Throughout history, the act of trekking has profoundly influenced the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development of individuals. Even in contemporary times, the act of trekking in natural or urban landscapes continues to evoke inspiration, awe, and a deep connection with the environment. Trekking education represents a progressive pedagogical approach that addresses two critical concerns of today's society: the provision of enduring, high-quality education and the cultivation of awareness regarding the urgent need to protect our planet in the face of the looming threat of climate change.
The most recent edition of the course, titled "Trekking Education: A Novel Approach to Teaching and Learning," occurred in Tenerife from 20/08/2023 to 26/08/2023. Participants hailed from diverse corners of Europe, including Alexandra Delmastro, Jade Kerjean, Caroline Ait Abdellouhab, Eva Letienne, Marie Piquet and Clara Viales from Lycée Saint-Exupéry in France; Veronika Polomská, Zuzana Trnková, Marek Zvirinský and Ingrid Palenčárová from Gymnázium Šrobárova 1 in France; Magdalena Mucowska from Wroclaw University of Economics in Poland Viktória Kútvölgyi Agnes Stumpf from BKSzC Gundel Károly Vendéglátó és Turisztikai Technikum in Hungary, Miriana Reale Calabrese from Associazione Glocal Factory Latina in Italy and Petra Seyfried from VBS HAK/HAS Mödling in Austria.
Unfortunatelly the huge wildfire that occured in Tenerife this time stopped from visiting all the bueatifull landscapes of Tenerife that we usually do, but it taught us an important lesson about trekking and outdoor education the importance of planning and the beauty of unknown whenever integrating outdoor education lesson.
Commencing with the definition of Trekking-Based Education, we delved into various methods of guiding our students to engage with trekking, which doesn't always entail journeys through nature and forests. In fact, we dedicated a portion of the training to Urban Trekking Education within the city. Participants learned to teach subjects such as science, mathematics, music, art, language, and more by immersing themselves in activities that heightened their awareness of their surroundings.
Another segment of the course focused on the practical utilization of tools in natural settings, such as local parks. All the games and activities that were tested garnered much appreciation and inspired our participants not only to share their experiences with the rest of the group but also to create their own trekking-based activities.
Participants also delved into the principles of Non-Formal Education (NFE), a pedagogical approach that aligns with many trekking-related activities. This approach places concrete experiences at the heart of the learning process, allowing students to connect newly acquired knowledge with their lives and apply it effectively by following the entire learning cycle and asking the right reflective questions.
The concluding part of the course was dedicated to designing a trekking experience tailored to the target group of each participant. After studying the principles of the trekking-based learning approach, exploring the 10 Kurt Hahn principles and their significance, and engaging in various urban and natural activities, on the final day of the course, each participant designed a trekking-based lesson relevant to their subject. Taking into account their students' age, skills, and the topics they wished to address, each teacher meticulously planned their session, presented it to fellow course participants, and received constructive feedback on potential improvements. This week exemplified the effectiveness of experiential trekking-based learning: participants gained a tangible sense of what a trekking education activity entails through a hands-on approach, while also acquiring the necessary knowledge to plan such experiences for their students.
On last day of the course fortunately some of the trekking routs were open on the nothern part of the island so we used the situation and finally had a day in nature in outstanding natural park and Punta de Teno.
Throughout this course, participants were exposed to a wide array of activities and games that they can replicate with their students, underscoring that learning extends beyond the confines of the traditional classroom.
For more information about this course, please visit the link provided here.
Even at preschool level, it can be difficult to find solutions to blend learning and fun. This is why it is important to focus on innovative teaching methods that could help in achieving this goal. Non formal education, project-based learning, outdoor education and creative thinking are key tools to engage little students and to make them learn more about themselves and their environment while playing.
The last edition of the course “Innovative teaching methods for preschool teachers ” took place in Palermo from 06/08/2023 to 12/08/2023. The participants came from two beautiful European countries, with Danka, Anna, Silviya and Nadya from Detska gradina Detelina in Bulgaria; and Mari K., Mari L. and Kristina from Kohila Kindergarten Sipsik in Estonia.
