In Central and South East Europe
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ROBIN - an innovative learning methodology to support children affected by migration

2017-11-16

Children with a migrant background face interruptions in their educational process, as well as difficulties of integration in new educational environments. In recent years many countries in Europe felt an increased need for innovative learning methodologies in both regular schools and second chance programmes that welcome refugee and migrant children. High quality and appropriate educational services can prevent these children from being excluded and exposed to abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.

Terre des hommes Romania together with its partners from Austria, Spain, Italy, and Bulgaria addressed this need through the 2-year project “Reinforcing cOmpetences to Build Inclusion through a New learning methodology (ROBIN)”. Our aim was to develop an innovative learning methodology that reinforces educators’ own personal and social capacities for successful integration of children on the move who often enrol in second chance programmes. These programmes help out-of-school children catch up in school with an integrated package of academic and life skills, and case management support.

Initially, we conducted research focusing on the current methodologies used within second chance programmes and on educators’ needs to better support children on the move. It showed that children and young people affected by migration need not only acquiring competences for their social and cultural integration, but also developing skills for future employment. Moreover, students need trust and a welcoming environment. Feeling support and positive attitude in a group is significant for effective studying, teaching and for reaching better learning results. Also, assisting students in nurturing their emotional health is an imperative in order to better overcome present and future difficulties.

Based on these findings we developed the ROBIN learning methodology which takes into account the Targeting Life Skills in 4-H Model. This model addresses the development of knowledge, reasoning, and creativity (HEAD), personal and social (HEART), vocational and citizenship (HAND), and health and physical (HEALTH) competencies.

Once the methodology was tested and improved, we provided training and coaching to approx. 500 educators from the five project countries. Professionals enhanced their competences needed to ensure a safe education space where children can discover and develop their interests. By means of the ROBIN methodology, students receive support in better identifying and reaching their life goals, in finding motivation to learn and continue with their studies. Besides the development of personal and social skills, students might also see the benefits of pursuing safe and healthy lives and better understand the risks of some situations.

On October 19, 30 professionals gathered in Vienna for the final project Conference, to exchange ideas about how early school leaving and marginalisation of children and young people affected by migration can be prevented and how the integration into school and vocational education systems can succeed by using inclusive, creative and interactive educational tools. During this Conference we launched the handbook “Migration and Integration into Formal Education” which is freely available and comprises all the training modules of the developed integrated learning methodology together with examples and promising practices derived from the implementation in all partner countries. It was launched at the

ROBIN methodology pleads for an inclusive education which ensures that no learners are excluded or isolated from education.