Value-based learning in mobility projects

In this episode, we are reflecting on value-based learning in mobility projects, following the publication of the new T-kit.

Snezana: One of my favorite sentences in the T-kit, and I think it runs several, several times through it basically
says that value-based education is not neutral and neither is youth work and neither is learning mobility.

So it's time that we actually accept that, uh, uh, time.

To stop pretending that, you know, there is neutrality there, that we need to be very careful.

Yes, we do need to be very careful, but we need to acknowledge that there are values, there will be clashes of values.

Of course.


And that's also one of the richness that comes from the learning mobility, but that the youth work
has a strong pedagogical and there we say political role as well, and that we need to embrace it.

Marietta: Hello everyone and welcome to the UNDER 30 podcast series of the EU Council of Europe Youth Partnership.

Today we are going to talk about one of our training kits, which is about value based learning in mobility projects.

This T-kit has been written by and for facilitators of learning to help
start their thinking process about an important but also complex topic.

It aims to promote value-based education in general to explain it, and with
practical examples related to specific values, show how it can be used.

It is framed within the current policy framework of the Council of
Europe and the European Union, including their youth mobility program.

Today we have with us, uh, two guests.

One of them is Snezana, a trainer, facilitator, youth worker, who was the editor of this T-kit, and also
Romina, who works at the SALTO European Solidarity Corps Resource Center, who also worked on this T-kit.

Welcome, could you please introduce yourself?

Snezana: Thank you.

so I guess I start, So my name is Snezana and as you said very well, Marietta, I'm a
trainer, facilitator, or generally consultant, and I write and I enjoy writing as well.

So I was a part of the editorial team behind the T-kit.

And in general value-based education is something that I'm very passionate about.

So hopefully that's seen on the pages of the T-kit.

But hopefully I will also manage to transmit it today in our talk.

Romina: So I'm Romina.

I currently work at SALTO European Solidarity Corps, which is based in Vienna
and which is a resource center that is proudly a part of the SALTO network.

Before going to SALTO, working for SALTO I was one of the users of T-kits.

And when I knew that I will have the position in SALTO, it was also one of my dream to have a T-kit that is
dedicated to values because I'm so honored that I work on the program that has a value in the middle of the name.

So it was such a great chance to work with the youth partnership to develop concrete tools on how to approach
for me solidarity in learning mobility, because that's my area of interest, solidarity, and volunteering.

So yeah, that's a bit of about myself.

Thanks a lot.

Dariusz: Okay.

I think we can maybe start discussing the T-kit.

It's good to, Romina, that you said that you're one of the users of the previous T-kits and this one probably as
well, I am also one of the users and probably many people who are listening to this podcast are also the users.

Maybe some of them are not, the T-kits, the series basically of manuals that is
published by, EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership on very different topics.

And they're all available on the website.

Everybody can download them and use them freely.

You can also get a book if you are lucky like me, because I have
the value-based learning and mobility projects T-kit in front of me.

So it was really interesting to see what this T-kit is about because we are talking about values all the time when
it comes to youth work, when it comes to training, when it comes to human rights education, there's always a lot.

And it seems also sometimes very problematic area as well when you talk about it
with the participants during training activities or any other youth activities.

What I found really interesting here in this T-kit is the thought provokers, so very different questions
that you ask to yourself first because they come from you and also to the readers that are actually talking
about things that we think about sometimes, and especially in the international context, but not only
that are very much based on conflict of values, for example, what we do in this situation, and so on.

So it's very interesting to see how you deal with it in the T-kit, but maybe you can talk about it a little bit later.

So maybe let's start with a very simple, but at the same time, difficult question.

You talk about value-based learning in mobility projects.

So maybe let's start with this value-based learning in youth work, learning mobility.

What do we mean by value-based learning in mobility projects?

Because there's a lot of things in the title already.

Snezana: All right.

But maybe I start by saying that I'm also one of the users of the T-kit.


