As teachers and education staff, we always aim for our students to be successful, to have the right knowledge, skills and attitudes to find their place in the society we live in. Our modern society is extremely diversified as well as multicultural, as such, promoting diversity and tolerance in the classroom has become a crucial goal for teachers, schools and adult education organizations. Building emphatic and open-minded characters can make a real impact for learners and for the whole society.
The new edition of the course “Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudices and discrimination” took place in Bologna from 27/11/2022 to 03/12/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with João, Maribela and Hugo from Colégio dos Plátanos in Portugal, Felix from Etablissement secondaire de Nyon-Marens in Switzerland, Marija from Osnovna škola Rovišće in Croatia, Steluta, Madalina and Simona from Scoala Gimnaziala Viziru in Romania, Jelena, Sladjana and Aleksandar from Music school "Stevan Hristić" in Serbia, Juan from IES Xesús Taboada Chivite in Spain, Nada from HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht/Stichting Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands.
The first key step of the course was to explore the concept of identity. In this part, the teachers carried out a hands-on and visual activity on how participants see their personalities from the outside and on how they express their own identities. The participants reflected on the difference between their exterior appearance and their own deep personal characteristics and values. Next, we talked about how our identities can affect our perception of the world and of others.
One of the subjects that we need to cover in an international course is undoubtedly identity images. We talked about the rituals, relationships and restrictions of each individual in our course, which included participants from many different countries. We discussed the impact of the country they live in, their personalities, and their environment on these 3 elements. In this discussion, we focused on making connections between identity images and diversity.
It is a known fact that we cannot immerse ourselves in the concept of diversity without mentioning the concept of stereotypes. We discussed how we create stereotypes, the effect the environment on it, and how these stereotypes affect our lives in a good or bad way. We held an agree-disagree activity to see how stereotypes shape our lives and how attached we are to these stereotypes.
Moreover, we touched a really sensitive topic: discrimination and privilege. In this section, we reflected and discussed about how privileged we are and how it can impact our lives positively or negatively. We also played an activity in which the participants experimented with working in a team that had different characteristics. What we wanted the participants to focus on in this activity was that despite all the differences, everyone could come together and overcome a problem, or a task. Thus, we saw how it’s possible to use our privileges to create unity and effective teamwork.
The last but not least important point of the week was empathy and conflict management. Being able to empathize gives us a lot: it strengthens our communication and interpersonal relations and improves our helping and sharing skills. In addition, our social development, respect for differences, and increasing tolerance are possible with empathy.
After all, it was a bright week full of new knowledge, diversity, empathy, new experiences and new people, practice, deep conversations and thoughts, ideas and emotions.
Discover more about this course here
Today, it's fundamental to examine various non-traditional teaching approaches and practises to learn how they might improve educational efficacy. Non-formal education is defined as "any organised educational activity outside the established formal system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning clienteles and learning objectives” (Philip Coombs, 1973).
The new edition of the course “Non-Formal Education Teaching Methods and Strategies” took place in Palermo from 13/11/2022 to 19/11/2022. The participants came from different European countries, with Oana and Cristian from the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation, in Romania; Mirell and Kadi from Sõmeru Basic School, Estonia; Tanja from Myllykosken yhtenäiskoulu, in Finland; and Andromachi, Niki and Eirini from GEL Tympakioy, Greece
At first, we looked at what Non-formal education is and how it is different from formal and informal education, focusing on its characteristics. Of course, the participants tested firsthand a lot of practical non-formal activities.
We did a lot of interesting speaking games, which are another kind of non-formal educational activities useful for enhancing cooperative learning and developping a dialectic approach. Then, we discovered together how role-playing games can be used to understand implications of a particular behaviour in a specific context and how it helps to analyse the contribution that each person can give in a particular role position.
Moreover, we explored and used visual strategies. Using art and creative thinking in making collages or drawing something related to a specific topic, the participants tried to stimulate their expression with the use of metaphors. Thanks to different visual activities, we realised how visual arts can be an easy way to discuss some topics and convey difficult concepts.
We also learned the importance of team building and team working in education: collaborating with other team members can be very productive and it gives each member the opportunity to enrich the whole group with their contribution.
After having analysed together the different tools and the various strategies of non-formal education, each participant had the opportunity to create a new non-formal tool to use in his or her own environment. Moreover, all the group members had the chance to give feedback and suggestions to their colleagues’ activities. Thanks to the creativity and the effort of each participant, at the end of the course we collected new practical and creative tools ideated by the educators.
