This project is based on experience gained in the previous Schools: Future Labs (s:fl) project, in which a methodology was developed and tested on the concurrent and tandem teaching of STEM subjects and foreign languages. This methodology is task-based, student-centred, and exploratory, and also embeds Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) principles. The evaluation of this pilot has been extremely positive in terms both of learning process and of learning outcomes. (http://www.sflabs.eu/)
Following on the s:fl project, partners unanimously agreed that the same type of methodology can be designed for younger learners and should be implemented earlier, starting from primary school. Indeed it is precisely at this early age that students learn holistically: where they should be encouraged to explore, where communication is vital to learning success, and where transversal skills are at the core of educational objectives.
The CRADLE project therefore builds on the s:fl project, adapting it to the context of primary school education, and in particular to pupils aged 8 onwards. The two major new design features are that (1) the project will rely on primary school teachers who are not foreign language (FL) teachers, but will be taught to use their FL knowledge in their teaching, thereby supporting the creation of an FL-learning environment; (2) the CRADLE methodology will be applied to cross-curricular projects that support the learning of entrepreneurial skills (as defined in the EntreComp framework), such as problem-solving, personal responsibility, social responsibility, curiosity, communication and cooperation, among others.
These are skills that in any case are (or should be) key learning objectives of the primary school curriculum, so this project will not be adding, but rather will be adding a layer of intention, to the subjects that are already taught.
The CRADLE teaching methodology will be particularly well adapted to entrepreneurship education as it rests on task-based, student-centred, exploratory learning, embedding also CLIL principles. Pupils will therefore acquire entrepreneurial skills both in the process of learning, and as a result of their learning – and at the same time will acquire language skills and increase their understanding of languages as a tool for communication in subject-specific settings.
Further innovative aspects of CRADLE include:
– Strengthening of teacher profiles through the development and accreditation of a Teacher Training Course (TTC) and Toolbox based on this innovative methodology (including CRADLE certification of teachers who successfully participate in this project);
– Development of Practical Implementation Recommendations for school directors, based on lessons learned from the experience of our pilots;
– Development of a mainstreaming strategy, which will be used to not only mainstream the CRADLE methodology and TTC, but will also be applicable to the mainstreaming of other proven and innovative teaching methodologies.
This project requires a partnership with a shared enthusiasm for the potential of the proposed methodology, but with a diverse range of skills and attributes:
– The ability to develop teacher-training materials;
– Experience in the accreditation of teacher training courses;
– Expertise in entrepreneurial education and in FL teaching;
– Contacts and influence within the teaching and teacher training communities in the target countries but also throughout Europe;
– Test-beds for the piloting of the methodology in primary schools in several countries in order to test whether the methodology works in differing educational and socio-economic contexts;
– Experience in assessment and evaluation;
– Contacts with all relevant stakeholders at regional, local, national and international level so as to communicate about this project and ensure its further sustainability.
The CRADLE methodology, and tools to support its implementation:
We will design and develop the CRADLE methodology: a task-based, student-centred, exploratory teaching methodology which will enable the concurrent acquisition of entrepreneurial and foreign language skills through cross-curricular projects for primary school students (starting from age 8).
The methodology will be embodied in the blended CRADLE teacher training course (TTC – O.1) and in the CRADLE Toolbox (O.2), which we will develop to enable and support classroom implementation.
Tools to support the mainstreaming of the CRADLE methodology:
We will pilot the CRADLE methodology in six schools (9 classes, c. 180 students in total, aged 8-12) in three countries (BE, BG, EL), and will conduct a robust evaluation of the CRADLE methodology both in terms of students’ learning outcomes, and in terms of teachers’ satisfaction with the learning process. This will include the development of a tool to assess the entrepreneurial skills of primary school students. Personal, organisational and systemic impacts will also be assessed.
We will develop Practical Implementation Guidelines to support School Directors in implementing the CRADLE methodology in their schools (PIR – O.3).
We will raise key stakeholders’ awareness of the CRADLE methodology through a programme of consultations with over 500 policy-makers, practitioners, teacher training institute staff and trainees, school directors, primary school teachers and FL teachers in four EU countries (BE, BG, DK, EL). Beyond awareness-raising, these consultations will also serve in the development of our Mainstreaming Strategy.
Based on our programme of stakeholder consultations, we will develop a Mainstreaming Strategy (O.4) setting out the requirements for proven innovative teaching methodologies to be normalised in primary schools in the participating countries.
Upon completion of this project: We will have demonstrated the effectiveness, efficacy, and added-value of the CRADLE methodology as well as the feasibility of its practical implementation in primary schools.
The pilot will be implemented in a total of nine classes in six schools. We expect that:
– 180 students will participate in the pilots (with parental consent) (est. 20/class);
– 60 staff members – beyond the “generalist” teachers – will be involved through cooperation on cross-curricular projects and sharing of information on the CRADLE methodology within the school (est. 10/school).
We will also organise “multiplier events” to involve additional stakeholders in the project:
– 90 educators, educational counsellors/inspectors and local policy-makers will be involved through the school “Open Days” (est. 15/school);
– We will introduce the CRADLE methodology to 115 school directors who are not participating in the project (BE: 50; BG: 50, EL: 15);
– We will train 110 additional teachers through blended training including 3-day physical trainings (BE: 10; BG: 50; DK: 30; EL: 20);
– We will introduce the CRADLE TTC to 6 Teacher Training Organisations (BE: 2; BG: 3; DK: 1) and will train 115 trainee teachers within these organisations (BE: 50; BG: 50; DK: 15);
– We will conduct workshops with 85 policy-makers and NGOs active in the field of education (FL, entrepreneurship education, primary school education) in order to discuss the mainstreaming of the CRADLE methodology. (BE: 30; BG: 25; EL: 20; EU-level: 10).