Diversity reveals that we all have one thing in common: we differ from one another. Nowadays the term emerges everywhere - in commercial spots, on social media, in family discussions and in the classroom as well. The world we're living in is undeniably diversified as well as multicultural. To embrace and promote this diversity, teachers can provide an elementary stepstone for developing a tolerant atmosphere in classrooms. Whereby they foster the children's identity through exercises and tolerance as well as creating awareness of this topic. But what is diversity and how can we implement it into our education system to color the classroom and the world?
The new edition of the course “Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudices and discrimination” took place in Bologna from 15/05/2023 to 19/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Eeva and Minna from Syvälahden koulu in Finland, Pirjo and Satu from Kokkolan kaupunki/ Kiviniityn koulu in Finland, Eevamaija from Kaitaan lukio in Finland, Rocío and Nines from Escuela Infantil Los Pingüinos in Spain, Elena from I E S La Patacona in Spain, Sanni from Omnia in Finland and Károly from Friedrich-Engels-Gymnasium Senftenberg in Germany.
Diversity is understood as the presence of differences. Although we are frequently unaware of it, our lives are incomparable even though we're living on the same planet. Our perception of the world is mostly determined by our identity, which puts a filter over our world. So we began the course exploring the concept of identity. With a practical exercise the teachers experienced by themselves how they can teach diversity in the classroom by drawing a portrait of themselves that represented the difference between who we are and how others perceive us. According to this we are immersed into cultural aspects of our identity.
The participants experienced that intercultural learning can help students become aware of their own identity as well as facilitating a deeper look on cultural imprints and dealing with stereotypes consciously. Stereotypes come along with diversity, so we focused on them precisely through exercises, reflections and inspirational TED-Talks and differentiated them from prejudices. Being aware of this stereotypical categorization mechanism enables teachers and students to talk and discuss in an respectful way. Self awareness also prevents discrimination.
Another part of the course was conflict management. Why do conflicts arise and how can we solve them? While the group became familiar with the various conflict management styles, they experienced again practically how solutions can be found in crucial situations and that conflicts contain opportunities for development when they take place in a respectful dialogue.
Diversity contains different visions of the world based on cultural experiences, environmental issues and social treatments. In this course we identified diversity as a chance to embrace ourselves and to encourage students to do the same. The courses facilitated a widened space for discussions and intercultural exchanges and represented our diversity as well as broadening the knowledge of teaching and dealing with diversity in the classroom
Discover more about this course here.
As teachers and education staff, we always aim for our students to be successful and have the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes to find their best place in the society we live in. Our modern society is extremely diversified as well as multicultural, promoting diversity and tolerance in the classroom has become a crucial goal for teachers, schools, and adult education. Building emphatic and open-minded characters can make a real impact on learners and for the whole of society.
The new edition of the course “Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudices and discrimination” took place in Tenerife from 22/05/2023 to 28/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Veronika and Zuzana from Zakladni skola Bernarda Bolzana obecne prospesna spolecnost in Czech. Coming from Lithuania, Natalija teaching at Siauliai Salduve progymnasium. From Centro Formativo Provinciale G. Zanardelli in Italy, we had two participants, Mariagrazia and Donata. And last but not least, five participants, Maja, Suzana, Kamelija, Ornela, and Maja from OOU Goce Delcev - Centar, Skopje in North Macedonia.
The first key step of the course was to explore the concept of identity. Teachers were engaged in a very practical and visual activity to experience the expression of their own identity. Their task was to draw their portraits. Half part of the portrait had to represent the visible appearance while the other half was all about their deep personal characteristics and values. After that, we discussed how our identity and what comes with this concept may influence how one perceives the world and others.
We also faced key challenges and concerns in acknowledging and promoting cultural diversity. A TED talk helped us to reflect on the importance of asking “Where are you local” instead of “Where are you from” because what makes us and our students who we are is not our country but our whole culture: indeed our identity is being developed on various and interconnected levels.