In conclusion, during these days the participants had the opportunity to explore the world of non-formal education in a safe and stimulating environment, enhancing skills like teamwork, communication, and critical thinking.
Discover more about this course in: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/non-formal-education-teaching-methods.htm
The participants came from all across Europe with Karīna Dūne from Valmiera Pargauja State gymnasium in Latvia, Rebeca González González from IES Taboada Chivite from Spain, Ana Isabel Urbieta Balado and María José García Merin from IES Praia Barraña also from Spain.
Reframing was one of our main goals: traditional tools and games were redesigned and participants had an opportunity to adapt them to their own subjects while building a stronger learning perspective on them.
We also focused on digital and ICT tools, fundamental skills for educators of the 21st century, as much as visual strategies to discuss ideas and build activities in the most creative and stimulating educational environment.
Before our last goodbye, we also discovered the importance of reasoning, questioning and debating. These three main columns help students to avoid the huge amount of disinformation to which they are exposed every day and also to avoid passivity in their learning process.
Each different personality of our group has been a wealth for all of us: they improved our energies during the course and enriched our laughter during our activities together!
Schools and educational programmes today welcome students with a wide range of socio-cultural backgrounds. One of the major challenges for educators is to support the learners as they adapt to a different cultural setting while also serving as a role model for critical thinking and an open mindness, valuing and celebrating diversity rather than rejecting it.
The new session of the course “Intercultural learning and cultural diversity in the classroom” took place in Palermo from 20/11/2022 to 26/11/2022. The participants came from different countries of Europe, with Jelena, Sanja and Emina from Desanka Maksimovic Primary School, Zajecar, Serbia; Stella from Stavanger Offshore Technical College, Norway; Triona, Sile, Mary and Patricia from Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Ireland; Susana and Carmen from IES El Parador, Spain; Zrinka and Anita from Osnovna škola Šime Budinića Zadar, Croatia; Vasiliki and Eleni from 2nd GEL KORYDALLOU, Greece; and Anna and Natālija from Liepaja Liedaga secondary school, Latvia.
The course started with a brainstorming on what culture is and what intercultural learning means for all the participants. As a first step to look at diversity, we explored the concept of identity. Ss a result of different activities, our participants considered their own identities and values and how those identities relate to culture and experience.
Then, we focused on prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination. Altogether we discovered the meaning of the vicious cycle of stereotypes. The participants were invited to reflect about how stereotypes can convert into prejudices and discrimination, generating a vicious cycle that strengthens stereotypes and lead them to action. Thanks to an inspirational TED Talk we saw, we learned that if we “Show people as one thing — as only one thing — over and over again, that is what they become."
Inclusion was the last topic we worked on. First, participants took part in simulation exercises to recognise and analyse the difficulties and potentialities of intercultural communication. These exercises might assist students in challenging common assumptions and considering potential connections between cultures. Then, other activities were implemented to focus on the role of empathy and active listening in creating an inclusive classroom. Through other group activities, the participants had the chance to experience the importance of membership and the feeling to be part of a group.
As part of the training course, our participants had the chance to visit a local institution active in the field of multiculturalism, which offers value to the city starting from (and thanks to) cultural diversity. They were thus given the chance to see Palermo through different eyes, increasing their eagerness and interest to use what they have learned during the week while exploring the city and interacting with the locals.
Discover more about this course in: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/diversity-and-intercultural-learning-in-the-classroom.htm
Since prehistory, being in contact with nature has had a significant positive effect on how humans develop cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally. Even today, taking a walk in the outdoors or enjoying a natural or urban landscape can inspire, frighten, or even affect you. Providing long-lasting, high-quality education and promoting awareness of the significance of protecting our planet in the face of the terrifying threat of climate change can be addressed through the unique teaching strategy known as outdoor education.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 21/11/2022 to 26/11/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with iří Ducháček and Martin Koláček from ZŠ a MŠ Štefcova in Czech Republic, Irena Ose and Daila Notte from Liepaja Liedaga secondary school in Latvia, Virpi Jussila from Environmental School of Finland (SYKLI) in Finland, Sandra Ķirule, Indra Podziņa, Ieva Bulava, and Karīna Putniņa from Siguldas novada pašvaldīb in Latvia, Anita Bočak and Ivana Vučić from Osnovna škola Ivana Mažuranića Vinkovci in Croatia, Inara Jasvina and Diāna Zahareviča from Daugavpils Valstspilsetas vidusskola from Latvia.
