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It’s time for better schools: NEMESIS partners meet in Sheffield

In June 2019 the pilot schools, along with the rest of the partners involved in NEMESIS, met in Sheffield (UK) to put in common the experience with those pilots schools that have been implementing NEMESIS. The meeting was held in The Chimney House, a part of Sheffield’s important historic industrial heritage that once housed an elephant named Lizzie during World War One. 

Children guiding us towards a new school model

During our first day, we visited Herringthorpe Junior School, a beautiful school located in Rotherham, part of the Willow Tree Academy. Jane, their Headteacher, gave us the welcome and introduced us to the children who would be our tour guides. As part of NEMESIS, Herrinthorpe’ pupils have been developed a large variety of projects, form a renovation of a caretakers house, to a second-hand clothes market. After their pilots, they are now looking at how they can roll this out across the academy, looking at using the NEMESIS framework in all classrooms and in all year groups from September.

The link with real-life experiences

The NEMESIS educational model was co-designed and tested over a period of 3.5 years by primary and secondary students, teachers, social innovators, businesspeople, researchers and members of the community in France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Holland and the United Kingdom. As well as offering us an important opportunity to reflect on the NEMESIS’s educative model, this meeting also provided us with a chance to ponder its potential to be extended to a larger number of new schools. Teachers from all our pilot’s schools presented their projects, talking about their challenges, unexpected outcomes and advice that they would give to future schools. 

This meeting was the time to see, after all the theory, how NEMESIS is actually changing the realities of the schools. As part of the expected and also unexpected outcomes of the pilot, hierarchical relationships between children and adults are being transformed.  As one child of the Albares School said: “It is like getting out of the classroom, it’s more real. We are not treated as simple kids but as persons.  It’s very interesting to collaborate with people of different ages […] if I think about the future that’s the kind of situation we will be facing […] dealing with different kinds of people that you may not know very well, but with whom you’ll need to collaborate anyway.” 

“We are not treated as simple kids but as persons.” 

Co-creation labs are safe spaces to identify and ponder social problems, but also are processes that allow students to have a comprehensive view of their connection with the others, which motivates them to engage in social action and increase their civic engagementStudents participating in co-creation labs have increased their confidence and sense of belonging and feel more empowered. This empowerment is manifested in underlying psychological processes such as increased autonomy, belonging or connectedness.  Moreover, this empowerment can also be seen also in the rise of self-confidence and more articulate discourse of their needs and interests, especially in those children with a tendency toward shyness or with relationship problems. 

As one the NEMESIS community members, Catherine Brentnall, said, language constructs reality, and those kinds are testimonies that show what is in the core of the NEMESIS educational model: to put the children at the centre of everything so that the become the changemakers of tomorrow. 

And now, what? 

With all the experience gained, the time has come to move on to pilot two, in which new schools are invited to participate. NEMESIS now not only have a tested pedagogical framework, but also the experience of other teachers, parents and social innovators who may have never heard of the term “Social Innovation Education” before and ended up immersed in a process in which their students become more socially aware and innovative.


NEMESIS is a Horizon 2020 project bringing together education and social innovation to empower the changemakers of tomorrow. The project started in 2018 and it will continue until 2021. At the moment there are ten schools involved from five European countries and a second pilot will start in September 2019, for which we invite more schools.

Are you a school member and do you want to implement Social Innovation Education in your school? Feel free to surf the web and drop us a line (hello@nemesis-edu.eu) or fill our contact form.

Are you a social innovator who – as those mentioned here- would like to collaborate with a school? Click here for more info on how to become a mentor.

Three concepts in a boat: co-creation, youth-adult interactions and student voice.

Co-creation is a central piece in NEMESIS model.  Such a fancy word deserves a better explanation. What follows is an attempt at translating it into educational jargon. I’ll be indulging in two conceptual leaps to make my point.