So I think that needs to be made very clear and I think they're absolutely fantastic.

Hopefully this one is as well.

It's very difficult to judge being one of the authors, but I
think it's nice that it actually complements all the others.

So for whomever will be listening to us, in this episode, should know that there
are a lot of references to other T-kits, and there is the whole world that expand.

So once you dive into the world of T-kits, you never leave.

Okay, This is me trying to avoid, to answer your question Darek about what is value-based learning and mobility
projects, which clearly was one of the biggest challenges that we had to face when having our first prep meeting,
if you remember Romina in Budapest and trying to really say, okay, what is the foundation of our approach?

And basically what we said is that learning, we approached learning from the, of one of the angles that you
approach learning, from the perspective of the competence, which has knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviours.

But we said, well, there are also values.

And values are basically the ones that are informing all the others to a certain extent.

Attitudes, for example, to a really large extent.

Because the way that we attitude that we have and the way that we behave, depends on which is the
value in our core that came from the family, from our religion, maybe from our context and so on.

And that if we talk about learning, especially in international
context, where we place also learning mobility, we cannot ignore values.

So, value-based learning approach says we need to work with the values.

We need to understand that they're the basis, they're the basis of learning, the basis of identity of each of
the people, and the value-based approach basically addresses those values, encourages learners to reflect on
them, to become more aware, maybe to challenge them, to challenge each other through the values, et cetera.

Yeah, of course the answer is much longer and that's why the T-kit has 200 plus pages.

But this is maybe in short, and to say about the second part, as you say that the title is very long.

Learning mobility there comes in very strongly as well, because it's such a fruitful soil for any
kind of discussion and learning around values to happen, because this is where many young people
for the first time ever find out what are their values yet because they never questioned them.

They grow up, they live and they think that this is the right way to do things.

And then you meet someone else and suddenly maybe there are questions that you have never been faced with.


So that's why the learning mobility come there as well.

And finally, just to say that when we say learning mobility, we think about also Romina was
saying about EU programs or learning mobility programs, which come with certain values.

And someone actually asked me yesterday, while people could say that you're
brainwashing people through this T-kit because it's about the value-based.

And I said, partly they will probably be right, because there are certain values that we promote.

But promotion is different than brainwashing of course, and we'll talk about it later on and so on.

But the T-kit is based a very concrete values that are in the base.

Romina: If I can, just add here, from my perspective, a big work in understanding
what means value-based learning mobility the Commission already did that.

In a way that, you know, maybe very well, before Solidarity Corps program,
there was another program which was called European Voluntary Service.

And from our perspective, the big change that happened from EVS to the current Solidarity Corps, it's
exactly this, from a learning, from a mobility program that address competences and developing those skills.

of course it was included, as Snezana said, attitudes and knowledge.

We have Solidarity Corps now, which as I mentioned in the beginning, has the value in the middle of it.

So that means that automatically also the Commission wants to push for promoting value-based learning.

Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds.

That's why we also wanted to have this T-kit because we want to translate the understanding of solidarity.

What means solidarity in a learning program, in a learning mobility and this is why we also
put our resources in this T-kit to make it as concrete as possible for our audience, which
are mainly learners and facilitators of learning that are working in Solidarity Corps.

Of course, that I have this limitation of the Solidarity Corps because that's my area, but solidarity, it's
not only about Solidarity Corps, and it's not only about solidarity in the T-kit, but this is one answer for me.

What means value-based learning means learning process that address values.

Snezana: And if I can add something else to complement the Solidarity Corps, when we were digging
to understand the value-based approach, we were actually looking around a lot what is already there.

So, for example, human rights based approach is one of the key, processes that we had there in connection to solidarity
and also wider where the work also of the Council of Europe and the youth sector in particular came in very handy.


So there were all these kind of processes that already exist that we just try to put under one
umbrella and say, it exists, let's name it and let's work with it, yeah, as much as we can.

Dariusz: Very good.

