E-twinning projects which have a European orientation, usually focus on the introduction of each partner’s culture, in an attempt to learn more about each other and bridge differences.
Triggered by Maslow’s ideas on human needs, we thought, that, to build a strong European identity would be a foundation for a stable European Community. Under these terms, knowing each other’s culture is not enough. By applying Maslow’s ideas in our teaching, we as teachers, owe to teach our students the way they will overcome the limits posed by culture, to their self development, in order to become citizens of the world, or in our case, European citizens. To achieve this target, we as teachers owe to teach our children to have an understanding of their inner self, their feelings first. We thought that we should take a step back and before trying to reach each other in cultural terms, we should reach our inner selves. We believe that the “learning” should go deeper, beyond the surface, the obvious. Besides, we are all human beings who share the same needs.
We believe that the idea of a concrete European identity, is based on working on our own inner selves first, and then trying to reach the person standing next to us and work our feelings together. The new European citizens should be trying to construct a character based on certain characteristics in order to develop a stable European identity. That would be the foundation of a stable European Construction. A community of citizens which possess respect, trust, responsibility, fairness, caring and last but not least, citizenship. These are the six pillars of character, according to the study of Character. This could be a strong foundation of a European Construction. People who accept their own selves with their strengths and their weaknesses and they are ready to open themselves to accept the other, standing next to them, with his/ her own character, whatever his cultural or religious beliefs. All those character traits we studied during our project, trying to achieve with the members of the project a connection deeper than that of our national identity. A connection that can be possessed by a “citizen beyond” who can overcome all hindrances posed by culture or society.
So “knowing thy self” is the foundation for a strong character, a European citizen ready to live in union. We worked on our project towards that direction, keeping in mind our differences, in respect to each other, using them as a binding power, without projecting our national or religious identities, by trying to find those things or ideas that connect us, with a lot of care and responsibility towards each other and our common set goal, to produce a quality project. We worked on a common cause by creating a new identity, comprised by all of us. The identity of the European e-twinner, only to create a bonding relationship. We used technology as the tool which would bring us closer. We used it as a tool which would help us achieve our goal, by creating a loving, respectful project, using all our skills, abilities and individual experiences as one person. In an enterprise, it is each other’s differences, special skills and abilities that make it strong. We worked together, as a team, in unanimity, not knowing where one’s work ends the other partner’s begins, rejecting all selfish feelings and caring only for our common goal, to create a quality project. Through the project, we managed to build a relationship which reflects all the traits we tried to achieve in our project. We managed to become the live expression of our projects deeper meaning and create a strong bond as European e-twinners and transmit that feeling to our students; the spirit of the real European identity.