SUPEER Intercultural Peer-to-peer Learning for young people

The SUPEER Intercultural peer-to-peer learning for both young locals and migrants, through an innovative perspective, aims at educating and qualifying young people from both target groups, in being actively involved as mentors in a mutual integration process among peers. The design of the programme is based on the idea of peer-to-peer learning with focus on intercultural dialogue and encounters, intercultural understanding and active citizenship. The programme, provide guidelines and tools and is divided in steps, with activities and instructions on how to use them, from the recruitment phase, to the actual working phase.

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Peer to Peer Learning – Methods

This document provides methods on how to implement and foster peer-to peer-learning between young migrants and young people from the hosting society as a way to make integration and inclusion more feasible. It was developed in the Erasmus+ project “SUPEER”.

INTRODUCTION

Peer learning can be described as the very heart of the SUPEER project. The focal point is that young people with widely different backgrounds and experiences form a learning network from the starting point and consensus that everyone can contribute to common learning topics in the overall networking programme that the young people will be involved in. Therefore, the SUPEER consortium has developed a networking programme where young people of different social, ethnic and cultural origins take part in co-productive, peer-based and community-building learning activities. The linked booklet should help to transform our general concept of peer learning (see IO1 of the project) into concrete pedagogical-methodological exercises and learning materials.

PROCESS OF DEVELOPING THE GIVEN MATERIAL

The implementation of the networking programme and the collected methods and materials are a work-in-progress. We developed the concrete programmes, methods and materials, implemented and tried them out, shared and evaluated our experiences and improved the collection of methods and materials for new networking programmes. This collection provides ideas to support organisations that want to work with peer-learning in their environment.

From the very beginning it was clear for the partners that, although our peer learning projects are based on a common concept and shared methods, they will also be quite different to match the concrete needs of different target groups in different regions and social and cultural situations.

PEDAGOGICAL TRADITIONS INCLUDED IN THE PEER LEARNING PROGRAMME

Peer learning may build on various pedagogical and didactic traditions and approaches. We want briefly to mention those we mainly include in our concrete networking programme.

As we described in the SUPEER concept of peer learning situated learning is really relevant for peer learning programmes because it places learning processes in a community of practice. These communities can be seen as co-creating and co-producing communities. Therefore, we build a co-creative laboratory where different methods and tools are used – directly or indirectly – in our networking programme. The benefits for young people taking part in such communities are described in the SUPEER concept of peer learning.

The main ideas of cooperative learning play an important role in our networking programme to make sure that everybody in the group is able to contribute to the solution of the given task and that everyone has a responsibility to get a common result. Simultaneous interaction, positive interdependence, individual responsibility and equal participation can be seen as main pedagogical principles of cooperative learning (Cf. O1).

The approach of the narrative methodology is very useful for peer based and mutual reflections. Narratives mean stories we have and talk about ourselves and our lives. The basic approach in the narrative methodology is to emphasise that people can never be identified by their problems. The narrative method also helps people to externalise their challenges and think of concrete solutions. So, it is a valuable approach for young people in facing their challenges of personal development and of finding their identity and role in the society.

The Steps of a SUPEER Peer-Learning Project

PREPHASE

 

Recruitment

In the initial phase of a peer-learning project it is important to find the participants, to inform young people who might be interested in such a programme. For the SUPEER networking programme it is important to find a mixture of young migrants and/or young people from the host country as we focus on the inclusion and the raising of social capital of young migrants/refugees. In this collection of methods and material we describe strategies of recruitment and ways to convince and motivate youngsters to take part in a peer-learning project.

Finding a common subject 

For our programme the social aspect – the networking, the encounter of youngsters from different social and cultural backgrounds – is a main objective. Especially for young people it is very important to share a common interest, to take part in common activities. There are different options to find the common subject for a peer-learning project. The supporting organisation can come up with their ideas and can try to find youngsters who are willing to work together on a given topic. It can also remain with the group to define the common ground of their project. These are two poles of a continuum of options. Anyhow, the process of finding a common topic of a peer-learning project has to be facilitated. In the collection one can find methods and exercises the SUPEER partners use.

Clarification

At the beginning of the project some decisions concerning important issues must be taken:

  • What is the final subject the peers will work on?
  • What will be the final product of the project?
  • What is the common working plan?
  • What is the role of each participant in the project?
  • When will the project start, when will it end?
  • How much time are the participants expected to invest in the project?
  • How many meetings will there be in the project, what will be the frequency of the meetings?

Methods concerning the prephase

Here we suggest methods and strategies for the recruitment of participants of a peer to peer-project and the starting phase.

    WORKING PHASE

     

    The peers work on their project autonomously. But the supporting organisation provides different types of assistance:

    • Inputs to raise the competences of the participants in managing project
    • Workshops to increase communication skills like active listening, communication in teams, conflict solution and whatever can be helpful.
    • The project group also reflects on their cooperation and on the project progress regularly with the help of an external facilitator.
    • If it is needed, mediation and supervision can be offered.

    Some types of assistance, workshops etc. will be described in this booklet.

    Methods concerning the working phase

    The following methods will help the participants and the organisers to support a peer to peer project.

      FINAL PHASE

       

      Some projects may plan a final event presenting the products, some may not. It is not necessary for each SUPEER project, but it might be more motivating to work on a final product and to have a final event at the end of the project.

      It will be definitely necessary to have a final meeting of the participants to reflect on the project, to give each other feedback and to say goodbye to each other.

      Final Comments

       

      We hope that this collection of methods linked to different stages of a peer learning-project will help others to implement such type of projects. There are a lot of other methods that can be used; the collection we offer include methods the partners of SUPEER have worked with.

      If anyone is interested to get more information about the background and the main idea of peer to peer projects as a strategy to foster social inclusion one can find additional information in our research work IO1. If someone is interested in concrete project experiences of the partners especially under the limitations of Covid we can recommend to look in the IO4 of the project.

      Both documents are available on our website.