“Teachers cannot teach how to be entrepreneurial without themselves being entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurial competency and skills can be acquired or built only through hands-on, real life learning experiences.”
Commission, Entrepreneurship Education: A Guide for Educators, 2013
NEET youth is becoming one of the most important challenges to the European societies and increasingly will be.
Drop-out and early school leaving will increase, as schools are falling more and more behind the cultures of 21st century youth.
Most NEET prevention measures are based on the unfortunate assumption that potential NEETs are not able to learn, to work intellectually or to develop educational or labour market relevant competences. This is why most of these settings are based on a practical and manual work.
Ironically this means that NEET prevention can result in learning prevention.
Potential NEET youth and NEET youth are indeed able to develop strong intellectual and learning capacity, given the proper opportunities and learning settings.
It is an important element in the open the doors to community didactics to break through this inertia of depressed mentality in NEET prevention environments – including all levels of those environments – by inviting different kinds of players from other sectors, and with different mentalities, to join and engage in the projects and activities created with and for the youth groups.
To create new capacity in NEET preventions to support the learning of 21st century competences among the young people, the project needs to address and work with the professional staff in these settings, mostly teachers, social educators and youth educators.
The educational professionals are the gatekeepers of innovative didactics, allowing potential NEETs to re-engage in learning and initiative-taking.
Therefore Open the Doors is missioned to create new didactics for NEET prevention THROUGH building 21st century didactic capacity among the professionals.
IN CONCISE FORM THE PROJECT WILL BUILD 21ST CENTURY NEET PREVENTION CAPACITY AMONG NEET PREVENTION EDUCATORS THROUGH ENGAGING THEM IN CONCRETE PROJECTS WITH THE YOUNG TEAMS AND THE COMMUNITY, BASED ON THE PROJECT’S 5 FUTURE-ORIENTED METHODOLOGIES: REAL-LIFE LEARNING, LEARNING IN MIXED REALITIES, WORKING WITH COMMUNITY, ENTREPRENEURIAL INITIATIVE-TAKING AND USING CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY.
The capacity building of the educators will result from the interaction between such practical experimentation and the collective reflections systematically included in the project.
The DOCUMENTATION of project’s extensive capacity building among participating educators will generate NEW KNOWLEDGE, on which the project’s final outcomes will be based – offering rich didactic guidance to a wider audience of NEET prevention educators across Europe.
The project mission is based on the assumption that potential NEET youth and NEET youth are indeed able to develop strong intellectual, creative and learning capacity as clearly demonstrated and documented along 20 years of practice by the global Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, established by the MIT Media Lab in Boston.
However, traditional NEET prevention is not able to offer such didactics that allows and fosters such intellectual activity, based as they are on the pedagogy of practical and manual work.
In summary the objectives pursued by Open the Doors therefore are:
- To create new capacity in NEET preventions by working with the professional staff in the prevention provisions, mostly teachers, social educators and youth workers.
- To innovate in the didactics of NEET prevention by applying the 21st century entrepreneurial learning, linking the youth interest with the community needs and creating practical learning processes.
- To build capacity among NEET to re-engage in learning, community and work.
- To link this new experience to the education institutions responsible for training the new generations of teachers and youth workers.
- To upgrade the recognition of the NEET prevention institutions
- To produce experienced based documentation to share among education institutions in order to unify the criteria in NEET prevention.
The core of the teacher and youth worker capacity building is to organize such practical learning activities that allow potential NEET youth to pick up 21st century learning mechanisms, to take a re-newed interest in learning and taking action and to equip them with valuable social eco-systems. This will be experimented by negotiating missions between teachers and small teams of young people matching the youth interests and talents and community needs.
Thus the NEET prevention educators will learn and capacity-build through organizing new and engaging learning activities with and for the young people enrolled in the settings, through joint transnational reflection forums and through collectively describing and documenting their accomplishments.
“Education institutions should be encouraged to become more entrepreneurial in their wider approach, to ensure that they develop and live a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation through their missions, leadership, stakeholder engagement, curricula and learning outcomes.”