The course began with an introduction on early school system, with a focus on the Italian system. Later, participants were invited to share their opinions about “plays” in kindergarten, through a brainstorming activity. The second part of the day was devoted to the “curriculum” in preschool and to the presentations of the participating schools.
On the second day, the main topic addressed was Non-formal education and the differences with informal education and formal education. The trainer provided important information on the “learning by doing” approach and also on Kolb’s experiential cycle. The course continued with a reflection on the role of the teacher in this context and with set of non-formal activities and games aiming at creating connection, teamwork, empathy and creativity.
The following day, the focus was set on Project-based learning, an innovative teaching method that engage children and enables them to learn new contents but also to acquire new skills in the process that always starts with a driving question. A practical activity on how to build a good driving question was carried out by the participants under the guidance of the trainer.
During the second part of the training course, two main topics related with innovative teaching methods were addressed: outdoor education and creativity.
A whole day was devoted to outdoor education, starting from its benefits for students (and teachers and education staff). The course was held in a beautiful park in Palermo, not far from the city centre, where the participants could test by themselves innovative outdoor activities for preschool children and think about new ones for their students. Working, studying and playing surrounded by nature is healthy and it also leads to an increase in creativity.
Creativity was the last topic covered during the course and also one of the most challenging for many, but not for the participants. They faced every activity of the week with a positive approach and with lots of new ideas generated every day.
Throughout the course, they took on many challenges and they were always ready to come up with new projects for the future but also to share their knowledge on existing projects, and best practices of their schools and countries in preschool education, about innovative teaching methods and techniques.
It was a fantastic and productive week. We are sure that the participants of this training course will apply very soon what they learned during the week back in their countries and schools. Moreover, for sure they will start to work on the new ideas that they thought about during brainstorming, debriefings and sharing moments.
Discover more about this course here.
Today, schools and education programs are trying to have many different kinds of people with different cultural backgrounds. One of the biggest things teachers need to do is to help students get used to new cultures. Also they try to show students how to think in a smart and open way, where they appreciate and enjoy our differences instead of not liking them.
The new edition of the course “Intercultural Learning and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom'' took place in Bologna from 20/08/2023 to 26/08/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Klára from Debreceni SZC Bethlen Gábor Közgazdasági Technikum in Hungary, Marta and Manuela from Fundacao Cidade de Lisboa in Portugal, Klaudija and Andrejka from Osnovna sola in vrtec Apace in Slovenia, Tanja from Wittumschule in Germany and last but not least Marika from Tallinna Laagna Gümnaasium in Estonia.
The course began by recognizing how important it is to think about the meanings of words. Everyone taking part worked together to figure out what "intercultural learning" means to them. They also shared their images of what cultural diversity means to them and this was a first opportunity for the participants to share their diverse points of view.
We investigated the concept of identity as a first step to go deep into diversity. From a visual activity, our participants thought about their own identity and the relation that identity has with culture.
After that, everyone took part in a storytelling activity focused on stereotypes. Together, we learned about how stereotypes can create a harmful pattern. They were asked to think about how stereotypes can turn into unfair judgments and unfair treatment. This makes a harmful cycle that makes stereotypes even stronger.
Our final focus was on inclusion. To start, everyone took part in activities, which helped them understand and talk about the difficulties of communication between different cultures. We tried to discuss how these activities can make students think twice about things they usually assume, and help them see how different cultures can actually connect. More activities were focused on being part of a group and understanding others' feelings when exclusion takes place. This led us to the concept of membership & empathy. Team work helped us to help students realize that everyone in the class is important and has something good to bring, and also to understand and care about the differences and needs of their classmates.
We are so happy to have met them. We are hoping that we’ll see each other somewhere in the world again. Thank you for their valuable contribution!
Discover more about this course here.
In today's schools, there are students from many different backgrounds. Helping these students feel comfortable in a new culture, while also teaching them to be curious, open-minded, and respectful of differences, is a big challenge for teachers.
The new edition of the course “Intercultural learning and cultural diversity in the classroom” took place in Tenerife from 20/08/2023 to 26/08/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Solomiya from Heinrich Heine Gymnasium in Germany, Stafanie from Mittelschule Pestalozzischule in Germany, Sona from Základná škola in Slovakia, Anna and Barbara from Sterzing 3 in Italy, Diana from myJUMP.sk in Slovakia.
