In our second training for Senior Ambassadors participating in our condensed pilot, we concentrated on how to recruit Junior Ambassadors to help run EPAS. We had students from St Mary’s College, in Naas, Ireland, share why they got involved as Junior Ambassadors.
You can watch the full training session here, or scroll down for a write-up of the key points.
Key learning points
Ideas and experiences from St Mary’s College
- St Mary’s College started off running EPAS at lunchtime, but it’s been such a success that it’s now a lesson in the timetable.
- A big part of EPAS for them is the Mock European Council.
- A key driver for the students is learning about the EU. They know it’s a big part of their lives, but isn’t taught in their curriculum.
- Once the core group had learnt about the EU, they brainstormed how to educate other students. Some of their ideas are:
- Cultural days
- Food form different EU countries
- Setting it up as a lunchtime club
- Eventually becoming a lesson in which they are discussing politics and current affairs
- They have targeted specific students:
- Those interested in debating
- Those interested in politics
- Rosemary (the Senior Ambassador) tried to work ‘smarter, not harder’ so she collaborates with other subject teachers:
- Food (home economics) for food-based events
- Languages teachers for language quizzes for younger students
Ideas from participants
Debates and political events
- Kialo online
- Prepared debates
- Model UN
- Mock elections with students voting after ‘leaders debates’
Recruiting student-led teams
- Targeting specific students
- Those with an interest
- Those not involved in other activities
- Using it as a reward: letters home to say the child has been nominated to be an ‘Ambassador’
Student-led events and social media
- Student newsletters
- Student-run WordPress blog
- Community events with an international flavour
Q: What would be a good starting point activity?
A: It doesn’t just have to be hugely in-depth. It could be a simple lunch-time debate, or a ‘culture day’ – different students brining in food or information about their home countries, or countries they know about. Food seems to always be successful!
Q: What do we do if we have too many students involved?
A: Trying to find different talents within the group and draw them out into smaller groups: e.g. video-making, artistic competitions, social media posting, debating. Within a debate you can split into smaller groups and ask each group to research and present from the perspective of a different EU member state. There are a number of such activities here: https://epas.org.uk/ideas-and-opportunities-from-brussels/
Q: How do we sustain interest with students?
For this short programme, there will be events every week, with people asked to share the following week what they have been working on. This should sustain motivation. There are also rewards for students, from certificates, to invitations to participate in international events. Meeting regularly (online) with students from other schools has been mentioned as a key motivation by schools from Ireland.
Resources for recruiting Junior Ambassadors
We used an adapted version of Session 4 from the Europe@School Learning Resources as a way of starting to get students to see how the EU has an influence on their day to day lives, even though the UK is no longer in the EU. The original is best used in EU member states. We will be posting a UK-focussed one very shortly.
Posters and social media images
Print these posters (will work fine at A3 or A4 size) and add in how students can find out more about becoming Junior Ambassadors in your school.
These social media images can be shared through your school channels with details of how students can find out more about becoming Junior Ambassadors in your school.