It is a well-known fact that we cannot immerse ourselves in the concept of diversity without mentioning the notion of stereotypes. We discussed the cause of their existence and their negative and positive impact, how we form stereotypes, and where they lead us. We implemented the storytelling technique to see how stereotypes evolve into judgments and discrimination.
Moreover, we touched on a really sensitive topic: awareness and respect. The glasses through which we perceive the world are a product of our identity so the reality is different depending on which glasses we are wearing. We did a lot of activities and simulations connected with critical thinking in order to understand how our values affect the culture and vice versa. And also how to respect multiple views of one another once we have acknowledged our different points of view.
The part of the course dedicated to membership and inclusion helped us to recognize how it feels to be excluded and how difficult it is to include others in our dynamics. The geese exercise with its leadership styles perfectly matched this aim.
Finally, our last point was empathy. We dug into feelings and emotions, fostering teachers to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Being aware of our emotions is crucial but it’s important as well to train ourselves and the students to express them.
After all, it was a bright week full of new knowledge, practice, sharing, deep conversations and thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
Discover more about this course here.
The aim of this training course is to reflect and discuss on different strategies, methods and practices to promote inclusion in the classroom. Particularly, we looked at classrooms supporting students with disabilities. The keywords of this training are empathy, cooperation, and membership, which characterize the elements of inclusive education. This training provided the opportunity to learn new tools and new models, creating the chance to discuss different strategies and practices, all with the aim of continuous improvement.
The new edition of the course “Special Needs and Inclusive Education: the Italian Experience of overcoming segregation” took place in Bologna from 30/04/2023 to 05/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Anastasia, Kadri, Karin, and Krista from the Tallinn Education Department in Estonia; Eléonore and Emmanuelle from École Académique de la Formation Continue (EAFC) - Rectorat de Lyon in France; Katarzyna and Agata from Szkoła Podstawowa nr 10 im. Armii Krajowej w Będzinie in Poland; Estrella from CEIP Santísimo Cristo de La Salud de Hervás in Spain; and five participants from Portugal: Silvia and Fernanda from Agrupamento De Escolas De Vilela; and Donzilia, Ana Rita, and Jacinta from Agrupamento de Escolas de Anadia.
The first keyword, “Empathy”, is the ability to take on the perspective of the other person without judgement and to convey that understanding and support. It is fundamental to forming genuine connections with people, and “To connect” is crucial in educational contexts, particularly when supporting students with special needs.
The second keyword explored is “Membership”: the sense of “belongingness to a group” and of perceiving how your contributions could be meaningful for others. This sense of belongingness, created by removing physical barriers that prevent dialogue, and by promoting mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect, is paramount to fostering a welcoming environment that stimulates and supports learning and growth.
The third keyword explored is “Cooperation”, which refers to the relationship with the students’ families, who continue supporting the student’s learning process outside the classroom at home. Cooperating with families is crucial, as they are a fundamental pillar in a student’s support system and play a heavy hand in developing and defining it. With this in mind, teachers must be the guiding light for both students and parents, providing information and ideas on how parents can best assist their child’s learning process. Cooperation can also refer to the role the students – those with special needs and those without – play in the classroom. Acknowledging and respecting their differences while also celebrating each other's strengths and ability to connect is fundamental to navigating the world outside of the classroom.
We explored the peculiarities of the “Italian Model”, which is one of the few examples of inclusive education. Inclusive education is based on a design that “includes” everyone in the same system, counting on the support of special figures such as Support Teachers and Educators. This is in contrast to models that have special needs schools separate from common education classrooms and institutions, which can generate a greater disconnect between students sorted into either group.
To get a closer look at the Italian Model and our approach to inclusive education, the teachers had the opportunity to tour the secondary school “Rosa Luxemburg” in Bologna and observe how they put into practice the methods and theories presented during the course. To further complement this, teachers participated in a virtual tour of the primary school “Il Circolo Didattico di Amelia” in Amelia with our partner institution in Palermo. The tour was led by Alessandro Piacentini, whose passion for special needs education was infectious and sparked great conversation in the classroom. These opportunities allowed participants to actively explore and discuss the Italian Model, and reflect on what methods and strategies may be useful in their own professional context.