The course started by emphasizing the importance of understanding the true meanings behind words. Everyone collaborated to define "intercultural learning" based on their perspectives. They also shared their visions of cultural diversity, introducing their varied viewpoints from the get-go.
Our first deep dive was into the idea of identity. Through a visual task, participants reflected on their personal identities and how these identities relate to culture.
Next, we engaged in a storytelling session about stereotypes. This helped us understand the negative cycle created by stereotypes. Participants reflected on the dangers of allowing stereotypes to lead to biased opinions and actions, reinforcing those very stereotypes.
The course then shifted its attention to inclusion. Activities were designed to highlight the challenges of cross-cultural communication. We aimed to challenge our usual assumptions and showcase the bridges between different cultures. We also carried out exercises to experience the emotions related to feeling left out, leading us to discuss the importance of belonging and empathy. Collaborative tasks were a reminder that each student brings value and emphasized the significance of understanding and valuing the diversity and needs within the group.
The richness of the course was amplified thanks to the sharing of experiences and open discussions. Our diverse backgrounds meant that we were, in essence, an intercultural classroom. This unique dynamic enriched our learning and made our exploration of the topics much more profound and authentic. Every perspective added depth, and our collective journey highlighted the true essence of intercultural learning!
Discover more about this course here.
English as a second language is one of the most important tools we can learn for teaching, as it greatly increases our possibilities as tutors, as workers, and, of course, as individuals. That is why at Erasmus Learning Academy (ELA) we are delighted to be able to offer our English courses!
The course, held between July 31 and August 4, was taught by trainers Martina Granata and Isabel Martínez, and was attended by 14 participants from Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Austria, Iceland and Finland. The participants were divided by level between the A1/A2 class (taught by Martina) and the B1/B2 class (taught by Isabel)
During the classes various topics were covered such as the working environment, the future, culture, hobbies...
At the end of the training, all participants were given a certificate of attendance to corroborate their participation in the course.
Thanks to our team of volunteers, the participants enjoyed the city of Bologna with two sightseeing tours of the city center, as well as dinners and lunches in typical Bolognese restaurants.
We would like to thank our participants: Jeļena Viļuma, Marina Pavlāne, Daira Ertmane and Gaļina Rižakova from Secondary School Rezekne; João Nuno Mendes de Matos, Maria de Fátima da Silva Filipe and Carla Isabel Fernandes Pavanico from Agrupamento de Escolas Emídio Navarro; Amelia Wichowicz from CLIX Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Króla Jana III Sobiesiego; Sabine Buchwald from Pädagogische Hochschule Kärnten; Þorgerður Guðmundsdóttir, Erla Rán Kjartansdóttir and Sigfríð Einarsdóttir from Brekkuskóli; Arta Starastina from Vidzemes Tehnoloģiju un Dizaina Tehnikums; and Heidi Karppanen from Sastamala Community College.
Thank you very much!
Soft skills and Public Speaking are nowadays becoming more and more important in the context of education and daily life. Both within and outside of the classroom, it is crucial to possess abilities like emotional intelligence, empathy, teamwork, conflict management, public speaking, assertive communication and stress management. The participants in our course gained greater knowledge about how to improve their skills through a combination of theoretical and practical activities.
The new edition of the combined courses “Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence for teachers and education staff” and “Effective Communication and Public Speaking for teachers and education staff” took place in Palermo from 30/07/2023 to 05/08/2023.
The participants came from all across Europe, with Irina from Henri Coanda Theoretical High School in Romania, Quentin from Institut de la providence de Champion in Belgium, Agnieszka and Agnieszka from KUL Lublin in Poland, Sofia and Mafalda from Jobra in Portugal and participants coming from different Hungarian schools: Eva from Dunakeszi Radnóti Miklós Gimnázium IV. Béla Király Tagintézménye, Beata from Szegedi Madách Imre Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű Általános Iskola, Erika from BSZC Széchenyi Bilingual Secondary School of Economics, Feny from Szegedi Madách Imre Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű Általános Iskola, Monika from Avicenna International College Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű, Nora from Dunakeszi Szent István Általános Iskola, Patrik and Gergely from Budapesti Fazekas Mihály Gyakorló Általános Iskola és Gimnázium.