NEMESIS projects aims at bringing individuals from different backgrounds and ages (parents, SIPs, teachers, students) together to accomplish common goals.   As a result NEMESIS  Theory of Change postulates:

  • “Students participating in co-creation processes will increase their confidence and sense of belonging and thus feel more empowered. Empowerment of students is linked to underlying psychological processes such as autonomy, belonging or connectedness.”
  • “The involvement of SIPs in co-creation labs provides inspiration and motivation which will broaden the horizons of students and trigger them to engage in social action and increase civic engagement. […]”

Now, pretending the magic of co-creation will simply happen by gathering people, young and adults,  together is a paradigmatic example of wishful thinking.

 

1st leap: Co-creation –> more and better youth-adult interactions?

The first leap consists in considering co-creation as an enabler of high-quality youth-adult interactions.  We all know it does not always work that way but NEMESIS projects would ideally fall into the Youth-Adult Partnership category in the continuum of Youth-Adult Relationships model proposed by Jones & Perkins (2004).

Adult-Centered Adult-Led Youth-Adult Partnership Youth-Led Youth-Centered
programs that are conceived and driven completely by adults adults provide guidance for youth, but the youth have some input in decision making, albeit limited by adults’ discretion Youth and adult participants have equal chances in utilizing skills, decision making, mutual learning, and independently carrying out tasks to reach common goals programs or projects where youth primarily develop the ideas and make decisions while adults typically provide needed assistance. programs or activities led exclusively by youth, with little or no adult involvement

 

Ok, so this gives us a glimpse on things to look for to gauge the quality of youth-adult interactions. In such a situation,  youth and adults work collectively, engaging in one or more components of a project and fully exercising an equal opportunity to utilize decision making and other leadership skills. But, one may still wonder what’s the impact of high quality youth-adult interactions in young kids competence/skills development. Bear with me for the next conceptual leap.

 

2nd Leap:  more and better youth-adult interactions –> expanded student voice?

Our second conceptual leap links high quality youth-adult interactions with student voice.  Mitra wrote some time ago “More extensive student voice initiatives include collaboration between young people and adults to address problems in the school, with rare cases even allowing students to assume leadership roles in change efforts (Fielding, 2001; Mitra, 2005).”

The impact of student voice intiatives has been extensively studied.  While most research has been undertaken in secondary school settings, Mitra and Serriere (2012) have identified similar impacts in primary school students mainly on the development of Agency, Belonging (sense of), Competence, Discourse and (Civic)Efficacy, or what the authors summarise as the ABCDE of student voice impact.

The ABCDE Impact Framework of Student Voice (Mitra & Serriere, 2012)

 

Collaboration between young people and adults to address problems in the school seems like a good description of what’s going on in most NEMESIS pilot projects (watch this and this) But what’s interesting here is what happens when you reframe these projects as student voice initiatives.

 

So, what’s in it for NEMESIS?

  • Translates “co-creation” into a more teacher-friendly language
  • Sheds further light into theories regarding the potential impact of NEMESIS on students.
  • Provides additional means for assessment/evaluation of NEMESIS pilots, which may be helpful in determining the quality of experiences and areas for improvement.

Further reading:

Jones, K. R., & Perkins, D. F. (2005). Determining the quality of youth-adult relationships within community-based youth programs. Journal of Extension, 43(5), 1-10.

Mitra, D.L & Serriere, S.C. (2012) Student Voice in Elementary School Reform: Examining Youth Development in Fifth Graders. American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 743–774

Pedagogies for active citizenship: flavours, strategies and tensions

“Our education systems and schools need to prepare young people to become active, participative and responsible individuals: the complex, multicultural and rapidly evolving societies we live in cannot do with less.”

(Reference Framework for Competences for Democratic Culture  vol.1, p.7)

Few would disagree that preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies is one of the major purposes of education.  As observed in the opening quote schools are expected to drive “activation”, the process(es) of becoming an active, participative and responsible individual. Yet, the expression “active citizenship” is taken for granted. What does it really mean?

By way of scene-setting, we can locate the different flavours or conceptions of active citizenship along a continuum.

