Erasmus+

 Courses 2016/17                                                               cofinanciado mini 

 

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1.   Inclusive Teaching and Special Educational Needs – Bath (UK) – 3rd-7th oct.

2. Conflict Management, Emotional Intelligence and Bullying Prevention – Florence (Italy) – 14th-19th nov.

Conflict Management, Emotional Intelligence and Bullying Prevention

 

Lorenzo Alberca has had the oportunity to travel to Florence to participate in this interesting course. He took part in the selection of teachers interested in participating in the course. After being selected everything was organised for the trip. He is going to be there for one week. During this time he will report the experience. Let's have a look at it:

 

1st Day:

Hello everybody! This morning fourteen people from all over Europe have started the course. We come from Portugal, Finland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Poland and Spain. Indeed all related with education but with different positions within the school: psychologists, special needs teachers, headmaster/mistress, assistant class teachers and different subjects teachers . We have also points of view from primary, middle and high or secondary schools.

Since the very first beginning, the teacher Susan Gagliano, has made clear it is going to be an active course, putting into practice several tools and resources with us as if we were their students. So, I am glad to see that it is not another theoretical course.

After the welcome and introduction with general information, we made a warm up round in which we talk about our schools, educational systems and so on.  At this point it seems that there are so many differences among countries, but nothing further from the truth, because when we went into detail, it was checked that we are much close than we think at first sight.

Firstly we tried to define what the problems are, how we struggle with them in our schools and why we had applied for the course.

The final conclusion was conflict is unavoidable and we have to start to see it as an opportunity  instead of an obstacle. Also we need to ensure a positive school environment if we want to make the difference.

Here there are some photographs of the day: arrival to the school, the school itself and the group in progress.

   

              

I promise to come back tomorrow with more information and more pictures of the city of Florence. Bye for now.

 

2st Day:

There can be very few people in Spain who have not heard about the excellence  of the Finnish educational system. It is clear that they make the difference in Europe but there are also others  point s of view in the air.

Today it´s been time for school presentations. Everyone has told us about their national plans education and how they implement day by day. Next I will try to summarize which I consider each one most remarkable points.

To star with, Finnish people have impressed us. They have adjustable learning environments so the class can be divided into two different spaces with two teachers inside  sometimes. One assistant teacher helps the head teacher to manage the class and conflicts in case they appear. One thing that has made me think about our management of the buildings is that not only it is a school, it is also a community centre in which there is also a library, they organize workshops or courses in the afternoons for everyone, and so on. What I am trying to say is that all they take advantage of the facilities throughout the whole day. To deal with conflicts they select  every year a “Peace keeper”, a person who is in charge of taking out of the class problematic students that break the lessons constantly. In case of bullying a supporting group around the victim is created for at least one week. And what is more, they teach in social and emotional skills and create workgroups with less than 15 people, even with students within it.

The Polish girl pointed out how they have a training program for tutors. In Poland not every teacher can access to this position unless he or she takes the course.  It seems to me a key part of the process. In addition every student have also a co-tutor, a teacher who is tracking their progression.

Lithuanian psychologist talked about how they organize the breaks between classes with different lengths. They star with 5 minutes, 10, 15 and finally a 30 minutes main break just to going down again. This progressive change of  the duration of the breaks give them good results, as well as the activities the students themselves do during breaks like dancing.

The school from Slovenia has shown us how open days for parents make them getting more involved in the educational process.

People from Canary Islands work in a marginal neighborhood in which pupils have a lack o emotional skills, so that they have put into practice things like the “cariñograma”, boxes to put only positive messages for the students.

The Portuguese group has just started to set up their goals but without no doubt they will achieve them.

And what about our school? The truth is that everyone got delighted with the presentation in the sense that we have a very active group of teachers. So I am very glad to see that we are in the right way. So, congratulations my mates because you make it possible everyday!

In the afternoon we made a tour with Paola, a teacher of Europass. As I promised you yesterday, here there are some pictures of the day, including the city of Florence and its heritage monuments.

      

        Different groups in action.

Having something to lunch (try to guess ... pizza and pasta?) with the Portuguese team !!!

      

                           

Catedral de San Lorenzo, Palacio de los Medici, el Duomo (Catedral de Santa Maria del Fiori), "Palazzo Vecchio", "Ponte Vecchio" and Galeria Uffizi.

Tomorrow I will continue giving you much more information. Bye, bye! 

 3rd Day:

“I´ve noticed that people will forget what you said, they forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel”.

Whit this quote of Maya Angelou we started today´s class just to remark how important  are the feelings involved around the educational process. As teachers we need to create connections with our students. Susan made clear that when we think about that special person of our childhood that quickly come to our minds, trust is behind this relationship.

Sometimes we tend to think that sympathy is enough, but we need to go beyond. Empathy arises as the key word that we should handle to achieve our goals as educators. We are talking about: see their world, appreciate them as human beings (no judgment), understand their feelings, and communicate with them (understanding). And this is not only for students, but also for parents.

We have made a review of all those symptoms that appear with every emotion: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, happiness, surprise, love … They can give us very valuable information about where are our students. Angry has also been described as the final expression of something that is hidden behind it (worry, fear, confusion, embarrassment, anxiety, envy, frustration, guilt, …). We need to read the subtitles of the message that our students send us, although we often miss this information.

Sometimes we teachers are who explode because some student´s behavior push our bottoms, I mean, trigger our strong emotions like anger, and this can be give us some clues about ourselves: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves (Carl Jung)”.

In conclusion we have to try to enhance both, academic and emotional intelligence.