Starting from the definition of Outdoor Education, we explored the diverse ways in which we can guide our students to come in contact with the outdoor, which doesn’t imply to always be in nature and forests. Indeed, we dedicated one part of the training to Urban Outdoor Education in the city. The participants learned to teach subjects like science, maths, music, art, language and more by testing activities which guided their attention to the surroundings.
The use of numerous tools in a natural setting in nearby parks was the subject of another section of the course. All of the tested games and activities were well received and inspired our participants to design their own Outdoor activity in addition to sharing their own with the rest of the group.
Participants also explored the concepts of Non Formal Education (NFE), a pedagogical approach in which many of the outdoor activities fall in. This method centres the learning process around the actual experiences that students have while carrying out a task or an activity. They are able to relate the new knowledge they have learned to their life and apply it by following the complete cycle and making sure we ask our children the appropriate reflecting questions.
Indeed, the last part of the course was dedicated to designing an outdoor experience ad hoc for each participant’s target group. Each participant created an outdoor lesson based on the subjects explored during the week: each teacher meticulously organised the lesson and presented it to the other course participants.
his past week served as a prime illustration of the effectiveness of experience outdoor learning. Thanks to our practical methods, participants got a firsthand look at what an outdoor education activity is like and learned the skills they need to participate in one.
During this course participants were able to explore a vast series of activities and games that they will be able to replicate with their students, showing that learning doesn’t happen only inside a classroom!
Discover more about this course here
The main goal of this course was to make the participants reflect on what it means to have a supportive classroom and how to create a positive climate for the students. It was possible for them to imagine what would the perfect classroom look like and how to create it. In this course they learnt the main skills revolving around an effective classroom management through the tools they were given to create a supportive environment for their students. Nowadays, the classroom heterogeneity reflects a wide range of special needs that have to be taken into consideration in the attempt of forming a supportive and inclusive climate.
These were the main topics discussed in the new edition of the course “Effective Classroom Management Strategies for teachers and education staff” that took place in Bologna from 20/11/2022 to 26/11/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Anne, Ole, Hilde, Hilde Irene and Arne from Verdalvideregåendeskole in Norway, Magnus from Borgarholtsskóli in Iceland, Joanna, Yareri and Agnieszka from ZespółSzkolno-Przedszkolny nr 1 in Poland, Liina, Helle-Viivi and Ivo from Sinimae Elementary School in Estonia.
During the course three major factors of Classroom Management emerged as critically important in shaping a supportive climate for students. First, engagement: the class should have a strong network of relationships, promoting respect for diversity and school participation. The second factor discussed was safety because the class should be a safe place, both emotionally and physically. Lastly, the environment is essential: the class should be a happy place, transmitting peace and calm, promoting dialogue and understanding.
First, they learnt about Social Emotional Learning, the capacity of individuals to recognize their own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. This specific skill is essential in creating a more tolerant and supportive atmosphere.
Then, group dynamics were explored. Taking care of the group dynamics present in the classroom is a crucial element in ensuring a tension-free atmosphere that encourages students’ participation. To be more inclusive, the group later performed an activity to approach various aspects of diversity that was called “learning stations”: in each station, one of the diversity topics was discussed in a different way.
The participants later focused on communication, especially investigating the difference between fixed and growth mindset. After being put to test and challenged on the assumptions they had about their own mindsets, the group analyzed the characteristics of what is called “growth mindset” and put their knowledge to practice by doing some group exercises.
Later, the topic of “Flipped Classroom” was presented. In a combination of theory and practice, the participants tested some ICT tools that could be beneficial and helpful in managing a Flipped Classroom, to make the management of their classes extremely efficient and effective.
Finally, conflict management was discussed. After exploring their own perceptions and preconceptions, the participants gained insights on how conflicts can also be extremely beneficial if managed in the right way.
The participants proved to be ready to challenge themselves and be again on the “other side” of the classroom from one week. The heterogeneity of the group itself was a precious key factor for achieving the set objectives.
More info on this course here
The participants came from all across Europe, with Natalia Montoro Rodríguez from Gil de Zático Secondary School in Spain, Edyta Harasimczuk, Jolanta Tarnowska and Iwona Kochanowska from Szkoła Podstawowa nr 9 im. 42 Pułku Piechoty w Białymstoku in Poland, Renata Vaikšnorienė, Renata Ononigve and Gerda Šlenfuktaitė from Alytaus Panemunės progimnazija in Lithuania, Anabela Lopes Rodrigues, Dioclecia maria da Silva Melo and Graça Maria da Silva Cruz from Escola Secundária Augusto Gomes in Portugal, Indrė Bagušinskaitė, Kristina Burškytė and Yuliana Andriivna from KD International School of Vilnius in Lithuania and Minna Kattelus from Espoon työväenopisto Omnia in Finland.