  • “personally responsible’ citizens… ‘public spirited’ citizens who obey the law and pay their taxes
  • ‘participatory’ citizens …. active community members who volunteer and take on leadership and initiative within established systems and structures
  • ‘justice-oriented’ citizens…. concerned for social justice, a desire to improve society and question structural factors that perpetuate injustices

You may have noticed the three categories are not mutually exclusive, but each of them may require different pedagogical strategies.  Woods, Taylor, Atkins and Johnston (2018) took the “justice-oriented” route “where the aim is to equip students with the ability to critically analyse society and address social issues and injustices” and tried to understand how this particular learning journey is best planned and supported in an educational setting.

By observing and talking to secondary school teachers and students involved in a citizenship curriculum initiative in New Zealand,  the authors sought to identify pedagogies with potential for critical and transformative citizenship learning.  New Zealand teachers employed a combination of  strategies to deepen affective and cognitive engagement  in order to win the hearts and minds of students:

Pedagogical Strategies to deepen affective engagement

Teachers encouraged students to:

  • Step into other people’s shoes
  • Access digital media which connected directly with people associated with the social issue (eg.  personal blogs of refugees or homeless people, videos of inspirational actions of others)
  • Connect  with inspiring community members who themselves were already making a difference
  • Select their own social issue to study

Pedagogical Strategies to deepen cognitive engagement

Teachers encouraged students to:

  • deepen the level of critical thinking.
  • work on the root causes of a problem.
  • explore the controversial and contested nature of social issues by considering alternative perspectives

Two tensions came to the fore in conversations with teachers and students:

  • The first tension had to do with the “heart vs mind” conflict or to put it in slightly more technical terms, balancing the right dose of affective and cognitive engagement.   “Feeling inspired or moved to take social action alone did not lead to critical or transformative acts of citizenship,  deep knowledge was also essential.”  Lack of knowledge, low levels of confidence or little prior experience in taking social action may result in poorly conceived social actions. More structured and teacher-led approaches are needed here. Drawbacks? Lower levels of student engagement or  even resentment
  • A second tension had to do with immediate or delayed gratification. “Unless teachers took a strong and intentional focus on critical and transformative forms of social action, there was a tendency toward apolitical and ‘quick-fix’ forms of social action.”   So this is not action for the sake of action, but action that goes hand in hand with a critique of institutional injustices and attempts to leverage policy change.

And while I was reading this I recalled a third tension, the one between” civic-mindedness (construed as solidarity with and loyalty towards other people) and moral responsibility.” (Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture Vol 1, p 44). Should we go with the flow or swim against the tide? Should we always take action, or refusing to act is the best option to confront social injustice?

Dealing with all these tensions confirms the need for highly skilled specialist teachers who are “agile and creative in mastering a wide variety of topics and issues as well as figuring out curricular connections, often on the fly”.  Teachers are adept at managing a delicate juggle that entails  “letting go” and “jumping in”,  keeping students’ spirits high through action while creating time and space for reflection, identifying short-term milestones while not losing focus on long-term and structural change.

Finally, authors stress it is unrealistic to think a single experience, no matter how positive, could churn out active citizens as if by magic.  So, don´t be harsh on yourself if projects fall short of achieving the critical and transformative level you aimed for.  Students will get better at if they are given more than one opportunity to practice social action.  As experiences accumulate,  they will be able to take on more difficult and systemic social issues.

So, what’s in it for NEMESIS?

1.       It helps to clarify what we mean by socio/political activation in our definition of Social Innovation. “Social Innovation Education is a collaborative and collective learning process for the empowerment and socio/political activation of students to drive social change […]

2.       This is more of an open question for teachers in NEMESIS pilot schools.  Do the pedagogical strategies and tensions identified in New Zealand resonate with your experiences in the piloting phase?

 

Further reading:

Wood, B. E., Taylor, R., Atkins, R., & Johnston, M. (2018). Pedagogies for active citizenship: Learning through affective and cognitive domains for deeper democratic engagement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 75, 259-267.

