Piloting the NEMESIS Lessonseries

Piloting the NEMESIS Lessonseries

On a sunny Tuesday in October, we went to a high school in Alphen aan de Rijn, Netherlands. Today I was going to do my first pilot of the NEMESIS Lessonseries Co-Creation. I felt excited and a little nervous. What would they think? Will the students dig it?

What I had planned was two groups of 60 students each. Wow, 60 kids lined up to do the Co-Creation. The biggest group I ever taught. Getting them silent was quite of a challenge, but luckily I have a loud voice, so I managed. Then we started with the Co-Creation. After getting to know each other it was time to really start diving into the environment and find the social issues that were bothering them.

To summarise our first day: it was awesome to see so much motivation and drive. The students in the two groups were instantly motivated when they were able to take up the pen themselves and were allowed to bring in their own ideas. They ended up with projects in all sorts and sizes. Every time I witness a process like this I cannot help to feel inspired, motivated and creative as well.  

Two weeks later, we came back to see the end results of the chosen projects. We reserved a spot in the huge auditorium where the 60 kids and tables drowned! Haha! Next year we will come back and fill it up with 200 students… When the “market” started and the students started presenting their materials I barely had enough time to see everything they made. The results of the kids were mindblowing. A few went to the municipality and are currently in talks of making parts of the city greener. Action posters to make the streets cleaner were made. The director of the school got invited into a project to “make the school green again”. Vegans were interviewed, students started showering for a shorter period of time and loads more. 

All-in all the students ended up becoming more empathetic, more self-and-environment-aware, they worked on their team-cooperation skills and they started to take action to change the world for the better. Just to name a few of the many skills they developed… Funny how doing a lessonseries can turn out. Teaching in a small village somewhere in the Netherlands felt like it made no sense at first. But in the end it turned out to be the inspirational birth of the changemakers of tomorrow. 


Scaling up social innovation education in Europe

In collaboration with primary and secondary schools from Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Portugal, the NEMESIS framework and resources were developed and tested over 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 directly and to involve a further 5000 students and 2000 teachers indirectly.

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 they begin, 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 on 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 for social innovation education to become part of the school’s identity and for it to be supported by all school members. The commitment of the individuals involved is essential for the success of the implementation.

Two training sessions in which all schools come together will take place after the test is completed. 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 come to an end 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 explore 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.