Finally, the networking and cultural activities of our program provided many formative moments for the teachers: they were an opportunity to exchange points of view, models and methods, and foster mutual enrichment while learning more about Italian culture and eating delicious Italian food!
In this training, we discovered different approaches to “Inclusion”, different perspectives, and different strategies through sharing a diverse array of past experiences, challenges, and successes. Thank you to all of the participants, who, with their dedication and passion for diverse and inclusive education, made this course unique with their great contributions. We hope to see you soon!
The new edition of the course “Innovative game-based tools for working with adults with elements of intercultural learning” took place in Tenerife from 07/05/2023 to 20/05/2023. The participants Lilianna, Karina, Maria, Ewa, Jolanta, Bożena, Krystyna, Anna, Marta, Anna came from Akademia Seniora in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.
In a two-week course with seniors, their active and engaged participation surpassed expectations, often outshining other age groups. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the learning process created a vibrant environment where knowledge was shared, discussions were lively, and connections were formed. The seniors' eagerness to apply their new knowledge in real-life situations showcased their dedication to personal growth.
In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, new learners present us with unique challenges that require innovative approaches to engage and motivate them. Two strategies that have gained significant attention in recent years are Game-Based Learning and Gamification. These approaches offer exciting opportunities to revolutionize 21st-century education and meet the diverse needs of modern learners.
To begin, it's important to understand the difference between Game-Based Learning and Gamification. Game-Based Learning involves integrating educational content into a game context, where learners actively participate, interact, and learn through gameplay. On the other hand, Gamification applies game elements and mechanics, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, to non-game contexts, creating a sense of competition, rewards, and motivation.
By using game mechanics, educators can stimulate critical and creative thinking, encouraging learners to actively problem-solve, strategize, and engage with the learning materials in meaningful ways.
Our society is becoming increasingly multicultural and diverse, presenting new challenges in all the fields. Understanding concepts of identity and culture is essential for creating inclusive and culturally sensitive learning environments. During the course participants emphasized the importance of cultivating empathy among learners and educators, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping human relationships and fostering a supportive and collaborative learning community.
Furthermore, they steped beyond traditional classroom settings and discover the potential of Outdoor Game-Based Learning. By utilizing game-based mechanics, educators can create engaging outdoor activities that motivate learners to explore, discover, and apply knowledge in real-world contexts. This immersive experience enhances learning outcomes and encourages a deeper connection between education and the environment.
In order to successfully implement Gamification, participants gained practical insights into upgrading existing activities by incorporating game elements and mechanisms, fostering a sense of motivation, competition, and collaboration among learners.
Outdoor education offers a dynamic and engaging approach to learning that goes beyond the traditional classrooms. It holds the key to enhancing cognitive skills, boosting physical health, nurturing emotional well-being, and revolutionising the learning process.
ELA course aimed to equip teachers with the tools and to discover the potential of outdoor education and its impact on students' lives.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 15/05/2023 to 19/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with José from Escola Secundaria Jaime Moniz in Madeira, 5 participants from Finland from two different schools: Maritta and Maria from Keskuskoulu; Katri, Mari and Outi from Hailuodon Koulu. We also have Sigrun and Andrea from Stakkaborg pre-school in Iceland, Aurelina and Ana Sofia from Agrupamento de Escolas de Vilela in Portugal, Lorraine and Rosanne from St. Benedict’s College in Malta. To finish, we have Javier, Jose Carlos and Jose Antonio from CEIP Juan Carlos in Spain.
The training course started with an introduction where participants shared their fears, expectations, and unique contributions. Each teacher also presented their school's and commitment to outdoor education.