Commission, Entrepreneurship 2020 Action plan
“… non-formal and informal learning can play an important and complementary role by bringing added value for all young people, especially those in a NEET situation, in the transition to the labour market: building bridges between education and employment systems, complementing the formal education system, providing self-confidence, social capital and self-development."
Council of the European Union, Council conclusions on enhancing the social inclusion of young people NEET
Open the Doors builds on and offers 3 major pillars of innovation:
- Teachers’ competence development through the dialectics of practical real-life experimentation and systematic collective reflection and documentation
- Developing and producing future-oriented 21st century re-engagement didactics for potential NEET youth, reversing the traditional practical and manual learning pitfalls
- Creating open virtual guidance for wider European audiences directly based on knowledge generated by the project practice and co-created by the participating educators and youth teams
These innovative approaches build on careful studies of:
- The lack of sustainable results from traditional NEET prevention
- The re-engagement potentials of 21st century didactics
- The Commission’s Europe 2020 strategies for entrepreneurial education and inclusion
- Impact assessments of the most powerful project for disadvantaged youth in the world, the 20 years Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, born at the MIT in Boston
- Assessment of the results of one of the most successful European projects for NEETs, the LABlearning project - http://www.lablearning.eu/
The overarching and innovative mission of the Open the Doors project is to demonstrate that different didactics and learning principles can indeed create learning engagement, capacity and 21st century competences among potential NEETs.
To do this NEET prevention settings and NEET prevention educators need to open the doors to dramatically new and future-oriented didactics based on:
NEET prevention educators and youth teams building capacity through engaging in problems and challenges important to the community and the surrounding world
21ST CENTURY LEARNING METHODS IN MIXED REALITIES
NEET prevention educators and youth teams building capacity through fully integrating physical and virtual realities in the work processes, also inviting a linking of local and global
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY
NEET prevention educators and youth teams building capacity through creating partnerships with a variety of community players from educations and private enterprises to NGO’s and local authorities
ENTREPRENEURIAL MIND-SETTING AND INITIATIVE-TAKING
NEET prevention educators and youth teams building capacity through creating projects based on identifying community needs and interest and taking action on these needs and interests
NEET prevention educators and youth teams building capacity through documenting their work and learning processes with creative media and sharing experience through professional, social and gaming networks
The project’s innovation capacity will be considerably reinforced through the interaction with the development of the Commission’s new European Entrepreneurial Competence Framework, in which project players will be engaged.
The project’s NEET prevention didactics innovation will materialize into the following key results:
Guidelines for 21st century NEET prevention
(Guidelines for 21st century NEET prevention facilities and staff, including a rich selection of materials in different media, such as interviews, story-telling and other creative materials)
Are you a NEET prevention worker?
(Illustrated PDF guidelines for NEET prevention teachers and youth educators)
European NEET Prevention Guidance Service
(Offered by a team of partners and pilot teachers and youth educators in mixed realities and on non-profit basis)
What NEET prevention NEED
(Policy paper for public authorities and similar stakeholders)
Funding NEET prevention facilities?
(How to fund quality NEET prevention facilities through public and private funding mechanisms – policy paper)
The Open the Doors hand-out collection
(PDF collection including the 10 project 1 page thematic hand-outs, addressing key 21st century NEET prevention thematics)
Are NEETs not able to learn? Why not ask them?
(Short-paper for a broad European educational and policy audience)
A CHARTER OF MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING?
In Catalonia we are using this “charter” as a platform for our NEET work:
- Competences to live and work and learn in a constantly changing society
- Creative technology competences to exploit present and future opportunities to work and learn – in non-academic ways
- Competences and mentality to manage change along a long life full of surprises and unexpected turns
- Entrepreneurial mind-sets to create their own living
- Competences to learn through self-directed internet resources
- Experience in working with communities, virtual as well as physical and social
- Self-confidence to take action and create something for themselves
- Learning through and in mixed realities of non-linear problem solving
- To navigate in a virtual mess, not reading books
- Recognition for intellectual capacity not confused with academic capacity
- Short-term labour market skills
- To be devaluated to manual workers only able to perform practical tasks
- To be measured against an outdated education system
- To be exploited to fill short-term skills shortages
- To receive discount learning environments
- To be offered compensatory jobs and traineeships to help unemployment statistics
- Charity and compensations