I'm very happy that we have this T-kit because as I said, we talk a lot about it and
sometimes it's good to have a kind of framework, and also a reflection basically on, on what
we actually mean when we talk about values in any youth work context or learning context.

I think the next question should be about why, because we know what, and thank you Ramina, that you
actually brought the issue of European Solidarity Corps and also linking it to previous European,
programs, and stating that, yeah, the value is in the middle is the core of the European Solidarity Corps.

So why is it so important, to approach learning mobility, youth work from the value-based perspective?

Romina: Because it's the time for it.

We had years when we focused on competencies, when we also, where I think
youth work answered to the gap that exists also regarding labor market.

I'm not saying that we did only that, but it was, yeah, for the ones that you are
active a long time in the field, we had this, we were a bit pushed that, we need
to develop the competencies of young people, the skills, right, to fill the gap.

And now it's time to, to see exactly, to go to the next level.

and to look at the young person and the volunteer in a more holistic way because it's not enough to develop
skills, we need to look at the values as Snezana said, the values are in fact the foundation of our behavior.

If we want to build skills, we need to look also how the foundation looks
like on which pillars are we building up skills, attitudes, and knowledge.

And it's time to contribute also at the pillar because if not, if we don't do it, others do.

I think that the volunteers and the young people have their values through
their families, through their social media, through the other channels.

And I think we already did that.

I mean, it's not the first time when the values are connected with youth work, but when
we put it in the frame and when we have also a T-kit about it, it becomes concrete.

It becomes a reference point on what is values, how to deal with values, and we create space to discuss about values.

And this is I think it's a very, it's a, an added value to the field and to our work.

Snezana: And, to say that one of the, my favorite sentences in the T-kit, and I
think it runs several, several times through it basically says that value-based
education is not neutral and neither is youth work and neither is learning mobility.

So it's time that we actually accept that, uh, uh, time.

To stop pretending that, you know, there is neutrality there, that we need to be very careful.

Yes, we do need to be very careful, but we need to acknowledge that there are values, there will be clashes of values.

Of course.


And that's also one of the richness that comes from the learning mobility, but that the youth work
has a strong pedagogical and there we say political role as well, and that we need to embrace it.


And with that come the values as well.

But as you were saying at some point, Darek, it is tricky, and it
is a subject that is not maybe as straightforward and some others.

And there was the calling for the T-kit as well.

We don't pretend that the T-kit will resolve everything and people will read it and say, Waha.


Now I know, everything there is to know about facilitating value-based learning, but we hope it is
a start, yeah, and if someone is thinking it's delicate and it's kind of trying to make the first
step, we hope this will help and say, Yes, it is delicate, but we can help, to a certain extent.

Dariusz: I would say that it's a little bit more than the start because you kind
of go very deep in a lot of elements when it comes to value-based learning.

So for me, it's a little bit more, than the start.

Maybe it's a starting point for people to reflect, Yes, this would be the point.

But you're also very honest in the introduction to the T-kit that the values that you put there, this is
not the closed list, this is the values that you promote because of the policy framework of the European
institutions, and also from what we do in European youth work and European learning mobility projects.

But this list is not closed.

It's good that people are also bringing other values, Yeah, and for me, this T-kit is giving a kind framework,
but also a springboard to be able to actually negotiate these values, to discuss, to get deeper into it.

so let's go into these values a little bit.

So you decided that you put several values in this T-kit.

You are very clear as well into introduction that, you also brought, besides your
competencies and skills, but you also brought your own values into writing this manual.

So if you can talk a little bit about these values, why these values?

How did you negotiate them, did you or were they imposed on you?

Well let's go into that a little bit.

Snezana: Again, I need to go back visually to the first meeting which happened actually
in the European Youth Center in Budapest, which I think is also not a neutral space.

I think it also carries a lot of values, for me at least, and in general.

And then it's there where we had actually a meeting of the four of us in presence and
two people joined us online with different also perspective, experiences and so on.

