We strongly believe and all our participants agree with us that game-based learning is one of the best ways to learn. At the same time it is a really fun way of teaching!
The week from 6th to 12th of February we welcomed in Bologna our participants Manuel and Juan from IES El Doctoral, Stephen from Inicijativa za engleski jezik i kulturu, Gruia and Alexandra from Special School no.3, Cristina and Andreea from Scoala Gimnaziala Speciala SF.NICOLAE, Edyta, Paulina, Aneta and Gabriela from Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa w Krzeszowie Górnym. Their training week was constructed like a game, following a sequence of levels from the very beginning. We started solving riddles and discovering the secrets of Bologna during the Sunday walking tour and we continued engaging in challenges and adventures throughout our “weekly game”.
During the first level we discussed the pedagogical value of playing and how games stimulate learning. We reflected and acknowledged that teachers are most of the time “digital immigrants” in an educational cosmos that is nowadays populated by digital natives only.
Through a challenge on the differences between gamification and game-based learning, our “players” could better clarify that gamification applies game elements into a non-game environment while game-based learning is a teaching approach whereby learning happens through playing the game itself.
As the main outcome of the second level, “players” defined the most common gamification framework as the process through which 8 major internal and external motivators influence human engagement. During one of the practical activities, players engaged in a role-play where they acted like the most common types of video games players, reaching a hands-on understanding of game-driven motivation.
The third level was dedicated to game-based tools and apps. We listed and actively explored several traditional games and we reframed them all together into more engaging learning tools. After all the challenges and battles, “players” had an opportunity to create their own tools both offline and online.
Having overcome all the levels of our game, participants had the opportunity to learn new ways of making the most of the most traditional games to transform the learning process. They also got acquainted with modern online tools able to produce a significant improvement of students’ engagement and bring a spark in the classroom!
Discover more about the course on Gamification and Game-based Leraning on our website!
The school system, teachers and educators have a huge role to play in equipping students with the skills and competences they need to face their future life and career. Promoting critical thinking and problem-solving in the class was the main expectation with which our group of participants came to the course from 30th January to 5th February - Katharina from BG Rein, Isabel from Heilig-Hartinstituut Lyceum, Irena and Emilija from "Josip Broz Tito" High School, Mirela from OŠ Vladimira Nazora Pazin, Miriam and Katarína form Gymnazium Jana Papanka, Maria Irene form Agrupamento de Escolas General Serpa Pinto, Andrés from IES Arcipreste de Canales. The most important learning objective for the week was preparing to foster 21st century skills in students, encouraging students to think outside of the box and strengthen their critical thinking skills.
Talking about key competences for living in the 21st century, participants touched on the topic of learning and innovation skills, digital skills and also career and life skills, focusing their attention on the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Most importantly, we learned through hands-on practice how differently our brain and thinking skills function when there’s a problem to solve.
Moving to visual strategies, participants experienced new activities which could be used to stimulate students' creative expression and could be a basis for brainstorming or discussing their ideas. We challenged an “only-art” perception of what “visual thinking” encompasses, by proposing an innovative and digital perspective. As an outcome, our participant Isabel created this visual map of all the participants’ sending organizations.
A reflection on the importance of training students’ critical thinking skills was needed in a world where most of the time they are passively exposed to loads of (dis)information. Participants engaged in reasoning, questioning and debating activities that could be adapted to different classroom situations to help students become active and aware agents of their own learning.
But to introduce a good dose of creativity and critical thinking in the classroom, not only we shall struggle to find new solutions, as innovation often comes from reframing traditional tools. Our participants enjoyed playing traditional games, like Taboo and Battleship, and had an opportunity to adapt them to their own subjects while building a stronger learning perspective on them.
Finishing the course, everyone had a chance to create a personalized display of their training and cultural journey in Bologna and, from a fashion show to a snowball battle, we said goodbye to a week full of laughter, creativity and new experiences!
From 13th to 19th of Februray we had the pleasure of hosting participants from CEPER Almazara, Ipep Huelva, María Auxiliadora Salesianas Zaragoza and School No.7 Botoșani.
The topic of the week was “Innovative teaching methods for education” and the group was enthusiast to begin on the first day. As usual, the morning starts with some activities to break the ice and getting to know each other: our courses are first of all meant for networking with other cultures!