Scaling up social innovation education in Europe

In collaboration with primary and secondary schools from Greece, Spain, United Kingdom, France and Portugal, the NEMESIS framework and resources were developed and tested in the last year. A second pilot phase will take place from September 2019 to June 2020, in which more schools will be invited to join the project. NEMESIS expects to involve 400 students and 100 teachers in a direct way and to involve more than 5000 students and 2000 teachers in an indirect way.

The implementation of NEMESIS at Dutch schools
In cooperation with the Dutch association of entrepreneurial schools, a professionalisation programme for teachers has been developed. This programme aims to support the implementation of social innovation education at Dutch schools.

What does the programme look like?
Before the start, teachers and school leaders from each school will complete a questionnaire, which tests the school’s willingness to change. After sharing the test results with NEMESIS partners, the schools will be advised about how they can implement social innovation education in their school organisation taking into account the needs and possibilities of the specific school. The overall purpose of this approach is that social innovation education becomes part of the school’s identity and is supported by all school members. Their commitment is essential for the success of the implementation.

Two training sessions in which all schools come together will take place after completing the test. The joint training sessions stimulate discussions between the participating schools and the exchange of experiences and best practices. The two important themes of the first training are:
– The school and the social challenges
– Social innovation projects and classroom activities.
The second training deals with:
– Collaborating in co-creation labs
– Working together with schools in Europe.

After the training sessions, the schools will receive on-site guidance in order to improve the implementation of social innovation projects and classroom activities. The professionalisation programme will be ended with a final event. This event for students and teachers focuses on sharing social innovation projects and classroom activities between participating schools. In the coming year, we will experience how the professionalisation programme is received by schools. However, it is not a fixed programme. If schools want to change it, for example through practical (im)possibilities, then the programme will be adapted. In this way, NEMESIS tries to meet the needs and possibilities of the participating schools as much as possible.


Are you a school member and do you want to implement Social Innovation Education in your school? Feel free to surf the web and drop us a line (hello@nemesis-edu.eu) or fill our contact form.

Are you a social innovator who – as those mentioned here- would like to collaborate with a school? Click here for more info on how to become a mentor.

NEMESIS and the unexpected

In the Co-creation Labs at Rockingham Junior and Infant School the process is bringing up some exciting possibilities and activities that we hadn’t bargained for.  One idea that a 10 year old (Year 6) voiced about feeling intimidated by older children when he walks to the local shop has led to a whole off shoot project.  The Y6s have made a video to show the older children so they can explain how they feel and talk about how this could be tackled, perhaps just through simply getting to know the older children.  Now, because these Year 6 children have become involved in the project, they support the younger children, as one 10 year old girl said – ‘I don’t take part directly but indirectly by helping the younger children’.

Louise Greenwood, the school leader, has noticed how this helps the Y6s develop their empathy for the younger children. So, the development of social innovation competences happens not only through direct input by the Lab facilitator but through the children working together – intergenerational collaboration can take place between children of different ages, not just adults and children. Seeing this success has prompted Louise to consider having older children involved from the beginning in the future to see how the relationships develop and whether the younger children would seek out the older children outside of the Lab for support or friendship. This video is going to be put to further good use by linking in with one of the school’s existing initiatives called Philosophy for Children.

The video can be used in class with a range of age groups to promote reflection and discussion about the issues it addresses which would develop social innovation competences such as empathy and collective and creative problem solving.  So, a learning resource created by children that originated from a social challenge experienced by children is permeating the curriculum helping a wider range of young people to develop their SI competences and be made aware of local community issues.  The ideas and people involved are snowballing!

An interesting development that has been noted by the local rector as well as school staff is the difference in the children’s confidence. Their presenting skills and interaction with adults are improving, the children’s body language is more open and they now make eye contact with the adults. Today the children interviewed the adults and recorded them on tablets.  After helping the adults operate the tablets, they took part and children as young as 6 were confident and using appropriate face and body language as if they were trained reporters!

Another insight mentioned by the school governor was how useful it is to refresh their knowledge of the issues affecting children and how they make them feel, as there are not many forums for this. Hence, really being able to listen to and engage in dialogue the children is seen as a strength of the Co-creation Labs. Additionally, many of the adults live further afield and aren’t aware of the social issues in the local area of the schools so talking to the children in the Labs enables them to learn about any challenges and use the perspectives of the children to help address them.

