[Translation French-English : EPALE France
Author : Nicolas Condom]
Dropping out of school is a relatively important phenomenon in Europe, at the heart of the priorities of the different countries and the European Union. Tell Your Story, a project developed between 1 September 2016 and 30 November 2018, was created to explore new tools for its prevention. If storytelling is actually used more and more in non-formal sessions, it is rarely combined, in this context, with new technologies, more particularly with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Accordingly, the consortium behind this project, coordinated by Pistes-Solidaires, and implemented in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Austria and Belgium, has sought to explore this new approach, thanks to the meeting of several academic, non-formal education and continuous training stakeholders. The idea was to involve young school dropouts in storytelling workshops by using digital mapping, so that they could share their stories to potential dropouts to make them think about the impact of such a decision on their lives. The final objective was therefore to increase their awareness of the risk of dropping out of school, through the media productions to which they were accustomed and which correspond to their codes, in a process of peer education.
The project was structured in seven stages. During the first, the consortium worked on an inventory of the use of storytelling in the fight against dropping out of school, and on the best way in which storytelling by digital mapping could be used. This production, which can be found here, established the basis for the next phase: this consisted of the creation of a curriculum made up of two parts, for school dropouts and potential dropouts. The first part was an introduction to storytelling, while the second aimed to enable young people to create their own personal narrative by digital mapping by acquiring new digital skills (using the ArcGIS platform). These tools were then tested in a European learning activity, in Palermo, before the establishment of workshops in each partner country with school dropouts. In France, Pistes-Solidaires worked with the Mission Locale in Pau. The young people meeting up were able to reflect for themselves on their journeys, and could create story maps aimed at potential dropouts, in a logic of peer education.
The resulting stories were then presented at an exhibition available online at the following address: http://mystory.dieberater.com/fr/accueil/.
This exhibition is at the heart of a module tested with young secondary school pupils, some of whom were potential dropouts: they were able to find the stories which had been posted and discuss them with the presenters, so as to consider the risks of dropping out. This last experience allowed us to show the potential of using this method: there was a genuine identification of college students with dropouts, since some of them were aware of the challenges described in the stories being told. The module can be seen here. The partners also presented their local workshops in a digital story map, presented on ArcGIS.
With more than 200 young people affected, the impact of the project, backed up by broadcast the events, is bound to continue: several organisations have already asked to be trained in the developed tools, including the Pau Institute of Social Work, which arranged a seminar on school drop-outs on 31 January 2019. A second training session was also held for educators in the Pau area on 1 February, while a further session for educators from a children's home (la Sauvegarde) was planned for 25 and 26 February 2019. In this context, the workshops are delivered directly to ten young people in one of their homes, in the presence of educators, psychologists, teachers and department heads who wish to be trained in this method. A publication, translated into the partners' languages, also allows for the better understanding of the project and its results. The storytelling by digital mapping is therefore a formidable tool that deserves to be promoted, and which could contribute to the prevention of dropping out of school.