The second topic explored was Project Based Learning. Through some practical activities, the participants discovered the core of the approach called “Project Based Learning”, a structured teaching practice characterized by 5 key elements guiding the learning process: real world connection, core to learning, student centered, structured collaboration and multifaceted assessment. Through the analysis of videos targeted to their students’ age, they also had the opportunity to get a better understanding of the approach, catching suggestions and tips in the field of PBL.
And then it was time to discover another wonderful topic: outdoor education. If you were wondering how to bring the class outside and the outdoor inside, you may have wanted to join this class. We started with a small brainstorming: “how to define outdoor education?” This was a nice opportunity for different countries to share ideas, opinions and best practices. Of course there is no right answer, but we tried anyway to give an idea of this new trend by having a look at some theories.
And that is not all. We all know that teaching in the open air has its own benefits: both for our physical and mental health. We discovered them together and discussed about it.
More info on this course at: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/innovative-teaching-methods.html
Being aware of others’ feelings and needs isn’t always as simple as we can think.
In particular, if you are a teacher it can be very challenging to understand all students’ needs and to help them in the best way. Held from 6th to 12th of February, the course “Emotional intelligence and coaching skills” was conceived to train teachers on this matter: through various dynamic activities, they could develop their emotional intelligence (EI) and their coaching skills, gaining more understanding of their students in challenging situations and learning how to better support them in the decision-making process.
A fundamental step is to fully understand the tricky differences between these two figures: the coach and the teacher. A teacher is someone who transfers knowledge to grow students’ skills and abilities; on the other hand, a coach is someone who supports a coachee’s development by listening and posing the right questions.
Another main topic of this course is to deeper understand empathy, which is strictly linked to Emotional Intelligence. In fact, teachers were supposed to learn that every student is unique and has their own potential and that, in some cases, they can’t unleash it due to tough situations they come through. Not to forget that keeping improving oneself’s EI it’s crucial not only as a teacher but also as a person.
Concerning this point, teachers learned the key role of the questions in the coaching process. They had an exploration journey where they experienced how the different styles of question-posing can make a difference in the student’s response to an issue. So, teachers should guide their students in finding the solution more suited to the context, always keeping in mind that specific individual’s needs and potentials. The bottom line is to help students discover their own resources, not suggesting them but rather putting the focus on guiding them to find the solution.
At the end of this week full of dynamic learning (and city trips!), the teachers are proudly showing their certificates! Thanks to them for having contributed to enrichen this course!
More info about this course at Emotional intelligence and coaching skills course for teachers (erasmustrainingcourses.com).
A new year has started at Erasmus Learning Academy and we are back with our adventures :)
The 30th of January a new group arrived in Bologna to start a new course about bullying behaviours. Their aim was to learn about effective ways to prevent all forms of bullying in education and school settings.
We started with our introduction day where we brainstormed all the different kind of bullying behaviours: which forms does it takes? Who are the participants of a bullying scenario? Which are the three main elements which distinguish bullying from conflict?
We moved on to talk about the victim: which are the risk factors that lead children to be bullied? And what can we do to prevent this situation? What are the initiatives that can be carried out to prevent bullying behaviours? We looked at these topics by 4 different points of view: family, school, individual and community.
One of the main and most difficult types of bullying to be eradicated is cyber bullying. Nowadays Internet has a major role in the lives of our kids and may have a negative impact on them. However, it also has some positive sides. With some practical activities we explored the world of cyber bullying and we also discussed about the differences between traditional and cyber bullying and about the things that they have in common. To understand and put ourselves in the shoes of bullying victims we implemented a very powerful activity which can be used both with students, parents and teachers to raise awareness.
In order to prevent bullying behaviours it is vital to foster a positive classroom environment. This is why we explored the topics of emotional intelligence, membership and inclusion and collaboration. These are pillars for a supportive classroom and should not be underestimated. Of course we discussed about this with a lot of non formal and creative activities and games, thanks to which it was impossible to get bored ;)
We want to conclude with a review left by one of our participants: “This course has been an opportunity to learn and find out new points of view. Sharing our work and knowing other people is the best way to improve our skills as teachers”