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DESCRIPTIONThe publication describes the actions of internationalization education in the OUR EARTH HOUR project
OUR EARTH HOUR
Im international!Improving the international
skills of rural youthSonja Miettinen
ISBN 978-951-588-368-1 (nid.)ISBN 978-951-588-369-8 (PDF)
Pictures: Tytti LevnenTaitto- ja painopaikka: Kopijyv Oy Mikkeli 2013
Our Earth Hour
Responsible global citizenship is founded on respect for human rights and preserva-tion of our joint environment. These themes were heavily present when planning and implementing Our Earth Hour: an international LEADER-project aiming for youth participation and sustainable development. The project was executed between Veejjakaja action group in Finland and Cambrsis action group in France. In Fin-land the project partners were the municipal youth administrations, youth councils and 4H organizations in Mntyharju and Pieksmki with Mikkeli university of ap-plied sciences as project coordinator.
The goal of the project was to promote active citizenship and international skills of young people in rural areas. Through Our Earth Hour the local youth were directed towards internationalization and living by the standards of sustainable development. The project was conducted in order to motivate young people to contribute to their regions with means of sustainable development and social inclusion, but also to en-hance their possibilities and willingness to stay in their home region in their further life.
The main project events were the two camps organized in Finland and in France in June-July 2012, which were accompanied by several smaller events. During the camps the youth got concrete experience about natural preservation and volunteer-ing.
The international skills of the youth grew significantly during the project. They learned about travelling and dealing with people from different cultures. The most important matter to the youth was their improved language skills. Everyone would participate in an international project in future and they would all recommend inter-national youth activities to others, so we can consider the project as very successful. The project has given the local youth courage to internationalize, skills to commu-nicate in their own and in a foreign language, new methods to influence the local decision making and valuable information about sustainable development and envi-ronmental protection. The project as a part of upbringing is encouraging the youth into active citizenship now and later, and it gives them a good offset into adult life.
Marita MattilaProject Manager
Our Earth Hour onlineBlog: ourearthpieksamaki.wordpress.comVideo: kelaamo.fi/fi/Edu/Elokuvat/Elokuvat/?video=2426
What is internationalization?
In the time of globalization, international encounters are inevitable. Internationaliza-tion is not a value in itself, but global encounters will help to bring forth many valu-able skills. In the broadest sense, internationalization is more than good language skills. It requires openness and curiosity, ability to tolerate uncertainty and courage to interact in a foreign language. These attitudes and communication skills can be beneficial in later life.
Internationalization is not just physical mobility abroad, it is a mindset. It means understanding cultural differences as well as skills to communicate and act in dif-ferent circumstances with people from different cultural backgrounds. A successful international experience involves comparing what one has learned in another culture to what one appreciates in ones own culture, and how to combine these aspects in later life. Being a global soul, that is to see oneself as a member of the world commu-nity, requires intercultural experience as well as capacity to engage that experience transformatively.
You dont have to go abroad to be international, there are plenty of possibilities at home!
Enhancing youth internationalization in regions
International education is an essential part of todays school work, and youth interna-tionalization should be promoted on a regional level. How to implement it?
1. Defining goals and monitoring them - Forming an international strategy in addition to the goals determined in the regional strategy and program
2. Positive attitudes and activity - Internationalization is all about the regional actors personal interest and willingness
3. Co-operation between different actors - Strategic partnerships of different actors in education and youth work is essential
4. Ensuring the continuity of actions - International projects are often funded by the EU regions should con-tribute to the continuity of international actions after the projects have ended
5. Maintaining the know-how and regionally equal operational preconditions - Active regional development should contribute to supporting interna-tional actions by enhancing the language skills and ensuring good transport connections
Source: Hyvkin strategia tarvitsee toteuttajansa! Selvitys maakuntien kansainvlisest toiminnasta. Siru Korkala, CIMO Faktaa ja tilastoja 2/2012
Global education and global responsibility
Global education is a process that opens peoples eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equality and hu-man rights for all. It is supported by upbringing and education as well as training and guidance. Global education includes the global aspects of civic education: human rights, multiculturalism, development policy and sustainable development as well as promoting peace and preventing conflicts by the means of upbringing, education and guidance. Global education supports the citizens growth into responsibility for good life and sustainable future. The goal of global education is global responsibility.
Learning to be globally responsible demands growing within the dynamics of know-ing, being conscious and acting. It is all about ones attitudes and values in life. Mon-ica Meln-Paaso and Taina Kaivola have defined the spheres of growth into global responsibility as follows:
Multiculturalism and enhancement of international contacts globally are at their best an opportunity for mutual learning and functional co-operation. Through globaliza-tion, the need for intercultural competence has emerged in the contexts of education-al, professional and private life. Intercultural competence can be described as the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations based on ones intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Intercultural competence can be developed through meaningful interactions with people from different cultures.
International skills require knowledge of different languages and cultures: cultural literacy. The development of cultural literacy through interaction cannot be taken for granted. In addition to practice, learning requires knowledge and tools to analyze the experiences. The roles of school as well as theoretical knowledge and studying are significant.
Interaction in multicultural situations has to be open and respectful. It has to be dia-logic, equal interaction, the meaning of which is to build a reciprocal understanding. Responsibility of the counterparty is essential in dialogue.
Globalization and sustainable development
Sustainable development is a key factor in global education. Globalization and sus-tainable development cannot be observed as separate phenomena. They are both processes that pursue a long-term dynamic balance. Globalization and sustainable development bring forth a new set of effects on economical, ecological, social and cultural platforms.
In Our Earth Hour the ecological aspect of sustainable development was strongly em-phasized, although the project touched upon the social and cultural aspects through international co-operation, youth involvement and promotion of active citizenship.
Sustainable development was present in the project comprehensively. In the launch-ing event of Our Earth Hour the youth gave a personal promise to protect the en-vironment. All participants have kept their promises. When asked if the camps changed something in the participants lives, 7 out of 10 said yes. Most effects had to do with conservation of nature or sustainable development, but social aspects were mentioned as well.
During the Finnish camp volunteer work was done in order to enhance sustainable development with concrete measures. At a local heritage farm the youth helped to renovate and tar-paint an old windmill and contributed to the yard work. They also participated in the preservation of a local lake by harvesting the reed. The youth got to know agriculture both in Finland and in France. They considered these experi-ences as valuable and learned the importance of natural preservation concretely.
Globalization and media
The media has an essential role as an arena for growing into global responsi-bility. The media shapes peoples worldview and reflects the society of its time. When succeeding, the media helps people to picture and observe the world from different points of view and enhances skills to empathize with people liv-ing in different circumstances. The media should primarily awaken questions of global responsibility within people, instead of giving ready answers to them. Global and local environments are interweaving as the diversified media creates a joint space and reality regardless of place of residence. The media can effectively con-nect people from different parts of the world to work towards a mutual goal. The versatile media functions were fully noted in Our Earth Hour. During the Finn-ish camp the young people learned communicational skills in the media workshop. These skills were further exploited in the dissemination of t