During the training week held in Bologna from 19 September to 25 September we had the opportunity to explore different kinds of non-formal teaching methods and strategies, and to discover their potentialities in enhance education effectiveness.
What is non formal education?
Non formal education is “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).
In particular, we discovered:
At first, we started exploring visual strategies. Using art and creative thinking in making collages or drawing some topics, the participants tried to stimulate their expression with the use of metaphor. Thanks to different visual activities, we discovered together how art can be an easy way to discuss some topics and to express 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 give their contribute inside the group.
Debate and speaking games are another kind of non-formal educational activity: these types of games are useful for enhance cooperative learning and to develop a dialectic approach. Competing in the Oxford Debate, participants fostered creativity in finding non-conventional and persuasive arguments and experienced how to behave in order to collaborate with the others.
After having analysed together the different tools and the various strategies of non-formal education, each participant had the opportunity to autonomously develop a new tool, to use in their own school context. 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 teachers.
In conclusion, during these days the participants had the opportunity to experiment innovative methods in a safe and stimulating environment, enhancing skills like teamwork, empathy, and critical thinking, and had the occasion to create new and unique non formal tools!