As a Y6 girl astutely mentioned – “adults have a wider perspective, so the children bring their imagination and the adults makes sense of it.” One school governor of Herringthorpe Junior School said that she felt she had the power to effect change alongside all the actors in the Lab and one Y6 girl reiterated this sentiment, saying that she feels she can make a difference but only when part of a bigger group, as in the NEMESIS project.  The benefits of a collective mindset that’s happening within the Labs is being experienced by children and adults alike.

At Willow Tree Academy one of the 6 life skills that are practised in every lesson is problem solving and this is evident when observing the Co-creation Labs.  Two boys were given the task of coming up with ideas for a multi-functional room and, without prompting, were thinking of ways to keep any technology safe.  They then thought that having chairs without wheels for people to use would be less chaotic and that chairs like you have in a classroom could be good for this as long as they had some cushioning in case people fall or walk into the chair.  The boys then began looking at the chairs they were sitting on and talking about where the cushioning would go. Seeing such problem solving lead to creative prototyping in less than a minute was fascinating and it’s great to see how NEMESIS can support the existing skills approach of the school.

Having a real purpose is helping the youngsters with their writing skills as often when asked to write about an abstract concept it can be hard for them to engage but NEMESIS provides a tangible reason to write.  The children understand the project and have taken ownership of their ideas to drive the project forward so they are more motivated to write about it because it feels personal, important and relevant.  The interaction with real places, people and events helps their understanding which makes the writing easier and more enjoyable.

On a personal level, what struck me the most is how NEMESIS can be tailored to support different children in very different ways from pastoral nurture to competence development and how important it is to know the children well to be able to use NEMESIS as such focused, inclusive intervention.

With great innovation comes great citizenship…

With great innovation comes great citizenship

How social innovation and youth activism skills complement each other to create the 21st century citizen!  Or what Spiderman’s uncle would say if we asked him about the power of social innovation…

 

Maybe it was Gandalf, the benevolent white-haired wizard of Lord of the Rings, or some presidential decry by Thomas Jefferson, or Martin Luther King’s fiery speeches of resilient dreams… perhaps it was somewhere whispered by the virtuous, paternal voice of Morgan Freeman (otherwise put, the narrating Voice of God), or maybe it was really Spiderman’s uncle… In any case, someone wise once said ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Power and responsibility are two notions worth fussing about, and two that concern us deeply in the NEMESIS project.

How can we think about great power in our times? What constitutes it, what makes it up? What is its source and effect? Today, power is skill, skill embodied, skill learnt, skill developed, skill sprung from the right attitude and the right mindset that moves us forward through new activities and initiatives. Social innovation is in itself a form of power. And what is the basis of any skills formation or mindset? Training and education. The learning process starting by the foundational ‘learning to learn’ capacity – pretty much, like the ‘right to have rights’ is the starting point of all rights claims in a world of increasing boundaries (see Hannah Arendt) with various social groups like refugees and asylum seekers being excluded from basic rights. The foundational starting points are sort of like a charmed talisman, a ring to rule them all… Once this foundation is decoded and children learn how to learn and learners are granted all their learning rights, the rest becomes a matter of time, commitment and effort. But the door has to open first, which is what innovative training and educational programs try to do.

And how can we think about personal and collective responsibility in our times? Sense of responsibility is the mother of all initiative and action. It is the attitude to be able to say ‘I will do this’, the belief to state ‘I can make it’, the determination to declare ‘It is up to me to change this’. Just like Nikos Kazantzakis used to say ‘Ν’αγαπάς την ευθύνη. Να λες: Εγώ, εγώ μονάχος μου έχω χρέος να σώσω τη γης. Αν δε σωθεί, εγώ φταίω’ (translation from Greek: ‘You should love responsibility. You should say: I, I alone am indebted to save the earth. If it’s not saved, I’m to blame’). Feeling responsible means that it is up to you to change the things you don’t accept as just, the things that are wrong, the things that have room for improvement. This sense of responsibility, understood as self-awareness of our powers and responsiveness to them, make up the base of good and active citizenship. Good citizens are responsible citizens who are willing to learn and work with others in new ventures for the collective benefit.