After an introduction about which skills are essential for teaching, the first topic discussed in the course was Emotional Intelligence, that is based on 5 pillars: self-awareness, self-control, self motivation, empathy and social skills. Through a series of exercises and games the participants were able to discover each of those five pillars and to understand how to enhance these skills inside the educational context.
Because they must inspire and motivate their students to accomplish a particular objective, effective teachers are also effective leaders in the classroom. Different styles of leadership exist, but not every one of them is suitable for every circumstance. Because of this, participants were invited to discuss and brainstorm about the key traits of the leaders they admire and to reflect on various leadership styles.
Effective communication is one of the most crucial teaching skill. Participants discovered the differences between on assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and passive communication, exploring through games and role plays the consequences of the use of these different styles.
Another important skills for teachers is public speaking: some of the teachers interested in the topic gained knowledge of presentation techniques, body language management, and nonverbal communication. The participants were encouraged to prepare a brief speech to deliver in front of the class in order to build confidence and put their newly acquired skills to work.
The course's final topic was managing conflicts. Working with others can be challenging at times, and we are not always sure how to resolve disputes. By discussing their personal experiences, they realized how typical these circumstances are and that conflict doesn't always result in a bad thing; it may also present opportunities for growth and development.
During the week a lot of sharing enriched the knowledge of all the participants, which had the opportunity to learn new games and strategies shared by other teachers.
To conclude this article, we would like to share a comment from one of our participants Irina:
“Thank you for extraordinary course! A very well structured course with many useful examples and a very competent trainer. I had an amazing experience!. Irina”
Discover more about these courses here: “Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence for teachers and education staff” and “Effective Communication and Public Speaking for teachers and education staff”
While we strive to prepare students for real-world demands and opportunities, as well as equip them with 21st century skills, we sometimes overlook the fact that, as educators, we carry the responsibility of imagining and establishing environments where everyone can unleash their creativity and discover their full potential.
The new edition of the course “Creativity for the future: promoting Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving in the classroom” took place in Tenerife from 13/08/2023 to 19/08/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Milena from Collège Sainte-Claire in France, Veronika from Sofie - mateřská a základní škola, o.p.s. in Czech Republic, László from Göllner Mária Regionális Waldorf Gimnázium és Alapfokú Művészeti Iskola in Hungary, Zsuzsanna from Budapesti Műszaki SZC Neumann János Informatikai Technikum in Hungary, Senka from Inholland in the Netherlands, Anca, Romeo and Elena from ASOCIATIA SMART EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS in Romania, Dana and Zuzana from Evanjelická spojená škola in Slovakia, Veronika, Svetlana and Tomas from PREBONUS Consulting, ltd. from Slovakia, Katarina from Evanjelicka Spojena skola in Slovakia, Kristīne from Tukuma 2.vidusskola in Latvia, Éva from Dunakeszi Radnóti Miklós Gimnázium IV. Béla Király Tagintézménye in Hungary.
The participants encountered a series of challenges designed to illuminate the ease with which obstacles to unconventional thinking can be surmounted by employing specific strategies. For instance, the implementation of the "6 Thinking Hats" method facilitated the application of lateral thinking, concretely linking it to existing subject matter. Individual experimentation and peer evaluations underscored the universal utility of this approach across subjects, spanning from sciences to language learning. Additionally, it emerged as a potent formative assessment tool, fostering students' propensity to think outside the conventional parameters.
Participants switched to using visual techniques, trying out new activities that sparked creativity and encouraged sharing ideas. This helped expand the concept of "visual thinking" beyond just art and brought in a fresh, digital, and inventive element.
Recognizing the importance of developing students' critical thinking abilities in an age of overwhelming information, there was a focused effort to engage students actively. The participants took part in discussions and exercises that could be adjusted for various classroom situations. The goal was to enable students to become proactive and thoughtful participants in their own learning experiences.
However, integrating creativity and critical thinking into the classroom isn't solely about finding new solutions; it frequently springs from reenvisioning conventional methods.
At the end of the course, groups of participants created a personalized collage of their training and cultural getaways in Puerto de la Cruz. The week ended with a symphony of laughter, creativity and new experiences.
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.