What is JOYFUL?


Education is like white-water rafting. Students, teachers, parents and community members are all in the boat and navigate it together. It's a team work and everybody makes a huge difference. If the balance is ruined, the chance to go overboard is getting high, especially for the students. The mission of everyone else in the boat is to protect, guide, encourage and support their children in every possible way. JOYFUL is a two-year project with schools from Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Greece, Poland and Slovakia who will join efforts not only to ensure students' safety, but more importantly to boost their social acceptance, self-esteem, self-confidence and help them jump on board their unprejudiced and unique lives. Our ambition is to find a solution to different problems of cultural, ethnic, economic, social and educational level, which our 6 schools face on a daily basis.


Motivation of partners involved in this project.

In Bulgaria,we have observed that there is a growing number of students, who need to break various barriers in order to be successfully integrated. We firmly believe no one deserves to be socially excluded, stand in the corner and be mediocre because of not having the chance to participate and be accepted. Worried about the current state of affairs and having carried out solid analysis, we have identified our target group needs and have decided to collaborate on European level towards teaching students to go beyond the boundaries and acquire democratic values such as tolerance, collaboration, non-discrimination and respect for other cultures. Since our project partners from RO, TR, SK, PL, GR are facing similar problems we have a high motivation together to provide these students with building relationships, gaining new competences and assuming new roles by introducing them to the 21st century skills. This will take them out of the collapse of isolation and show them the road to the independent choices for their future life identity and their labour market integration. After the analysis made by all partners, the following conclusions were made:

-in Bulgaria there is a need for integration of Roma students both in school and community life as well as coping with a sensitive issue concerning the relationships between Christians and Muslims.

-in Turkey and Slovakia a large percentage of students come from families with financial problems and in many cases lack of parental support. In Slovakia this leads to early drop-out of school.

-Greece and Poland need to integrate migrants and students from low-educated families.

-in Romania, the school has to integrate students with SEN with lack of primary abilities, from economically weak families and children without parents.

Our motivation is to encourage the inclusion of students with different social backgrounds, special needs, ethnic minorities and migrants to stimulate their openness to the problems of others as well as to increase their citizenship competence. Helping students to develop social and life skills is crucial for their turning into harmonious and successful individuals.We do believe that our project will also increase students' motivation to build up awareness of the importance of education which will prevent early school drop out and create the right environment for a better integration into the social and employment realms.

What do we want to achieve?

Aims of the project

The main objective of the project is to bring together 13-18 years old students from around EU and give them the chance to work successfully by using the 21st Century Skills and sharing common democratic values. Our aim is to ensure equal rights, integrate all vulnerable groups of students, increase their motivation for learning, avoid early school leaving, stimulate positive relationships and help them develop tolerance through communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

The target groups will be students, teachers, parents and community members. Around 200 students will take direct part in the activities but almost 1200 will be affected indirectly. The teachers to benefit from the project will be 125 directly and around 100 indirectly.

Through applying the following innovative strategies: project-based learning, team learning, cooperative learning, peer-to-peer-teaching, interactive teaching and drama, we will promote better understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity. This will lead to reducing the tension between students from different backgrounds not only locally, but also across borders.

Using non-formal methods, CLIL lessons, drama, dual coding and research (analysis and synthesis), students will acquire the key competences: initiative, active citizenship, tolerance, cultural awareness, ability to work with information, computer skills and use of English. Teachers will provide a dynamic professional environment by integrating good practices and sharing experiences.

All partners are united around the idea of building bridges among our nations, promoting understanding of different cultures and being unique in the diversity we represent. These priorities will be the leading ideas in all our activities: workshops, seminars, discussions, lessons, sketches and cultural programmes.

All our products (calendar, travel guide, e-book, magazine, "My future job profile" application, sketches, postcards, exhibitions, video presentations) will be available on: TwinSpace platform, the website and blogs of the project and the YouTube channel.

The project will have the following impact on the students:

- use of the 21st century skills

- improved digital and language key competences

- improved social skills and behavior, self-esteem, self-confidence, multiculturalism, openness to         new experiences

- Cultural awareness and intercultural competences

Since our project deals with promotion of the democratic ideas of justice, equality and freedom, the transmission of values such as fairness and equal opportunities to all is the long-term effect to be achieved, as well as noticeable changes in the mentality and attitude of the students who will be open to the ideas of integration, inclusion and long-lasting friendships.

By the end of this 2-year project we will have teachers with motivation and strategies to include all students in and outside of the classroom and practical solutions to the cooperation. All the participants in the project will have the awareness of belonging to the big European family which ensures a positive attitude and a firm belief that they are not alone in their endeavors.

To sum up, as Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.", with this project we will involve our students and help them stay involved not only at school but in all spheres of European life where we are all different but united in diversity.

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