The week continued with a series of crafted activities designed to show the importance of outdoor education. We made a thrilling treasure hunt around the hotel area followed by interactive exploration of the ten principles of outdoor education, ideas to plan an outdoor activity and safety issues to keep into consideration. In fact , the group discovered how the natural world serves as a rich canvas for exploration, where students can connect theoretical concepts to real-life experiences, creating deep and lasting understanding.
On Thursday the participants delved into the heart of outdoor education, immersing themselves in a local park and its natural environment. Through a range of quests, games, and warm-up activities, they experienced the power of active learning and witnessed the effects it had on student motivation and knowledge retention.
To finish the course we embarked on an exciting urban treasure hunt in the center of Bologna, delving deeper into the city's rich heritage. Despite the rain, participants demonstrated remarkable adaptability and embraced the challenge wholeheartedly, reaffirming the vital role of resilience in outdoor education.
This training course was a transformative experience, leaving an indelible mark on each participant. Thanks to their enthusiasm and dedication, they return home with newfound knowledge, tools, and innovative ideas to integrate outdoor education into their teaching practices.
Discover more about this course here
Bullying and cyberbullying are serious problems in schools that can have harmful effects on students; social and emotional well-being. Here are some ways to prevent bullying and cyberbullying in schools and promoting social emotional learning.
The new edition of the course “How to stop bullying and cyberbullying in schools and promote social emotional learning” took place in Tenerife from 14/05/2023 to 20/05/2023. The participants came from two countries only this time. We had Dalia Ionela, Iustina , Adriana, and Mariana from Colegiul Naţional “Costache Negruzzi” Iaşi in Romania and Orlane, Marie, Paul, Julien from College Miriam Makeba in France.
“Bridging Hearts, Building Respect: Empowering Minds for a Bully-Free World” encapsulates the essence of this transformative journey. It emphasizes the importance of forging connections between individuals, bridging the gaps that divide us, and nurturing a sense of empathy that allows us to understand and support one another.
At the core of this approach lies social emotional learning, which equips students with the necessary skills to navigate their emotions, develop healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions. By integrating SEL into school curricula, we can empower young minds to express empathy, show compassion, and develop a strong moral compass. Creating a bully-free environment requires a comprehensive strategy that involves students, educators, parents, and the wider community.
To begin, it is essential to raise awareness about the damaging effects of bullying and cyberbullying, ensuring that everyone understands the gravity of these behaviors. By fostering open and honest discussions, we can dismantle the stigmas associated with bullying and encourage individuals to speak up when they witness or experience such incidents.
Schools should establish clear policies and protocols that address bullying and cyberbullying, emphasizing zero-tolerance for such behavior. Teachers and staff should receive comprehensive training on recognizing and addressing bullying incidents, allowing them to intervene effectively and support those involved. Additionally, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the school community is vital. This can be achieved through initiatives such as peer mentoring programs, diversity clubs, and collaborative projects that promote teamwork and understanding among students.
Furthermore, parents and caregivers play a pivotal role in preventing bullying and cyberbullying. It is essential for them to engage in open communication with their children, teaching them about the power of empathy and the consequences of harmful behavior. By fostering a supportive home environment, parents can reinforce the values of respect, empathy, and responsible digital citizenship.
Ultimately, this course seeks to create a shift in societal attitudes towards bullying. It calls for a collective effort to promote social emotional learning and empathy, encouraging schools, families, and communities to work together in creating safe and nurturing spaces for our children.
By building stronger hearts and minds, we can empower the next generation to reject bullying, combat cyberbullying, and foster a culture of kindness and understanding. Together, we can bridge the gaps, build respect, and create a better world free from the devastating effects of bullying.
Discover more about this course here.
In today's rapidly evolving world, the role of ICT and new technologies in education has become more crucial than ever. Integrating web tools and new technologies into the classroom has transformed the way we teach and learn, opening up a world of possibilities for both educators and students. These innovative tools offer unique opportunities to engage students, enhance collaboration, and personalize the learning experience.
