ACT!
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Children finding their way around in their hometown

University of Goettingen, Germany

Project Team:

Nicole Garbrecht, Kati Vorwerk, Mara Röver

Supported by: Prof. Hans-Dieter Haller, Jutta List-Ivankovic, Leena Freitag

Abstract/Summary:

The project was initiated to support and empower children of migrant families taking part in a language training by the University of Göttingen. Within this frame an excursion to the historical city centre of Göttingen was organized as an extra-curricular activity. The children learned to use compass and map in order to find their way to certain places in the city on their own while solving a quiz. The project was supposed to give the children more confidence in finding their way around, make them more familiar with their home town and thus strengthen their identification with the city they live in.

Rationale/ Background:

Germany is home to some 15 million people with a migrant background. Integrating them is one of the key tasks of society. In addition several studies show that formal education does not reach children of migrant families adequately. Thus informal education can be a valuable contribution in addition to formal education for these children.

The project facilitates active learning and improves skills which are essential for these children to become fully integrated and active members of society.

Target Group and Context:

The project was aiming at children of migrant families who take part in a language training carried out by the University of Göttingen. The group consisted of five children at the age of nine to ten.

The children were familiar with their immediate neighbourhood but did not know other areas of the city. They were eager to get to know more places but lacked confidence and courage to explore them on their own.

Objectives:

  • Learning to find a way independently
  • Discovering regional distinctions of the city
  • Strengthening the children’s autonomy and self-confidence
  • Improving communication and cooperation
  • Promoting the children’s identification with their home town

Informal Learning Activities:

The children took part in an extra-curricular excursion to the ancient city centre of Göttingen. They learned to use compass and map in order to find their way to certain places in the city on their own while answering a quiz.

The activity was prepared by the project team who informed the parents, prepared the material and explained what the children needed to know. In the follow-up the children had the possibility to give their feed-back.

Evaluation:

  • The project was evaluated by the project team, assisted by a team from the University of Göttingen.
  • <b>Overall questions of the study were:</b>
  • What do children learn when exploring their home town on their own?
  • Which competencies will be promoted through the project?
  • Which effects can be observed?
  • <b>The evaluation focused on the topics:</b>
  • Cultural knowledge
  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Independence
  • Getting and using information
  • The aim of the evaluation was to find out what the children had learned in the above mentioned fields.
  • The evaluation was conducted via observation by the project team. The project leaders accompanied the children’s group but the children acted independently. They made notes which were analysed subsequently and evaluated the quiz after the activity. The results were transferred to the IAS-system.

Results:

The project was received well by the children. The children had a lot of fun and the group cooperated very well. They found their way without any help by the project team. Through the project the children experienced a feeling of success. Now they are able to find their way around in the city on their own. This strengthened not only their self-confidence but also their interest in the regional distinctions of the city. When local history was addressed at school they all had good results in their exams.

The evaluation with the IAS-system shows that learning took place in each of the above mentioned fields.