And it was a discussion I have to say.

So it wasn't that we said, oh, that's very clear.

We take, let's say the intro to Erasmus Plus and Solidarity Corps, that
also states the values we take Council of Europe and the program and so on.

And voila, there it is.

Yeah, that was a starting point.

And then also the six of us with very different experiences and very different perspectives said, but
also what do we feel from our experience is coming strongly as something that needs to be considered.

So then we basically talked and then we had flip charts and we had lists, and then we were narrowing them down.

And then you would also see that some values are also several of them in one sentence
or in one phrase because we just wanted to put as many under there as we could.

And we are also aware that not all of them are on the same level, let's say, and
I don't mean level of importance, but some of them are actually cluster of values.

So for example, solidarity, we see as something that can be umbrella.

Human rights, for example, you can say that human rights is actually packed with all the other values.


But somehow we had to make a cut, and this is why in the introduction
we are being very honest because we didn't see any other way.

If we are not honest, then it seems like, well this is the ultimate truth and is not.

It is based on the thorough research.

But it's also something where we at some point said, Well, this is it.

This is the list that we proposed.

Romina: For me, it was a bit easier, because of where I work, meaning that I, if I work in the
Solidarity Corps, for me exactly, the solidarity was clearly a value that we need to address.

And I'm lucky that it's also personal value.

So for me , in that regard this one value, I knew for sure that this needs to be there and I'm very happy
that also based on our research done previously before the, or during the T-kit as Snezana said, for us,
solidarity include other like, active citizenship, human rights, as you mentioned, inclusion and empathy.

And we decided, but still we decided to have it as a value separately together with the others.

It was not easy, I remember it hurt . It was really a painful process, physically even, when we had to cut down because
imagine, we also started, both from policy level and as Snezana said personal level, what we consider important.

And then we were six and then we had to have only a limited number at the end.

And I don't know if people who are listening and they are thinking of their values, I
know how it is when you say it's important for me, but I need to leave it a bit behind.

It's not relevant for this discussion.

It's not relevant for this process.

So I know that even maybe when you're using the T-kit, you have this instinct that,
but I want to discuss also about that, or for example, why this value is not there.

It's not that it's not important, but it's also because sometimes we have to make a choice . And in that
particular time, we took the responsibility of the choice that we had to have only these values there.

Not easy.

And as we said, we had to say that it's not a finished list.

It's list under construction, I would say.

And still, we need to put it in the context.

And this was in 2019 when we had these discussions.

I'm sure that due to the current situations in 2020, 2021, 2022, what happened around us.

I'm sure that the values, maybe now are switched or even differently.

So, it's important to know when this happened

Snezana: Just, I actually had two more thoughts.

One is, for example, looking at the list, we had sustainability included
back then, which was not in the list of back then, or at least so explicitly.

Definitely it was not called sustainability in the major policy documents, but for example, we said, this is coming.

In fact, it's already been with us for a long time, but maybe not verbalized.

We need to have it there.


So this was one of the examples where we said, Okay, this must be pushed forward.

But in fact, as Romina said, if you were writing it in 2022, surely we would've more material to write on.

And secondly, I think, being a slightly biased list and a non finish list is exactly suiting for many things that
are happening in the T-kit, which is the invitation to reflect, to criticize, to challenge, to reject, to accept.

So it's really a starting point.

So in fact, we we didn't need to have a finish list and we didn't have to kind of propose certain things,
but hopefully people will take it as a starting point to express their opinions about it, at least.

Dariusz: Yes.

Maybe I just tell to all the people who are listening that the final list of values included
in the T-kit includes values such as active citizenship, democracy and pluralism, empathy
and generosity, human rights, inclusion and diversity, solidarity and sustainability.

With also attention to quality and community impact.

So these are the things that were put.

Maybe now we would put peace in there.

I don't know.

It's just the thought.

