The UN 2015 sustainable development (SD) agenda requires a united effort from all stakeholders should poverty be eradicated, our planet protected and prosperity for everyone ensured. Lifelong learning and education are key components to the fulfillment of this vision and is encapsulated in the fourth SDG. Specifically, SDG 4.7 aims to ensure that by 2030 all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote SD, including among others through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
PEERMENT is a three year Erasmus + project coordinated by the University of Malta through the Centre for Environmental Education and Research and was conceptualised through two main considerations:
1. On the one hand, teachers' training is one of the most relevant and efficient tool for school innovation and improvement. Mentoring and Peer Mentoring are among the most effective ways of staff training, largely present in the world of business and in the volunteering and civil society organizations, but paradoxically very little used in the European systems of Formal Education. Annually, many teachers leave courses enthusiastic to put into practice initiatives which encourage SD. However, upon return to the reality of the classrooms and communities, their passion may be challenged by inability to apply theory to practice or resource constraint. Avenues to rekindle their desire become crucial and research indicates continual engagement to be effective.
2. On the other hand, ESD is increasing its importance for the future of the new generations, who will face in the next decades dramatic and global challenges. Unfortunately, national policies don't currently foresee adequate "accompanying measures" at the level of teachers' training. The new importance of ESD requires new and unprecedented competences of teachers: they should be able to lead their pupils towards the values of peace, solidarity, democracy, and at the same time to allow them to understand complex phenomena using knowledge coming from a lot of different subjects. Currently, none of the existing national systems of teachers' training in the EU appear able to support teachers in this new and difficult challenge. In short, ESD is nowadays marching on the legs of a few willing teachers.
So, the purpose of this project is to lay - out, test, improve and disseminate a new model of Mentoring and Peer - Mentoring for ESD. This aim will be reached through a process of Action / Research that will directly involve about 20 Education Specialists as teachers' trainer and senior mentors and about 50 teachers as mentors through purposefully set up Local Testing Groups. Being an ERASMUS + project, PEERMENT will be producing various outputs: A study on good practices existing in the EU in the field of Mentoring and Peer-Mentoring; A system for recognizing and validating the new competence of "Mentor for ESD"; Guidelines for Education Specialists who want to work as "Mentors for ESD"; Guidelines for teachers who want to be involved in Mentoring and Peer-Mentoring systems; and a set of didactic materials on some relevant "Global Challenges", in form of "web - quests". All these outputs will be produced through a strong involvement of direct target-groups.
The first desired impact, in general terms, is to spread and improve both the use of Mentoring and Peer Mentoring approach and Education to Sustainable Development, in a combined and effective way. The second is a larger use of Mentoring and Peer- Mentoring in initial and in-service teachers' training, for any kind of disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary subject.
PEERMENT is convinced that Mentoring is one of the more effective methodologies for teacher in training, and Peer-Mentoring is a way to use all the potential existing inside the schools to guarantee the continuous professional improvement of the teaching staff. In other terms, Mentoring and Peer Mentoring are an excellent way to turn schools in "learning communities".