More than eight in ten people involved in an EU-funded initiative aimed at encouraging innovative teaching methods and improved learning materials for children, say the scheme had a positive and lasting impact on them.
The same proportion also state that it would have been impossible to achieve the same results without European support, according to a new study.
The projects were funded through the EU's Comenius scheme, which supports a range of activities, from school partnerships to teacher training and the eTwinning school network. Part of the Lifelong Learning Programme, which will be succeeded by 'Erasmus for All' from January 2014, Comenius allocates around €13 million a year to universities, teacher training institutions, NGOs and schools, to support the development of new teaching methods and materials. Examples of innovative teaching include the use of drama education and basic science for young children.
"Our aim is to help schools to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential,” said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. “The added value of this European initiative is that it exposes teachers and schools to different approaches and expertise, which results in more innovative solutions in the classroom.”
The study found that the most positive impact was on individuals directly involved in projects, who said that it broadened their views, increased access to best practice and innovation, and improved their professional skills in ICT, languages and management.
The benefits highlighted most by organisations included the opportunity to develop new links and synergies, both within the institution and with others. Systemic impact through the projects and networks is less strongly felt, but most respondents say it exists, for instance where teacher training modules and content developed within a project or network are integrated into established courses.