It's a good reflection and thank you for this, Romina, yeah, the framework of values, of the values that are

maybe more relevant for, let's say, society or at the bigger level, but also individual level.

Because you talk about those different levels also in the T-kit, they change over time.

They change with the political context.

They change with the what's happening in the society.

It changes with your life situation where you are in now and what's your, what's what situation you are in.

So that's how it works.

But I think it's still very big things.

It's still very big values.

And as you said, Snezana some of the values are really overarching.

They are really big ones, and they're very much linked to the
others, which is also good because you are not separating them.

You are having a wider context to actually talk about it and reflect or negotiate.

I would like to maybe think a little bit how we can actually
integrate these values tn the learning mobility, youth work.

Also, maybe we connect it to it how people can use this T-kit.

Because I think that goes hand in hand.

So when it comes to youth workers, when it comes to facilitators of learning, trainers and so on, how useful it can be.

I mean, I see that there are two big parts of the manual.

One is more kind of theoretical one with explanation of the values,
what's meant there, and also explanation of learning mobility.

And then there are 30 practical activities that can be done in learning mobility projects.

So I would say it kind of says per se, how we can use it.

I mean, we have the activities.


It's good to have the activities, but these are tricky activities.

These are not easy activities.

I just pick the first one that comes to my mind.

I read all of them, but one that, that I don't remember the title,
where actually you ask people what kind of values they don't like.

and there are very strong things coming there in this activity, and I always think about it when we talk as
youth workers or trainers, how we actually make sure that people who have very different opinions, who have very
different behaviors, which are based on certain values, how we integrate them in any learning mobility projects,
not always the same people, not always the people who are convinced, who know what are these European values.

So how we can integrate these values.

I'm coming back to the question, so how we can use this T-kit?

Romina: The.

I take over this.

This question it's an invitation for me also, to go back a bit in my past,
when I started to work as a trainer, I was so scared to work on values.

I mean, I could do team building activities, I could do, you know, delivering content.

But when was about discussing about values, it was a fear of me to conduct these kind of sessions.

So very concretely, I think this T-kit is, is a real help for those like
me who are afraid to have these discussions in open in a learning space.

Because this T-kit offers, it guides you step by step.

And it's a tool that you can use and you can have next to you all the time.

And when you feel that it's overwhelming, you just have a look at the text.

And you realize, Oh, I can do this and that.

It's a very gentle, I would say, support in what you do.

And more concretely,

for example, in Solidarity Corps, for the ones that are very active in the program, they know very
well that the volunteers, for example, they are invited, and they should take part in on arrival
training courses and in midterm evaluation So I think especially in this kind of trainings, it's
important for trainers to address values when volunteers are entering in a stage in the host country.

And this T-kit it's a great help to look at them, to look at the values, to have sessions that are
courageous, and that can really influence the stage of the volunteers because I think if you address from the
beginning, the sensitive issues, you have a bigger chance to have a more meaningful experience afterwards.

So from the program perspective, from my point of view, the on arrival
and mid-terms are the spaces where this T-kit can be very much used.

And of course it can be also used by volunteers in their activities with their target group
because a lot of Solidarity Corps volunteers are doing learning activities, in their stage, and
it's a T-kit that also can help the trainers and the facilitators that are at the beginning.

And which are also building their competencies of being a trainer.

Snezana: I think yes, it's great to have activities, and it's a lot of fun and it was a lot of fun creating them.

I personally, and I think I can say it as the editor, I prefer the first part of the
T-kit in terms of, related to your question that Okay, so like how do we integrate it?

I think we, I know it's an extensive read, but I think it helps to understand
where are they actually, it helps to understand that they're always there.


So when you say how do we integrate values?

There are there, it's just as Romina was saying, do we run away from them, you
know, or swipe them under the carpet and then talk about things that we know.

We've all been there.

I'm sure, or it's that, you know, you read through it, you understand how they are formed, you understand
how the clashes happen, and then you say, okay, as a facilitator, and that's also the big part of the T-kit
itself, which tells you if you're a facilitator, this is what you can expect and this is how you can address it.

