One in ten students – European statistics reveal – leaves school too early, which means without having the skills and qualifications needed to make a successful transition to the labor market. This means that one in ten students is in danger of staying unemployed for a long time with increased risks for poverty, social exclusion, and poor health.
How can schools act to prevent this? The design of school culture and teacher-student relationships are crucial elements. In fact, a large body of data demonstrates that the most significant predictor of student dropout is the teachers’ support.
Thus, what power is in the school’s hands? What can school teachers do to engage their students and limit the risks of early school leaving?
The course will address the issue of school dropout to indicate general strategies as well as specific solutions tailored to the participants’ educational organizations.
Knowing that they are not magicians and can’t solve all the problems, participants will try nevertheless to understand the causes and the possibilities for intervention to prevent school drop-out. After all, even succeeding with one student counts!
During the course, participants will be informed on what tools exist to prevent early school leaving and engage in practical activities to assess the risks as well as the potentialities of their schools. In particular, participants will focus on early warning systems and tools for analyzing risk factors.
Moreover, participants will evaluate the possibilities of interventions within and by the school community, such as organizing artistic or sporting activities, national and international youth exchanges and trips, and school-related nature activities. They will evaluate methods to prevent early school leaving and learn about good practices in community engagement.
The course will also introduce participants to My Diary, a tool authored by the course creator, based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, to reinforce the personal strengths of students at risk of dropping out. My Diary supports teachers in promoting students’ self-esteem, assertiveness, positive vision of themselves, personal mission and vision, and making a personal portfolio.
Finally, participants will practice important tools to identify the needs and problems of their own communities (SWOT analysis), and enable them to develop project ideas and make intervention logic (problem and solution trees).
By the end of the course, participants will feel more confident in assisting students in becoming masters of their own learning by inspiring, directing, and providing ongoing assistance.
They will be more capable of building strong bonds of trust with both students and their parents’ families, and in evaluating their work in terms of school dropouts to take the necessary prevention measures.
The course will help the participants to:
- Understand the critical issues related to NEET youth (Not in Employment, Education, or Training);
- Identify learners at risk of early leaving;
- Recognize risks for school dropout;
- Take action to prevent early school leaving;
- Understand areas of impact on early school leaving;
- Discover successful approaches and examples of good practices to reduce school dropout;
- Identify needs and problems of their own communities that affect early school leaving;
- Develop project ideas and make intervention logic.
Day 1 – From risk of early school leaving to NEET status
- Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
- Icebreaker activities;
- Presentation of the participant school and the education system;
- Early school leavers – numbers and actions;
- Indicator NEETs (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) and statistics and approaches in Europe;
- Practice examples from EU countries and the Croatian approach;
- Discussion of the needs and the participants’ working environments.
Day 2 – Phase 1. Identification: how to address the problem?
- How can teachers identify learners at risk of early leaving?
- Presentation of early warning systems;
- Analysis of risk factors: family background, health issues, addiction problems, learning difficulties, emotional difficulties, and youth policies in different countries;
- Evaluation tools for risk analysis;
- Tips to help education and training providers develop or improve their systems for identifying learners at risk of early leaving.
Day 3 – Phase 2. Interventions in the community and by the community
- How to provide a variety of activities to engage and motivate learners?
- Review and discussion of the potentialities of different activities: Artistic activities, Sporting activities, National and international youth exchanges and trips, School-related nature activities (e.g. community gardens), School-related active citizenship activities (e.g. related to the local environment), Other group activities (e.g. cooking together, organizing an event);
- Methods to prevent early school leaving: Volunteer activities in the local community, Service learning as a learning method that can raise community engagement;
- Examples of good practice in community engagement.
Day 4 – Phase 3. Interventions for reinforcing personal strengths
- Shared discussion of activities that are promoting personal and social development with goals: Development of interests and curiosity, Development of a positive vision of oneself, Improved social skills, Development of a positive attitude towards learning, Improved relationship with teaching/training staff, Improved capacity to deal with barriers to learning (complex personal issues);
- “My diary”: authored work of a course creator. Material is based on principles of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and based on activities for self-esteem, assertiveness, positive vision of oneself, personal mission and vision, and making a personal portfolio (all materials and resources would be given to participants);
- Examples of good practice and in particular, material.
Day 5 – Phase 4. Putting theory into practice. Let’s work it out!
- Lessons learned and practice examples (projects);
- Situations, role-plays, problem-solving, different perspectives, and approaches (putting theory into practice).
- Inclusion and support begin with an “I”;
- Discussion and collaborative project ideas development. What am I taking home? Follow up;
- What can participants apply in their own environments?
- Identificating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of their community when the early school leaving is a theme.
Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities
- Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
- Excursion and other external cultural activities.