The new edition of the course “Integrating ICT and New Technologies Into Teaching and Education” took place in Bologna from 07/05/2023 to 11/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Julen Miguel from IES Pepe Ruiz Vela in Spain , Danelli Chrysoula, Mbimpika Grammatoula and Evangelopoulou Ioanna from 8 LICEO THESSALONIKI in Greece, Ruben Jans and Sara Theuwen from UC Limburg vzw in Belgium and participants coming from 2 different Portuguese schools: Cátia João and João Magalhães from Real Colégio de Portugal, Margarida Figueiredo, Albertina Rodrigues and Teresa Rocha from Agrupamento de escolas de Oliveira de Frades. Last but not least Aleksandra Simonović, Ivana Radović and Jelena Medenica from Secondary vocational school in Serbia.
Throughout the duration of this course, participants were equipped with a diverse array of technological tools and gained valuable insights on effectively integrating them into their teaching methodologies.
Our participants explored user-friendly tools which proved highly effective for teaching. These tools facilitated various tasks, including creating multimedia quizzes, educational games, and summarizing previous ones. They also provided a platform for fostering student creativity, empowering them to produce their own works. Notably, video presentations play a significant role in capturing students' attention and enhancing their engagement. By harnessing the power of these tools, our participants utilized students' imaginations to cultivate an active learning environment in the classroom. Thus, we have tried in practice that we can integrate formative assessment tools into education.
Additionally, participants acquired the skills to effortlessly create websites using a simple step-by-step experiment and create websites tailored specifically for their schools or needs.
In the past couple of years, traditional education made way for virtual lessons and online classes. Consequently, this course extensively covered the tools necessary for conducting effective online classes. Therefore it was inevitable for this course to also explore the applications useful to hold an online class such as a virtual whiteboard that can create engaging and captivating online lessons and also collaborative learning experiences.
Moreover, the participants had the chance to dive into the technological world with plenty of practical activities such as presentations, virtual quizzes, learning how to create engaging social media content, using tools dedicated to organizing graphics, posters and collages and much more.
Through this course, participants had the opportunity to engage with one another and draw upon their collective experiences, fostering a rich learning environment. Equipped with newfound knowledge in interactive learning and armed with a set of innovative tools, participants emerged ready to implement these strategies in their classrooms. Undoubtedly, this approach will amplify students' creativity, engagement, attention, and motivation, while transforming the learning process into a dynamic and enjoyable activity.
Our participants had the wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the captivating city of Bologna and its enchanting surroundings. They embarked on a journey of exploration, discovering the rich cultural heritage, foods, architectural marvels, and historical landmarks that make Bologna truly unique. They matched this educational journey with cultural memories. We want to say thank you for their endless contribution and the joy that they have brought to our class. Hope to see them somewhere in the world again.
Empowering Education: Tackling Early SchoolLeaving and Conflicts through Growth Mindsetand Collaboration
The issue of Early School Leaving (ESL) and conflicts in the educational setting has become increasingly pressing in recent years. The consequences of this phenomenon are significant, with negative impacts on individuals, communities, and societies as a whole. Therefore, it is crucial to address this problem proactively, by identifying the causes and adopting effective strategies to prevent, manage, and reduce ESL and conflicts. This training course aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the topic, a range of best practices and approaches to tackle the issue, and tools to manage conflicts in the educational setting. By taking a holistic approach, the course will explore various aspects of the problem, including social, economic, psychological, and educational factors, and provide insights into how to foster a positive and inclusive learning environment that can support all students to reach their full potential.
The new edition of the course “Preventing conflicts and tackling Early School Leaving” took place in
Tenerife from 07/05/2023 to 13/05/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Ingrid and Katrin from Sint Ursula institute in Belgium Viktor from IGS Mainz-Bretzenheim in Germany Francesco and Loredana from ISISS Gobetti-De Gasperi in Italy.
Early School Leaving (ESL) is a widespread problem across Europe, with negative consequences on
individuals and societies. To tackle this issue, it is crucial to identify the underlying causes and develop effective strategies to prevent, manage, and reduce ESL. In a European context, participants of a training course dedicated their first day to defining what ESL means and identifying the main risk factors.
