International seminar “Cool Learning” took place in Norway with 37 participants from 10 different countries: Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, France, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Romania and Italy. The seminar was based on creative and innovative non–formal educational methods with special focus on creativity, culture, employment and entrepreneurship.
As youth workers and working with young people with fewer opportunities with special focus on early school leavers, unemployed young people, immigrants kids, rural youth, Roma young people and it is needed to improve youth workers’ capacity to invent, prepare, use and adapt such type of creative and innovative methods, techniques and tools which can be useful in the youth work for the sake of the target groups. It is very hard nowadays to motivate young people with fewer opportunities to be part of any type of activities but it is even harder to keep them involved in it.
The main reason for this project was to explore the techniques of cooperative learning, how it can be adapted into our local youth work realities. Cooperative learning techniques can improve transversal skills, emotional quotient, and social skills of young people with fewer opportunities through youth work activities.
By youth work activities the aim was to develop the interpersonal competences of the target groups according to their needs, so having the main focus on listening, respect different opinions, leadership, problem-solving, conflict solving, help to each other’s, critical thinking, creative thinking, etc. Besides these transversal skills, it is essential to develop and improve EQ with special focus on self-esteem, self-control, self–motivation, empathy, partnership.
Young people with fewer opportunities need to be supported to feel important, to make a self–assessment, to get positive messages, to recognise their own values and experience to be important part of the community.
During cooperative learning, the participants could experience and recognise how good it is to be a member of a diverse group, taking responsibility for each other, supporting each other, enjoying teamwork, developing communication skills, to be committed, creative and motivated. These skills were necessary then and now as well to enter the labour market and even to be happy and successful in our work and family lives.
The training course was built on the methodology of non – formal education and based on the techniques and structure of cooperative learning. Participants had the chance to participate actively in a cooperative learning process and make a meta – reflection in order to assess the techniques and structures and adapt it into their daily youth work based on the needed competence development of their target groups.
The goal was achieved and known for sure that the knowledge transferred by the training can now be passed on by the participants, thus creating a more useful and developing society.