The NEMESIS Social Innovation Learning Framework

Learning is the groundwork of all individual and collective development and learning opportunities should be offered to all people without discrimination. Personal growth and social advancement, as well as inclusive education, are at the heart of every good educational program, as is the case with NEMESIS. And in order to yield results, one needs to have a plan. Just like NEMESIS and its Social Innovation Learning Framework (hereafter SILF).

SILF is the vehicle NEMESIS proposes for the development of the future Changemakers of Europe who will be able to put their knowledge and skills into practice in order to work together towards solving critical problems that our societies are facing. NEMESIS steps in to provide a working definition of Social Innovation Education (hereafter SIE) that highlights what we think, as a team, is essential for the creation of better and fairer future societies. Within this context, we define SIE as:

‘a collaborative and collective learning process for the empowerment and socio-political activation of students to drive social change no matter what their professional pathways. SIE builds learners’ competences to identify opportunities for social value creation, to form collaborations and build social relationships, and take innovative action for a more democratic and sustainable society’.

These three elements, namely, the ability to identify social value opportunities, to form collaborations and relationships, and to take innovative action for the benefit of society, shape the tree trunk of NEMESIS SILF with its three interconnected tree branches that grow stems of skills and leaves of competences, vital for pushing social change forward, transforming lives and activating people for societal betterment. We also highlight the importance of specific values that should underpin all competences since values are essential for shaping a social innovation culture. Simply put, it is not enough to encourage the formation of the high-powered 21st century citizen who has powerful innovative and creative skills, but this future citizen needs to have a responsible and ethical compass if he or she is to wield this power in favor of the common good.

As such, the competences and values we envision in NEMESIS include self-efficacy and social communication skills but also temper them with empathy and the embracing of diversity and democratic decision-making. Our model promotes problem-solving skills and resource mobilization abilities, but also pairs them with reflective learning and social resilience. In its ethical core, NEMESIS aims to encourage the development of collective capacities for taking innovative actions inspired by key values, such as equality, respect, generosity, trust and altruism. When such results become evident through our collective efforts in the NEMESIS project, we will know that our tree is blooming and is about to bear fruits. Youth activism goes beyond charitable and voluntary work for the community, it aims at influencing policy and institutional practices for the promotion of social justice.

We should clarify that the NEMESIS SILF does not aim to provide a fixed and closed learning framework with definitive and prescribed answers or solutions. It aims to include its participants in its creation and development and to provide a flexible set of suggestions that can be taken on by educators, students and community members and adjusted to their local reality and context-specific needs. As Inamorato dos Santos and his colleagues put it (2016: 24), ‘the answers come from the insights generated by the process of interacting with the framework’. The initial NEMESIS SILF constitutes the first step towards the development of the ultimate NEMESIS SILF which will be tested and validated through real-life pilot implementations in primary and secondary schools around Europe during the project’s duration. The results of these pilots will be used to update the NEMESIS framework whereby all respective outcomes will be reformulated according to the directions and insights offered by the participants. In this way, the participating students, teachers, parents, and community members are active components of the design of the NEMESIS SILF.

And how do we do that? The NEMESIS model is activated through Co-creation Labs (hereafter CCLs), open learning environments where different stakeholders such as teachers, students, parents, social innovation practitioners, or any other interested member of the local community, collaborate towards a common goal: to co-create new knowledge, achieve a clear understanding of social innovation and develop relevant competences by participating in the design and development of social innovation projects. Through its CCLs, our NEMESIS project redefines existing hierarchical relations between teachers and students, the old and the young, parent and child, professional and amateur, and empowers young learners to become equal co-creators of the social innovation educational process. The resulting projects can be socially magical and politically enchanting.

