DESS Project – An ongoing story

Within the framework of the ERASMUS + Portuguese National Agency, the seminar on Cooperation for Innovation and Good Practice Exchanges FLIC - From Local to International Cooperation for Innovation & Exchange of Good Practices was held between 18th-21st of November 2015. During the seminar, the partnership that included 7 institutions from Portugal, Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain and Germany was created.

Starting from the common need of the partner institutions of motivating the students, the strategic partnership project Democratic European Schools for Success-DESS was written. For the implementation of the project, the partnership received financial support through the Erasmus+ Program.

ID No 2016-1-RO01-KA201-024569

Implementation period - 24 months – from the 19th of December 2016 to 18th of December 2018

Objectives of the project:

a. Increase the level of motivation in the students of the partnership;
b. Implement democratic pedagogy and GRIT methodology in the context of the students' classroom of the partnership;
c. Train the teachers in Educational Technological Applications in the context of the classroom in the experimental group;
d. Develop awareness of democratic values among students in the partnership;
e. Develop "basic tools" such as language skills, artistic skills, technological skills, and inclusive competences, social and participatory skills.
f. Prevent school dropout from the partnership students.

Partners:

Mihu Dragomir secondary school – Braila, Romania - Coordinator 
18 Comprehensive school William Gladstone – Sofia, Bulgaria
CEPA San Francisco – Calahorra, Spain
Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands – Selfoss, Iceland
Centro de Estudos e Formação Profissional Diogo Dias Melgaz, Lda – Cuba, Portugal
Gymnasium Sanitz – Sanitz, Germany
Municipality of Almada, Portugal – Colaboration with a pilot-School Ruy Luis Gomes

In its educational practice, the DESS project aims to give primacy to the foundations and lines of action of the Freinet Pedagogy, centered on the "man" in order to elevate it to the highest dignity of its being, the full realization of his personality through the experience of his citizenship. On the other hand, associating Freinet's pedagogy with the recent GRIT methodology, which is practically unknown in Europe, except in Iceland, which is beginning to be used to motivate students, is known and used in US universities, namely at the University of Pennsylvania. The big challenge is for students to be happy first of all because they have a sense of belonging to the school and feel motivated to study. The GRIT methodology is a change in the educational paradigm that can make students achieve short-term motivational results.

By associating the educational technological applications with these methodologies in which the student's role is central, we create an active teaching-learning facilitating triangulation that empowers the student as the main focus of education. It is more open to questions of citizenship, equality in education, cultural diversity, democracy, values that complement the human being.

At the same time, the exchange of experiences between students, by itself, is already a factor of innovation and simultaneously a new approach for students to meet other students with the same problem, serving the DESS Website to share information, interest and knowledge of other cultures and for monitoring partner and visiting countries and for monitoring activities. 

Activities:

1st year – Let’s know each other better!

M1 – Management of the project meeting in Romania
C1 – Training event for teachers – Changing practices – Almada, Portugal
A1 – Launching of the website of the project 
A2 – Bulgaria Month
A3 – Iceland Month
A4 – Germany Month
A5 – Portugal Month
M2 - Management of the project meeting in Spain 
A6 – Romania Month
A7 – Spain Month
C2 – Training event for teachers - Grit seminar for DESS teachers - Iceland
A8 – The cultural diversity of Europe 
A9 – Discovering the European Cultural Heritage 
A10 – Discovering the European Democratic Heritage 
A11 – The winter holidays traditions in Europe 
A12 – "DESS" School magazine 
A13 – Training sessions in each school after the training events from Portugal and Iceland - The teachers who take part in the training events from Portugal and Iceland must disseminate the information received and organize trainings/workshops with their colleagues;

2nd year – Democracy and Success Year

M3 - Management of the project meeting in Bulgaria
C3 – Short-term students exchange - Students’ Councils in democratic schools - Germany
A15 – Democracy in schools - Online debates between students from every partner on different topics: A15.1 – Students' Councils and their role in school life / A15.2 – Freedom of speech / A15.3 – Gender equality /A15.4– Does democratic pedagogy works for me? /  A15.5 - What are my rights and duties in School? 
A16 – The European Carnival 
A17 – Principals of Democracy 
A18 – Student Council election - An exercise of democracy 
A19 – Meeting with representatives of local elected authorities/ politicians/ European representatives/NGOs from the democracy area 
A20 – Europe of Children - Online contest of comics/cartoons 
A21 – Meetings of students with successful adults 
A22 – Visits to local vocational training schools and local universities 
A23 – Artistic workshops 
A24 – Literature workshops 
A25 - Sciences workshops 
A26 – Mixed Volleyball / football championship 
A27 – Meetings of students with psychologist  
A28 -  My career will be … - Essay contest on the topic of their career TG4;
M4 - Management of the project meeting in Romania
C4 - Short-term students exchange – The European Art Festival - Romania
A12 – "DESS" School magazine 

Results of the project:

- A successful approach in DESS – methodological guide;

Travel Guide



- Little Dictionary of Citizenship;