September 18th-Puerto De La Cruz, Tenerife: a new group of teachers is ready to begin a new fantastic adventure. This week week we had the pleasure of hosting participants from three different schools: Liceul Teoretic Stefan cel Mare, Ramnicu Sarat from Romania, Istituto Professionale di Stato per i Servizi Enogastronomici e dell’Ospitalità Alberghiera G. Falcone from Italy and Zespol Szkol Salejzanskich w Lodzi from Poland.
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 first topic we introduced was non formal education, with the aim to guide participants through the possibilities offered by the emerging trend of integrating non-formal working methods in formal education pathways. A small hint of theory and then everyone was ready to test some games which can be easily introduced in the classrooms. Each activity was followed by a small debriefing or reflection, in order for the group to understand why each game was implemented. Many of the activities were tried outside, to allow the group to enjoy the sun ad the sea breeze. In fact, when there is the possibility, it is always best to be outdoors!
The next topic was project based learning. The class explored three key challenges related to the implementation of PBL: how to establish effective collaboration among students, how to facilitate student-driven activities, and finally how to assess PBL in the classroom. They delved into the topics of driving questions, 21 century skills and many other. In order to better understand the topics, the teachers had the possibility of testing some practical activities in small groups.
The third topic that we explored was outdoor education and was greatly appreciated by most of the participants, which were deeply glad to had the change of enjoying the sun. In fact, it is important to remember that not only does Outdoor Education help students become in tune with their surroundings and gain an appreciation for the natural world, it also plays an important part in bringing what they learn in the classroom into real life through application and observation and highly contribute to their personal and social development. Outdoors, the group had an opportunity to brainstorm on the benefits of outdoor education and exchanged ideas and best practices. We also discussed on the way different countries deals with outdoor activities and which are the main obstacles of its implementation for the teachers. Again, we tested some activities aimed at proposing new ways of teaching.
The final topic of the weeks was the implementation of ICT tools into the classroom. The group gained an outlook on best practices and concrete ways to use ICT to empower and support education. In particular we explored 3 different application which can be useful to support the lesson and can also be used by students to prepare presentations and to assist them in their study.
The last day came and I thought: which is the best way to recap all the topics of the week? Well, testing an outdoor, non formal activity which is done through a technological tool, of course! And there they went, exploring the city by means of a fun urban treasure hunt.
It was difficult to say goodbye to this group, it was an amazing experience both for me and for the teachers...as one of the participants wrote: “Are you ready to learn in a fun way about innovative teaching methods? So ELA is the way!”