Our mission is to build a ‘networked improvement community’ to empower non-formal educators of displaced learners help their students address the short-term and long-term needs of their personal learning journeys. We started our own learning journey 18 months ago in Sofia, Bulgaria, traveling across the region to speak to teachers about their practice. We hosted 8 co-creation sessions in Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, engaging over 120 teachers to layout the realities in the field and the role of non-formal education in this context. We conducted over 60 interviews with teachers, students, program directors, academics, trainers and experts in the field. We visited over 40 classrooms in urban centers and camp settings. From this field research, we know:
We believe that in non-formal and informal educational settings, sharing experiences with peers, can save teachers time and energy on planning lessons and designing high quality learning experiences. This can build a more collaborative community, reduce work stress, increase confidence for inexperienced teachers, and allow for more student-centered learning. However, the reality is that teachers who are already overworked and thinly stretched are spending valuable time and energy sifting through countless resources designed for formal educators and adapting them to meet their students’ needs. Since this is often done in silos where it is not captured, recorded or shared, it is difficult to build on the collective knowledge of one’s peer group. All the hard and creative work done in this context is being lost. Team Up 2 Teach is trying to shift this reality into one that creates value.
Our aim is to raise the quality of non-formal education offered to refugees in the Balkans and Greece, by assisting teachers in the process of developing “ground up” collaboration, collection, and curation of teaching resources: lesson plans, activities, and project ideas that have been generated in the field.
We are currently in the first stage of piloting the collection of, and collaboration on, content (lessons/activities/project plans) with NGOs across the region. We have created a prototype (beta) platform that will serve as a temporary hosting site of the content- for display, testing, and feedback of all lessons as they are collected, curated, edited, and posted. Small lesson observing/testing circles will be set up in the field with partnering organizations and their teachers. We will leverage the networking, outreach and communication campaign to engage more organizations and teachers to contribute and add to the body of valuable collective knowledge.