- Austria, Vienna
|Level of Schools|
|Type of Schools|
|Number of Schools involved|
|Number of Schoolheads involved|
|Number of Teachers involved|
|Number of Students involved|
|Number of Parents involved|
|Number of External Partners involved|
The project “UniClub” is bringing students from the teaching profession, but also committed individuals from other study fields together with young people with a history of flight or migration. Teacher training students participate in the learning clubs on a weekly basis, support the young people with their homework and learn together with them. Furthermore, they become “Study Buddies” and can work on specific topics / impart knowledge in individual one-to-one sessions with the young people. Furthermore, workshops and excursions to research institutions are organized periodically.
The aim of the project is to bring students (from the teaching profession, but also committed individuals from other study fields) together with young people (with a history of flight or migration), to enable intercultural pedagogical practical experience and sustainable social commitment and to create meeting places for potential students with active students. Teacher training students and young people learn from each other. The positive experience of this community of learning should be taken along by the students in their later work as teachers. In this way, a sustainable process can be initiated that goes beyond the activities of the UniClub and has a positive impact on society as a whole. Not only the current generation of young people will benefit, but also future teachers, their students and colleagues in schools. Through the cooperation with the Centre for Teacher Education, the findings from the project can be incorporated into research and teaching. Students and young people should be accompanied in their experience of voluntary work, so that positive experiences are created for both groups and the way for future involvement is shown. The focus is also on the young people themselves, who have important intercultural and language skills and often already show interest in social commitment.
LernClub: The LernClub offers young people a quiet learning environment where workstations, learning material, computers, internet and printers are available. Twice a week young people visit the open learning centre and are supported by students in learning and doing their homework.
StudyBuddies: As Buddies teachers (in training) of all subjects regularly offer the young people individual learning assistance.
Excursions and workshops: All interested young people are offered the opportunity to get to know the university, science and research. They learn about the professional fields of graduates of the University of Vienna, get a taste of the fields of study and experience research for themselves.
Students in the Master's phase work intensively for one entire semester – and design additional in-depth courses in the main subjects, for those young people who have gaps in their educational biographies and those who are about to take their Matura (upper secondary school leaving certificate)
In cooperation with the Centre for Teacher Education and partners at the University of Vienna, new offers are constantly being developed.
UniClub is funded by several Austrian ministries like the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health Care and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs. It's also supported by private and company donations.
A committed pedagogy aims at well-being, self-realization and empowerment of students and teachers. After the opening of the UniClub in 2015, it quickly became clear that the goal of accompanying young people with experience of flight or migration on their educational path to the Matura cannot be achieved by homework support alone, but requires a holistic view, an approach adapted to individual situations and the needs of the young people. The young people themselves draw attention to the special significance of the common space - a space for learning, for meeting peers and for feeling good. The students use this space for experiences that they will take to the universities and bring back to the schools. In this way, UniClub not only responds to a demand from schools, but also has an impact on them. When learning spaces are consciously designed in reaction to individual demands, both students with or without experience of escape benefit – as do the (future) teachers.
It is inspiring to see how young people coming to the UniClub grow up during years, become increasingly safe in using the German language, getting better and better in school and are able to reach their goals – graduating from school and perhaps starting university studies. But it is also inspiring to see teacher training students learning from young people with migration background in different ways (how to teach, social interaction, think about inclusion in school system, ethical aspects and other aspects you often don´t learn at university). It is also inspiring that a project like UniClub has influence on university studies like teacher training and will lead to a change in teacher training education.
Didactically, the LernClub is the most important setting, in which many young people with very different learning needs (doing homework, learning, preparing schoolwork and presentations) use the premises of the UniClub at the same time. The LernClub is an open learning space. The young people decide for themselves when and how often they come, what and with whom they learn. This active participation in UniClub requires and encourages initiative and independence from the youth. Since the group of people involved is always forming itself anew, different people usually learn together in the LernClub. Simple personal greetings encourage contact, mutual perception and arrival. The time consciously set for greeting allows an easy start and invites to the joint process of designing the room. If each person feels welcome, this creates a positive and productive atmosphere for learning. The way in which people learn with each other is a constitutive moment for the design of the learning space. A committed pedagogy is based on the basic assumption that learning is best done in an interactive relationship. As facilitators, teachers should be interested in what students already know and what still needs to be learned. Each can make a valuable contribution to the learning process. In this inclusive atmosphere, trust is built and at the same time a commitment to participation is enabled.
Involving teacher training students in a youth club-like learning environment for tutoring young people is a very new concept and works very well under the actual conditions. The students/pupils can learn from the teacher training students and they get more insight into how teaching and learning can be pursued in innovative and reflective ways and can practice teaching young people in different settings than the typical school setting.
