The impact of this research has been extensive and we are continuing to document this impact from a variety of different sources.
In July 2019 an independent evaluation of the DARE project was carried out by Dr Ritesh Shah, University of Aukland, New Zealand. Dr Shah used the Most Significant Change approach and collected 77 impact stories from children, teachers and parents. The impact stories relating to SOLE can be found by following the links in the left-hand column and they provide a unique insight into the nature of this impact on both children and teachers. The stories told by parents are also very powerful and they help to reinforce the extent of the change which they can see in their children.
A separate link to 'National Accreditation in Ukraine' has also been provided as this gives details of how the government of Ukraine became the first national government to recognise and promote SOLE as an innovative pedagogy.
For details of impact to date please refer to the following two reports:
For the three countries the main positive results for the teachers, social workers and students involved in SOLE are:
- Positive group dynamics between children
- Improved use of the internet as a research tool
- Improved critical thinking
- Engagement and enthusiasm from students
- Self-presentation skills have improved
- Children spontaneously initiate the search for new information and generate new ideas.
In day-care centres where staff interact with particularly vulnerable children (e.g. Fond Aspern in Kyiv, Caritas Alba Iulia in Ojdula, Diaconia in Edinet), pedagogues worked in a special format with the most vulnerable children. Before SOLE sessions, the staff held mini exercises to improve communication and interaction between children. In Ojdula, given the fact that children are from Roma communities and have difficulty in basic literacy skills, the sessions have been adapted to the children’s pace and ability to learn and absorb concepts.
Feedback from teachers and social workers:
"My activity as a teacher is directed at every child’s soul and helps me to establish intrapersonal/interpersonal relations in the social and emotional contexts. At the SOLE sessions, I learn many new things together with the children. My success lies in the fact that I’ve mastered time management. We have established friendship and trust relationships with more difficult and marginalized children. During the sessions, I have enough time to observe how children get involved in activities and decide how their work can be further improved at other sessions". Teacher, 57 years old, Floresti, Moldova.
"Due to my participation in the DARE program, the term “teacher” has another sense for me now. A Teacher is not a person who is teaching, but a person with whom children can learn by themselves, and who is a facilitator. I realized that the world is changing, and the education system should change as well. I expanded my views about the reasons of independent learning, why children should own their learning experience, and I understood how it should be implemented". Social worker, Kyiv, Daycare centre, Ukraine.
"At the beginning of the DARE program, the children could not fully understand the reason and objectives of SOLE sessions. However, with every next SOLE session, their interest has grown. Splitting into groups, choosing a leader, working at computers, searching for information – these are things which engage children a lot. The children and I were very surprised to see a new leader in our class. It is a girl who revealed great leadership and organizational skills at the sessions. Everyone wants to be in her team because her team always prepares good presentations and finds great things in all “Big” questions". School teacher, 43 years old, Medenychi School, Ukraine.
"It has been 5 months since I have started to work in the DARE program as a social worker and SOLE teacher. I came to Caritas without self-confidence and with fear that I won’t manage to do the job properly. But after participation in training for the staff and parents of the DARE program and after holding several SOLE sessions I saw that everything is not as dramatic as I thought. This job helped me to gain self-confidence, to get new knowledge and new methods of work with children. I feel that I am growing as a specialist. I am developing my communicative skills, skills to work with children and with people in general. The new learning methodology SOLE appeared to be very interesting not only for children but, first of all, for me. I am convinced that this methodology must be applied in schools. It brings me great pleasure to watch children who are looking for information, working in different teams, making creative decisions in presentations and developing themselves as good learners. I am really happy that I got a chance to work in DARE program because here I can grow professionally and as a personality". Social pedagogue, 22 years old, Drohobych, Daycare centre, Ukraine.
"I have noticed a change that I enjoy very much. I have become more open, I express my opinion more freely, without the fear of being analysed and roughly evaluated by the people I interact with. I was educated in the frame of the proverb, "You have two ears and one mouth, use them as much as you can." When I encourage children to speak without inhibition that also reflects on me. I have noticed that even when I speak in public I feel more at ease, and it is a new experience for me so far. This helps me in my professional activity, especially when I have meetings with parents". Social Worker, Balti School, Moldova.
Feedback from students:
"I like the topics which we explore during SOLE sessions. I get to know answers to the questions which I never thought about. I retain new information from SOLE sessions much easier. I started to study better in school. I like to do some interesting and useful things. It’s very funny at the sessions". Girl, Kyiv, 7 years old, Ukraine.
"My mother became more curious about my school life, she wants to know the questions that were discussed at SOLE sessions and she listens carefully to me when I give her the answers. Before, she just asked me what marks I received; now I discuss about my marks and a lot about what I learned at SOLE sessions. My mother studied at school history, mathematics, nature etc, but when she was my age there were no SOLE sessions in school, that’s why she is so curious". Girl, 10 years old, School Balti, Moldova
Feedback from parents:
"SOLE is really new for me, but it’s important to break stereotypes of formal education. It’s great when children can educate in this way, not in a conservative way. At SOLE sessions children learn how to communicate and interact with each other". Parent, Drohobych, UA
"It is amazing how my kids start to look around and get interested in everything there is". Parent, Kharkiv UA
“Children communicate with each other, those who do not have a computer at home here can develop computer skills.”Marina, 31 years, Fetesti, Edinet (mother)
“It is a good project; it is welcome in our community. The children in the village gather at the day centre, they have funny activities, they sit at the computer, and they draw. My nephew says it's interesting, he likes it and he attends the Centre very often.” Minodora, 58 years, Fetesti, Edinet (grandmother)
“My son is now more responsible, more friendly and kind. The SOLE sessions are very beneficial". Mother, Petropavlovka Day Care Center, Caritas Moldova
"My children are very happy when they have SOLE. The day when they have SOLE sessions they come home and speak over and over about their new findings or the experience. Children have the possibility to work with computers and find information about various topics of interest". Parent, Iasi, RO