Again, it's not a final list, it's just something to consider.


And I think when you have this understanding, then the activities are also easier.


But you said something else Darek, I know you didn't ask that, but I would like to relate
to it to say how do we really reach out to young people that we don't usually reach out to?

And I think that's a million dollar question.

I'm sure one of the thought provokers, but I think it's one of the ones that is very
crucial for this T-kit and for value-based education because if we continue speaking to
the converted, we will not actually really implement the genuine value-based approach.


Because it means that we keep, uh, kind of running around in circles of people
with similar values and then the real conversations and reflection cannot happen.


And then once again, in terms of integrations, values are there when people,
especially if they're younger, they come to a youth exchange to give another example.

Conversation starts about queuing for lunch, or something else.

If as a facilitator you are sensitive enough, there is your
beginning of the conversation about values and where they come from.

I think.

Marietta: So maybe just as a closing question, following up on this T-kit, what you wish to see, as
a development in policy on a European level, or what would be great to, to move over because now
this this T-kit, as we said, it's for practitioners and also maybe young people who are curious.

But you seem very enthusiastic about the topics.

I'm pretty sure you have already ideas how this topic would be moved further and to the European police level.

Romina: I can, I can jump on that easily.

So on the policy level, I would like to see more than the program that address value.

Now we have a program which is great, European Solidarity Corps, but I think that
the value-based learning can be also integrated in school and in the formal education.

For example, there is a great example of the concept of service learning.

It's the learning combined with the service that you do in the community.

It's not really value-based, but it's, it's more and more addressing the, or
making the connection between learning and doing something in the community.

I know that there are initiatives in this regards.

I know about the competence for democratic culture,

the model for the competences for democratic culture, which will, I think
it's in the process of being more and more integrated in the formal curricula.

Nevertheless, I think we need to expand that, not only in education.

If I could go a bit crazy, why not have a value-based approach also in business and in economics?

I think it's a great start that we have this T-kit.

And together with other initiatives, we can change a bit the discourse, and the paradigm that we
are shaping, starting from, yeah, having more European policies that address values very clearly.

Because there are policies that address value, but we need to make
it more clearly that we are speaking about this particular value.

Snezana: And maybe add to this light question for the end, Marietta, I think, what it would be great, is that
we were, we will somehow assertively say from the policy level all the way down because it's not just the
policy, it's also fellow youth workers, fellow trainers and so on, that we are doing value-based education.

I think this is what I would love to hear and love to see.

So we acknowledge it to ourselves, again, from the policy to grassroots and
back, and also acknowledge maybe the challenges that come with this statement?


Because it's not possible in every context, actually, to practice what we are preaching here, I would say.


But if we would kind of have a big majority of voices saying that hopefully we'll
also be able to protect the colleagues who maybe cannot do this, where they are now.


So this is what I would like to see a really, a policy, and practice and research
commitment that the international youth work or European youth work is value-based.

That it is political, what it needs to be and that we need to treat it as such.

Dariusz: Thank you.


It's not new actually, but the T-kit is new.

We have been doing, youth work that has always been basically value-based, human rights
education that's very much value-based, very much linked with, let's say, in the kind of,
older way of kind of naming it, moral education, which you also talk about in the T-kit.

So it's there, but it's a little bit hidden, like you say, also in the T-kit, like a hidden gem, you know.

And now it's time to be more explicit to, to say it straightforward and to be loud about it.

There is, I would say a lot of initiatives as well on the EU, for example, a level with a new

Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values program, where the values are also in there.

So, that's a good sign.

Thank you, Snezana and Romina for your contribution and for being with us today.

Thank you.

the T-kit is there on the EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership website.

It can be downloaded and hopefully used, and we encourage everybody to use
it not only in mobility projects, but also for your own personal reflection.

Thank you.

© 2020 EU-CoE youth partnership