Teacher training students work in individual sessions with their student/pupil and provide individualized learning material and exercises. In the LernClub teacher training students and students/pupils work exclusively. Workshops in and excursions to research institutions are organized periodically.
The LernClub is an open learning space. The young people decide for themselves when and how often they come, what and with whom they learn. This active participation in UniClub requires and encourages initiative and independence from the youth. Since the group of people involved is always forming itself anew, different people usually learn together in the LernClub. The close cooperation with the young people enables the students – according to voices of the prospective teachers in the reflection sessions – a highly productive change of perspective and the getting to know new (educational, biographical, cultural) realities. They describe the experiences gained in UniClub as significant for their work in the classroom. In this way, the UniClub succeeds in raising the awareness of future teachers for the needs of young non-German first language learners. When asked why they come to the LernClub, many young people – and students – respond: because they "feel at home" here. Young people and students meet at eye level. In the UniClub they take their time for being responsive and listening to each other, even when learning and teaching is not the primary topic in a particular situation.
UniClub is an offer only for young people with migration background and/or flight experience.
Practiced equality is an essential aspect of the project. The students involved in UniClub (both men and women) act as role models, especially those team members who have a similar linguistic and cultural background as the majority of the young people. In exchange with students, the young people experience a modern understanding of their roles. When putting together the teams and organizing the workshops, attention is not only paid to a balanced gender ratio, but also to breaking down role stereotypes rather than reproducing them, for example by increasingly showing and involving women as researchers in natural science subjects. At the same time, great importance is attached to ensuring that there are enough men as role models and contact persons in the team at each appointment. Within the framework of the LernClub, a quantitative balance between women and men or boys and girls is to be guaranteed: 50% of the young people are girls, who receive support from at least 50% female volunteers and take part in workshops, at least 50% of which are led by women.
It combines knowledge of teacher training/educational research, psychology and social work.
It combines knowledge of teacher training/educational aspects, psychology and social work.
In UniClub, everybody is a learner and a teacher – all participants (core team, teacher training students, the Center for Teaching Education and young people) work together at eye level.
The UniClub is based on the motivation and self-organisation of the participating young people and on the participation and commitment of student teachers. In this sense, participation is an important approach for successful learning and teaching in UniClub.
Periodical supervision and coaching for the team take place for discussing problems and personal feelings on problematic situations of young people who participate in the UniClub.
The participants/young people are also supported and accompanied by the UniClub team as well as by a (clinical) psychologist.
The teacher training students are accompanied by the UniClub team, as well as reflection meetings
/semester each, evaluation forms, personal feedback, etc.
The collaboration and cooperation between the UniClub team, the young people, the teacher training students and the Center for Education is very important. The quality is characterized by work at eye level and by mutual learning from each other (“each one teaches one”). Students say that they quickly feel welcome and accepted from the beginning. They perceive themselves as part of the UniClub. The close cooperation with the young people enables the students – according to prospective teachers in reflection meetings – to have a highly productive change of perspective and the get to know new (educational, biographical, cultural) realities. Those in the UniClub consider the experience which they have gained as utterly essential for their work in the classrooms (ibid.) Thus, within the framework of the UniClub the necessary sensitization of future teachers to the needs of young people with diverse backgrounds in culture, language, biography, ability and expectation becomes evident and obvious.
The Center of Teacher Education at the University of Vienna has been cooperating and collaborating with the UniClub for years. In the course of their studies, future teachers complete a seminar in cooperation with the UniClub. Students participate in the learning clubs on a weekly basis, support the young people with their homework and learn together with them. Furthermore, they become StudyBuddies and can work on specific topics / impart knowledge in individual one-to-one sessions with the young people.
Experiences over years are well documented and the core parts of the team are very stable. However, the project has encouraged and promoted a feeling of social responsibility across the whole staff at Vienna University Children’s Office, as well as it had shown an impact on academic teaching and curriculum design and implementation in teacher training programmes at the University of Vienna.
The project coordination of UniClub (Daniela Marzoch) and the Center of Teacher Education
Data monitoring of the participants (pupils and buddies), statistical evaluation and analysis (number of visits, age, gender, subjects)
- regular creative forms of feedback with the participants (feedback workshop, posters, newspaper)
- Evaluation of the participating students (2 reflection meetings/semester each, evaluation forms)
- personal structured feedback from the participating teachers, mediators and trainers
- Feedback from multipliers and cooperation partners
- scientific monitoring by the Centre for Teacher Education, University of Vienna
- regular reflection meetings of the project team
- Final evaluation, reflection, year-end report