, etc. (called boundary crossing). This offers students a lot and creates an ideal climate for innovation. Another condition is compliance with the six principles of Learning for Sustainable Education and so called ‘regional learning’ (real world assignments). In Spain, for example, students worked on the theme of drought at an innovative organic farm and in Finland on calculations for a CO2 neutral dairy farm. It soon became clear that these projects require a different role from teachers. But how do you do that? That turned out to be not so easy. That is why Aeres University of Applied Sciences Wageningen also provided hands-on training on coaching in addition to monitoring.
More information about this project and the first results of the study can be found on the ERASDG website at https://erasdg.eu/
You can also contact Sandra van der Wielen, who carried out the monitoring together with Marlies Beukenkamp, via email@example.com
Sandra van der Wielen, teacher-trainer in Nature & Communication
Jan-Willem Noom, EUROPEA Netherlands