Through hands-on activities, they drew a realistic picture of their school experience and
discussed potential consequences of ESL.
To develop an approach to prevent ESL, participants realised the importance of connecting to
students' interests and feelings. They engaged in activities that highlighted the importance of active listening and emotional intelligence in creating social connections.
Conflict management was another important topic discussed during the training course. Participants underwent a perspective change, realising that conflicts provide unique opportunities to improve communication, relationships, and understanding. They practised non-formal activities to reflect on the importance of membership and collaboration and explored strategies for collaborative work and peer-education.
The group also discussed battling negativity in the classroom, analysing different conflict managementstyles and their application in different situations. They identified and characterised the main ;negative, student types and developed practical tips and suggestions on how to deal with them effectively. Through a team challenge, participants learned how to foster a mindset of growth in their students.
Finally, the group analysed the phenomenon of bullying and explored strategies to become upstanders and stop bullying. Through visual tasks and group reflection, participants gained insights into the importance of taking action against bullying and promoting a positive and inclusive learning environment.
In summary, the training course provided participants with a holistic approach to prevent and manage ESL and conflicts in the educational setting. By connecting to students' interests and feelings, promoting collaboration and peer-education, and fostering a positive mindset, educators can create a learning environment that supports all students to reach their full potential.
Overall, the training course provided participants with practical tools, insights, and strategies to
transform their approach to ESL and conflict management. By embracing a mindset of growth and
transformation, educators can create a supportive and empowering learning environment that enables all students to achieve their full potential.
Discover more about this course here.
The contact with nature and surrounding environment leads to thousands of benefits for the individual, from both a physical and psychologic point of view. These benefits prompted scholars to consider the Outdoor Education as a successful teaching method which offers students the possibility to experience another way to relate to themselves and to other peers by increasing social skills on one hand, and the awareness of the issues of respect for the environment and climate change on the other.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Palermo from 07/05/2023 to 13/05/2023. The participants came from Spain and Germany, with Marimar Villarroya Fernandez and Maria Insa Adarve from C.E.I.P. OCTAVUS; Barbel Rohde from Alfred Grosser Schulzentrum; and Montserrat Soro Cansado from INS Ronda.
Starting from a general definition of Outdoor Education, the participants had the opportunity to analyze the benefits of Outdoor Education such as the student development, which includes the overall wellbeing, the sense of self and the development of competences; the interaction and socialization of students; the psycho-psysical wellbeing; and, also, the contact with the world, which consists in a special bond with nature and a deeper knowledge about environment in order to develop a sense of care and protection of it.
The following part of the session was focused on some games that the participants had the chance to practice in the natural environment, such as local parks or beaches. During these outdoor activities the participants learnt the importance of working in team and the value of collaboration in order to reach positive results and, above all,the method of “learning by doing”, which is the main principle of Non-formal Education (NFE). Non-Formal education is the basis of Outdoor education and it may therefore take place both within and outside educational institutions, and cater to students of all age.
During the week the participants experienced another branch of Outdoor Education, as known as Urban Outdoor Education and in particular they had the opportunity to find a new way to discover urban spaces, historical and archeological sites by playing digitally interactive scavenger hunts. The online platform used provides tour around a city or building enriched with quizzes and information to discover and it is a good way for teachers in order to keep attention of their students during school trips or museums visits in a gamified atmosphere. The participants were splitted in two groups and the tasks they had to accomplish consisted in taking pictures or videos, finding a spot, answering to a quiz, or accomplishing a mission. In the end all the team performances were available in the results page of the website in which the winner team was shown. It was a really good experience for the participants who had the chance to experience a new way of learning that they can reuse with their own pupils, and at the same time they had fun by exploring and discovering new spots of the city in a more dynamic and engaging tour.
