Project Creative Learning for Life
A project aimed at creating and updating non-traditional ways of teaching “Life Skills” in vocational education and training.
A European project to explore, develop, evaluate and implement non-traditional ways of teaching Life Skills in vocational education and training.
The term “Life Skills” refers to the set of emotional, relational and cognitive skills that allow us to face the needs and challenges of everyday life in a positive and adaptive way.
Life Skills concern ten specific skills that we can all learn and train:
· Self-awareness: the ability to “read within oneself”; being aware of one’s own characteristics and abilities, one’s own needs, one’s strengths and weaknesses.
· Coping with stress: the ability to recognize and control the factors that create tension, either through changes in the environment or lifestyle, or through the ability to relax.
· Coping with emotions: the ability to recognize, understand, regulate and express one’s experiences in an effective and functional way.
· Effective communication: the ability to actively listen to your interlocutor and to be able to express your motivations, needs and moods in an appropriate and effective way in different situations.
· Empathy: the ability to “empathize” with the other, to “feel how the other feels”, to listen without prejudice, recognizing and understanding the emotions of others, without however being confused with them.
· Effective relationships: the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships and to break inadequate relationships.
· Critical thinking: the ability to analyse and evaluate information objectively, distinguishing personal impressions, one’s own and others’ prejudices and external conditioning, freeing oneself from them and recognizing the influence that these have with respect to one’s own and others’ thoughts.
· Creative thinking: the ability to identify original answers to problematic situations allowing you to get out of hard situations (both cognitive and emotional) thanks to alternative methods.
· Problem solving: the ability to solve problematic situations using cognitive resources to understand the nature of the problem. It consists in making a benefit-cost analysis of the identified solutions, in designing an implementation plan, monitoring its effectiveness, and finally evaluating if the objective has been achieved.
· Decision making: the ability to make a choice, knowing how to logically make the decision process.
These competences can be grouped into 3 categories:
· EMOTIVE – self-awareness, coping with emotions, coping with stress
· RELATIONAL – empathy, effective communication, effective relationships
· COGNITIVE – problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, creative thinking
For thirty years now, the Department of Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO) has considered these skills as fundamental psychosocial skills to promote health education and promote personal well-being, identifying the school system as the main educational context where to carry out programs of prevention, integration and promotion of Life Skills learning and teaching.
Indeed, the school context represents the place where the process of socialization outside the family begins, in which people begin to interface with cultural and social rules, in which children and adolescents are trai to think critically, to know how to collaborate with others, to create and maintain good relationships, to establish and pursue objectives. For these reasons, the school age group is also the most suitable for preventing any risky behavior, which is increasingly widespread today.
These skills are important at all stages of a person’s life, helping everyone to adopt resilient and functional behaviors in the face of multiple contexts and situations, often even unpredictable. Today, as soon as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, we realize this more than ever.
In a world in growing and unstable transformation like today’s, what we ask ourselves, therefore, is how to help people – and especially young people – to relate in the most profitable way to this continuous and rapid change.
How can we equip them? What are the new skills to be developed to interface with the current demands of life?
The only learning of hard skills, needed to perform a certain activity or task – on which most of the curricula of current educational systems are based – are no longer enough on their own.
As also recommended by the Council of the EU in 2020, in order to adapt to contemporary changes, educational systems and vocational education and training (VET) system have to be designed as agile systems capable of offering a balanced combination of hard and soft/life skills, enabling people to operate both individually and socially, adopting an effective and positive attitude.
Even in facing the current labour market, with the same hard skills, an employer or a recruiter will choose those candidates who are able to collaborate, mediate, resolve conflicts, seek solutions to problems and communicate effectively.
Our company, Doc Servizi Soc. Coop., as an expert company in the cultural and creative industry, has been selected to participate in a European project designed to overcome current gaps in VET pathways, contributing to their innovation and their ability to develop life skills in their students.
This project is called “Creative Learning for Life” (CL4L).
In addition to Doc Servizi, the involved project partner organizations are:
· For Business Life Skills (IT) – an expert in Life Skills consulting and training
· All About Quality Consultancy (NL) – company expert in the area of Quality Culture evaluation in organizations.
. CROAN Training & Coaching B.V. (NL) – company expert in designing and delivering trainings and coaching to individual professionals, teams and organisations.
· REA College Pluryn (NL), Venetica Società Cooperativa Sociale (IT), Biotehniski Izobrazevalni Center (SLO) and Tallinna Majanduskool (EE) – VET institutions.
In pursuing the aim of the project, as partners, we are demanded to work together to explore new opportunities for the development of Life Skills, to compare and exchange current practices and to build skills that aim to implement non-traditional learning paths through creative teaching methods.
Specifically, the objectives of the project are:
· understand the concept of Life Skills
· increase the creative capacity of individual teachers
· increase the development of Life Skills in VET learners
· validate methods and techniques in the creative teaching of Life Skills for students.
The program will be divided into 5 macro-activities:
1. Project management
2. Understanding and evaluating Life Skills
Objectives for partners:
– understand the 10 Life Skills of the WHO model.
– identify the key criteria for the assessment of Life Skills with students in VET.
– acquire skills in the evaluation of Life Skills with students.
– become aware of their personal strengths and challenges in training the Life Skills with VET students.
3. Development of creative teaching skills
Objectives for partners:
– understand the concept of creative teaching
– identify the key criteria for the application of creative teaching in the development of Life Skills for VET learners.
– acquire skills in creative teaching and Life Skills training with VET students.
– become aware of their personal strengths and personal challenges in applying creative Life Skills teaching with VET learners.
Objectives for partners:
– to identify and define a common implementation strategy for the development of Life Skills for students through creative teaching.
– to identify and define the implementation plan for the development of Life Skills for students through creative teaching in their school.
– to implement the development of Life Skills through creative teaching to VET students.
5. Dissemination and exploitation
Objectives for partners:
– to ensure the dissemination and visibility of project results at local, national and European level.
– to ensure the sustainability of the project results.
The main results of the project are:
1. I Publication: Guidelines with background, objectives, understanding, evaluation and strategy for the implementation of Life Skills teaching in VET.
2. II Publication: Compendium of creative teaching and training methods that foster the development of Life Skills in VET students.
1. Tool: Self-assessment questionnaire for the assessment of Life Skills for students in VET.