Bringing it home: Tapping into Youth Activism literature

“Social Innovation Education is a collaborative and collective learning process for the empowerment and socio/political activation of students to drive social change […]. It builds their competences to identify opportunities for social value creation, to form collaborations and build social relationships and take innovative action for a more democratic and sustainable society”.

This is NEMESIS working definition of Social Innovation Education. You may have noticed it swims against the tide of prevalent market-led views where Social Innovation tends to be equated with or assimilated by (Social) Entrepreneurship. So, no, Social Innovation does not start in a garage nor is about entrepreneurial individuals delivering technological solutions for complex social problems.  

In stark contrast with Entrepreneurship Education, literature on social innovation in education is scarce so where should we be looking at?  Luckily, an entire stream of literature connecting civic/youth activism, participation and engagement in educational contexts was out there waiting for us.  

NEMESIS has tapped into an important body of research exploring young people’s involvement in attempts to achieve change within their communities (whether local, national or global) (Davies et al, 2014) and some of the questions they pose have informed the development of NEMESIS learning framework.

The projects co-created by teachers, students, social innovation practitioners and families in NEMESIS piloting schools encapsulate the key qualities of learning environments in Youth Activism (Kirshner, 2007).  Collective problem solving, meaningful youth-adult interactions, exploration of alternative frames of civic identity and bridges to academic and civic institutions are all present to a certain extent in each of these experiences.  

Does Social Innovation de-activate or displace Social Activism? There’s certainly a risk if action is decoupled from its critical and transformative potential.  Kahne & Westheimer (1996) make a clear distinction between “community service programs where youth clean parks, tutor children, and serve food to the homeless and youth activist groups where youth seek to influence public policy and change institutional practices, often with a social justice focus”.  By combining action and activism, NEMESIS seeks to provide opportunities for young people to participate in creating a better version of democracy.

 

Further reading

Davies, I., Evans, M., & Peterson, A. (2014). Civic activism, engagement and education: issues and trends. Journal of Social Science Education.

Kahne, J. & Westheimer, J.(1996) In the service of what? The politics of service learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(9), 593-599

Kirshner, B. (2007). Introduction: Youth activism as a context for learning and development.

American Behavioral Scientist, 51(3), 367–379.

 


 Do you want to learn about other schools projects in NEMESIS? Click here.

Are you a school willing to learn more about NEMESIS or thinking about joining the project? Feel free to surf the web and drop us a line (hello@nemesis-edu.eu) or fill our contact form.

Are you a social innovator who – as those mentioned here- would like to collaborate with the schools in your area? Click here for more info on how to become a mentor.

 

 

What is social innovation education and why should I care?

It’s five o’clock, and Óscar – student from year 3- has their hands covered in dust. He’s kneeling in a sunny corner of the playground together with her mother, Itziar, who is rolling up her sleeves before pouring soil into some recycled tyres; soil brought by Luis, father of a year 2 student.

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Introducing NEMESIS schools

In every journey there is a a group of brave pioneers whose implication and commitment are essential to succeed. Those are our schools. We are already looking for more schools to be involved, so keep an eye on this – we will be updating!

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Meet our Social Innovation Practitioners

In NEMESIS we are trying a social innovation education model for and with schools to empower the changemakers of tomorrow. For that to work, the combination of teacher and social innovators expertise is essential. In three years, we aim to develop a European social innovator community and engage around 200 SIPs (‘social innovation practitioners’, our code for social entrepreneurs). For starters, we are already working closely with four of them.

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NEMESIS partners meet in Seville

What is social innovation? Is it about finding imaginative solutions for social problems? About subverting power relations? About bringing systemic change? Is it the same that social entrepreneurship?  Trying to define social innovation was one of the challenges NEMESIS partners faced at our second project meeting, held in Seville.

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3, 2, 1… NEMESIS!

Fürth, Germany. October 10th 2017. Around twenty people from fourteen organizations across Europe meet for the first time. Some have known each other for years. For others, this is their first encounter. But we are all here for the same reason: to build a bridge between education and social innovation. Welcome to NEMESIS kick-off meeting!

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