Another part of the course was dedicated to the study of the “10 Kurt Hahn principles” and their meaning in order to make the participants aware of the importance of taking care and respecting the surrounding nature environment. The participants played different games and experienced different practical activities with the aim to develop collaboration, socialization, creativity and self-discovery skills in a context of funny learning.
The last part of the session, instead, was focused on the any possible “risk” that outdoor activities may involve if the safety rules for the outdoor classroom are not established. Teachers have to anticipate any kind of risks by making their own security plan for the outdoor activities in which they have to check that each student have appropriate clothing and equipment. After studying the things that an outdoor educational planning has to take into consideration, the participants created their own paper map in which they had to highlight all the natural and structural elements of the outdoor space and add some further information, such as places of interest, areas of relaxation or danger and any small or relevant intervention.
In conclusion, we can confirm that all participants had successfully accomplished any tasks or game that they will be able to replicate with their students. They will also be able to teach the value and importance of outdoor learning based on the principle that the learning process do not happen just in school classroom but in any different context that is inspiring, involving and creative.
Discover more about this course here.
Soft skills are nowadays becoming more and more important in the context of professional and daily life. Skills such as emotional intelligence and empathy, teamwork, and conflict and stress management are essential inside and outside the classroom. By a combination of theoretical and practical activities, our participants learned more about ways to improve their communication skills.
The new edition of the course “Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence for Teachers and education staff” took place in Bologna from 23/04/2023 to 28/04/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Emilee and Kathleen from St. Benedict's College in Malta; Mihaela, Felicia, Camelia, and Isabela from Liceul Teoretic Petra Cercel in Romania; Pelin from Gebze Technical University in Turkey; Marika from Omnia in Finland; and Rosanna from the Institut Escola del Treball in Spain. Participants gained unique insight into the differences in similarities in education practices across different regions and discussed ways to navigate specific challenges present in work with their own diverse experiences.
The first topic discussed in the course was Emotional Intelligence—the ability to recognise not only our own feelings but also the feelings of others. Emotional intelligence allows us to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings, practise empathy, and better navigate emotional situations. Through a series of exercises, the participants were able to learn more about empathic responses, self-control, self-motivation, and building a connection. Finally, what was highlighted was that there is no optimal method of offering emotional support in all situations. What is most appropriate depends on the context, and maintaining an open line of communication will guide you to the most supportive action.
A good teacher is also a good leader of the classroom because they have to motivate and guide their students to reach a specific goal. Leadership comes in different forms, but not all of them are effective in every situation. For this reason, participants were asked to think about the main characteristics of the leaders they admire and reflected on the different leadership styles.
One of the most important skills for working in a team is Effective Communication. The participants focused their attention on the different communication styles: aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive and assertive. Communication is essential when it comes to teamwork. Being able to demonstrate assertiveness can be tricky. However, by discussing this topic, they found that being assertive does not mean being impolite: it means communicating what you want effectively and giving the other person the chance to respond with all the cards on the table.
In order to improve their communication skills, participants prepared an exercise on Public Speaking. They learned tips and tricks on how to present themselves, control their body language, and utilize nonverbal communication effectively. To put these skills into practice, participants prepared a short one-minute speech to present to the class and received feedback.
The last topic of this course was Conflict and Stress Management. Working with people can be difficult, and we do not always know how to deal with conflicts. By sharing their own experiences, participants realised how these are common situations and that conflict doesn’t always bring negative outcomes: it can present possibilities for growth and development.
Further opportunities for networking and connection were facilitated through planned cultural activities in the form of day trips, tours, and trying delicious Italian food. These were valuable moments where cultural exchange and mutual enrichment occurred, showing that learning does not happen only inside a classroom!
This course allowed participants to confront themselves with each other and learn from their shared experiences. Each participant had a different background that allowed for unique perspectives that contributed to the growth of the group as a whole. While from different backgrounds, all participants of the course had a shared interest in enriching their skills in emotional intelligence and in fostering safe environments in their professions. The conversations and discoveries shared will no doubt stay with us! We hope to see you again soon!
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.