First of all, the participants explored the various range of definitions and formal aspects linked to learning and innovation skills, focusing their attention on the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. All of our activities and tasks have been hands-on practice, to deeply understand the importance of problem-solving skills adapted in different situations.
Every participant discovered through the “6 Thinking Hats Method” how lateral-thinking makes both educators and students realize how to become active and aware figures in their own learning process. In fact, in our days together, it became increasingly clear how originality in classroom has to be encouraged and rewarded, because it is also an important tool to discover self-awareness
The large number of participants in this group was an additional resource for our sharing moments, in which every participant both alone or with their colleagues showed us a presentation about the main features and teaching strategies in their schools.
Our main goal was reframing: old and traditional tools must be rethought, readapted and exploited to the fullest of their creativity in order to fuel student’s enthusiasm in their daily tasks. Creative brainstorming, roleplay and games about perceptions were our weapons against the grey shades of the strictest tradition. We also had the chance to share opinions and knowledge about ICT tools, enjoying the amusing aspects of the digitalization of the teaching methods.
This joyful and pushing week represented for the whole group a colourful path into the facets of the learning process, enriched by the different cultural contexts and the individual experiences that each participant wanted to share with us all.
The world of childhood and preschool education is in constant development and for preschool teachers is crucial to keep up with the new trends and stay on top of what's current. This training course for preschool teachers will be a springboard for exploring the main principles, features and benefits of the best preschool approaches.
The new edition of the course “The best for preschool teachers” took place in Bologna from 30/10/2022 to 05/11/2022. The participants were a group from OSMOPE - Organização Social Movimento Pontes Educativas in Porto. The close group of collegues was formed by Silvia Maria Berény Teixeira Lopes, Sandra Oliveira Vaz Carvalho, Maria Alzira Mendes Silva, Maria Albertina Moreira Machado Silva Pereira, Joana Catarina da Silva Tavares, Ana Sofia Cruz Vilaça, Raquel Martins Sousa Vales, Cristina Isabel Ferreira Alves, and Rita Brandão de Vasconcelos Aguiar Pinto.
Even though the teachers have known each other for years, they were ready to re-break the ice, taking part to some practical activities to share expectations and contributions and discuss about the best practices linked to preschool pedagogy. They also had the chance to present their school introducing a former Erasmus+ project they took part in, aimed at sharing the importance of children participatory projects through art all over Europe. An introduction on the Italian pre-school system was reinforced by a discussion on the importance of playing for children.
Then it was time for speaking about non formal education and putting it into practice through activities and games between the school desks - in which the teachers found themselves as students for the first time in a while – and outdoor, thanks to the sunny weather we had all the week long.
Sun kept on shining on the “Asilo nel bosco” we visited: off to Pianoro to meet the educator Maddalena. No bricks or chairs in this remote corner of outdoor pre-school, but tents and trees. We visited the spaces and witnessed the wonder of learning in their eyes. Thanks to the passionate teachers who accompanied us, this experience was an eye opener on the deep need of nowadays society to bring our kids back to the authentic and real world, and the benefits this might entail for learning to respect the environment. After this little trip, bodies and minds were regenerated and ready to come back to class for the theoretical introduction of the Montessori method, a philosophy and pedagogy developed by Maria Montessori in the early 19th century. A virtual tour of Montessori authentic environment and materials was the starting point for discovering the method in a practical and experiential way.
It was then time for another visit: the teachers and the course trainer headed to Reggio Emilia to visit the Loris Malaguzzi Centre where the expert guide Sara lead us throughout the wonderful exhibitions of the Centre. Teachers had a chance to learn more about the history, the materials, the projects, and the experiences, which make the Reggio Emilia approach unique in the world.
The intense week came to an end and it was time for the teachers to come back home with a shared luggage full of memories and reflections, one of which seems the perfect sum-up for the whole experience “bridges are devices that unite, connect and allow access from one place to another. They allow us to know, to go to the future, to walk from one person to another, which is the same as saying from one universe to another. This is the raw material of education”. Silvia Maria Berény Teixeira Lopes
Discover more about this course here
In previous years, especially because of the Covid 19 pandemic, traditional education had to leave space to virtual education and online learning.
We had to become to apply a new way to teach and learn remotely. Using new technologies, digital tools and interactive learning platforms turned to be a helpful strategy. These technologies allow teachers all over the world to maintain an engaging and dynamic environment in virtual classes. Moreover, it was observed that inside a real classroom and during the traditional way of teaching the online tools proved their utility as well, especially when it came to students’ attention and enthusiasm.
The next edition of the course “Making the most of new technologies, apps and social media in the classroom” focused exactly on these issues. The session of the course took place in Bologna from 30/10/2022 to 05/11/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Lina Uzdilienė, Inga Ulevičienė, Sandra Brazauskienė from Karalius Mindaugas Vocational training centre in Lithuania, with Anna Dubowska from Heuresis in Poland, Michelle Bastien, Wendy Malgouyres and Naziha Besbas from Ensemble Sacré Coeur in France, Elisabeta-Monica Ban and Elena-Alina Bucur from Școala Gimnazială Nr. 12, Timișoara in Romania, Vanessa Beckert and Diane Kruse from StS Kirchwerder in Germany, and with Murat Kağız, Aytek Öge from Gebkim MTAL in Turkey.
Thanks to the course the participants had an opportunity to learn how to use a vast range of technological tools and they could put them into practice by integrating them into their teaching methods. The main aim of the course was to apply these new technologies into both real and virtual classrooms in order to teach students in more similar way to their daily life surrounded by social media and new technologies.
During the course participants had a look at the simplest tools to edit pictures and videos. Such tools can be used for different reasons in the teaching process: preparing multimedia content, introducing a new subject or summing up an old one, challenging the students’ to create their own work in order to engage their creativity. They seems to be very effective especially combined with the other method of traditional ways of education.
Furthermore, another very effective tool explored during the course was how to build a website. The ability of building it can serve multiple options of use in distance learning. Setting up different pages and enriching them with contents allows our participants to lead their lessons in the classrooms in more effective and interesting way. They had the opportunity to personalize their websites, write a blog to report the development stages of a project as well as create portfolios.
What is more, the course went on analyzing the other tools for collecting and sharing resources and content. The participants could learn about platforms that help them to collect and enrich videos, images, texts, pdf, and other materials. They could see how to share all this content with their students in just a simple click. Participants can use that kind of new technologies to the scientific subjects or foreign languages by providing a deeper context in describing different parts of a pictures. The other tools as collaborative walls were also practiced, allowing every user to post and contribute in building a more exhaustive collection of information.
Participants had also a chance to discover an interactive presentations in which they could request the class’ opinion by submitting polls, creating word clouds, or asking for questions or feedback on the topic being presented. The other very useful tool was creating video lessons, particularly effective nowadays, and online learning quizzes, very effective as well as funny tool for students to test their progress in the educational process.
The course provided the participants a new knowledge of interactive learning and new technologies and a set of new, interactive tools, as well as allowed them to practice them and then to be ready to use them in their real and online lessons. This approach would increase not only the students’ enthusiasm but also their creativity, engagement, attention and motivation. We are sure that taking a part in the course helped the participants to transform learning into a funny, happy, dynamic and professional activity!
Discover more about this course at here
All the participants enthusiastically shared experiences about their working and cultural environment. They learnt how to teach easily and more effectively by using a vast range of technological tools to be integrated into their methods.
First of all, they had a look at the most simple and easy tools to edit pictures and videos that are very effective when it comes to teaching. Such tools can be used in fact for a variety of purposes,enriching the standard classes with outstanding multimedia content and video lessons. The group was immediately ready to put the tools into practice and exchanging views.
Another topic explored was how to build a website: they practically used the basic principles and elements in web designto implement the pages of their institutions and to create new ones as well. They found out that the most common online website builders are very flexible and adaptable to different contexts.
The course went on discussing other tools for collecting and sharing resources and content. They learnt about platforms that allowed them to collect and enrich videos, images, texts, pdf, and other materials, and sharing all this content with their students in just a simple click. Participants also practiced tools that function as collaborative walls, where every user is encouraged to post and contribute to building a more exhaustive collection of information: this has proved to be very useful for themselves in the first place during this one-week class.
Amongst the many tools they discovered they also learnt about interactive presentations in which the teacher can request the class opinion by submitting polls, creating word clouds, or asking for questions or feedback on the topic being presented, creating video lessons, particularly effective in these times, and online learning quizzes, very useful to test the progress of the students.
The participants left this course with a luggage full of interactive and technological tools to use both in online and face-to-face learning. There is no doubt that this approach will increase the students’ creativity, engagement, attention and motivation and help transform learning into a fun and dynamic activity!
Discover more about this course here
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.