In the evening there was an elective activity driven by David Barone, the Project Manager of the school Europass in which we talked about everything involved around an Erasmus + project application: types of projects (KA1,KA2 and KA3), budgets, how to find partners, and so on. Some interesting tricks were taken in order to get the grants.

And, of course, here are some of the pictures of the day!

See you tomorrow. Bye, bye!

                          

                                                                 

 

 4th Day:

Today was Bullying´s turn. First we focused on what does mean bullying? This question makes sense in this course even much more than in other contexts. We belong to several countries and what you consider bullying at your school could be almost a crime or perhaps just a caress in others.

What we quickly agreed was in the fact that we should also put our attention over the people just around the bully, that is to say, those people who “haven´t seen anything, haven´t heard anything, …” about the misdeed committed.

Some videos on youtube about bullying were watched just to create a resources bank which work with our students in the future.

After that we worked on what can we teachers do? Some things were pointed out: suspend judgement, use active listening, stop looking for who is guilty, empathize with your students, truly believe that conflict offers an opportunity for growth, … And not only the teachers, but also the students. The key part is preventing bullying so we need to work in order to improve relations among students. Regarding to that, four strategies were mentioned: 1) rituals, 2) students meetings that allows conflict to be expressed, 3) hearing both sides of the story and help but not resolve, 4) peer mediation.

In case that bullying is already out there we need to manage it. For this purpose KIVA and OLWEUS methods arise as quite good protocols to be followed.

Finally, a brainstorm were used to get some ideas of how to introduce bullying prevention throughout the curriculum of different subjects.

To end the class we put into practice an activity that we could use with our students as well.

In the afternoon we tour some interesting parts of the city of Florence with Enzo, the Italian teacher of the school, but I am sorry to say that there were no pictures because of the rain.

See you tomorrow again!

 

5th Day:

Hello again! Today we were talking about the stereotypes. Of course it is something that we need t manage the reality but also we have to be aware of them, and therefore, take care, because not always we use them in a positive.

Some group dynamics were put in practice which for sure I will use in my tutoring class with my students. Some of them, like “Labels game” perhaps are well known among psychologists and tutors, but our new teacher, Ilaria, introduced some interesting variations.

After that, was time for Mindfulness. It was quite new for the most of the members of the group except for the School Councelors (Psychologists) of the group to the point that they participated as well, and three different activities of mindfulness were made. Very, very interesting point of view. Without no doubt that we should incorporate this kind of techniques to our classes.

Before say good bye definitively, I would like to share with you some conclusions about the course.

First of all, I would like to consider the fact that we have spent a week thinking about our routines and behaviors as teachers, and it is a great step, because we are not much used to do it.

The main challenge of the course was trying to change our minds about conflicts, because we can´t make them disappear. They will be always out there. So, we only aspire to manage them the best we can.

In order to deal with them, we have seen several tools and resources that we can use. Some of them were already known and others were totally new, but  Susan made the difference. It wasn´t another theoretical and boring course. It was very well conducted, getting everybody into the scene constantly so that functional learning was achieved.

It is been a great, great experience! I strongly recommend it! Thanks you all my course mates and teachers in Europass, and of course, thanks my school for giving me the opportunity to come to this city. I have learnt a lot!

See you Florence … by now !!!

Inclusive Teaching and Special Educational Needs

Ana Pérez has had the oportunity to travel to Bath to participate in this interesting course. She took part in the selection of teachers interested in participating in the course. After being selected everything was organised for her trip. She is going to be in Bath from the 3rd to 7th October. She's telling us everything about the experience she's having there. Let's have a look at it:

1st Day:

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           (pictures while having lunch with the course colleagues from different countries in Europe)

2nd Day:

Today we've visited one of the schools BCA.
At the entrance we were explained about the rules.
- No photos taken with students.
- None of us could walk alone. We should wait to be taken to any other classroom. 
- No writing while observing lessons.
- We could talk to students or ask and help them if they needed anything. 

At the entrance there were 2 or 3 teachers taking registration.
We were given a sticker to show while the visit.  And signed as visitors.
There were some changes of timetable given.
We attended an English reading session at the library.  Just seven ss reading at their own. We could ask them about the book they were reading. They choose the  book they want according to their level. And write about it but not every day .
The second session was English also in the library. Ss working on a play they are reading and assessing other's project. Excellent task well managed, good participation and respect for turns.
Coffee break followed by a session with the head teacher. He explains the difficulties they are facing  (possible close down if number of students decreases ). Two more sessions and lunch time all of us at the canteen.  Spanish lesson and finish with the Assembly.  Very interesting day. Tomorrow we meet Andrew and we'll give feedback of visit.
So it's been a hard and tiring day. I need to rest for a while. 
More information will be given tomorrow. 
Bye for now. 
Ana

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                                                                                 (pictures from the school Ana visited today and some sightseeing around Bath)

3rd Day:

Today first part of course was the feedback on yesterday visit. We had to reflect on four points.

- My first impression. It was a good welcoming not only for us but for the students as well. A couple of teachers meet and greet students at the entrance.

- I specially noticed. There's no much dependence on book course. Students have to write everything on their notebooks or do activities on the computer. And the number of students per class  ( between 7 to 14).

- I was surprised.  By the rewarding system.  And the facilities that the school has more computers than students. And what most surprised me was that I didn't see any student using their own mobile phone.

- I learnt that.  The aim to learn is clear and that students know their routine and therefore what they're supposed to do.

And then we went again to visit the same school for  a couple of lessons. Students were working with computers different types of activities. 
And that is all for now.
My best regards. 
Ana

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                                                    (a typical English breakfast and a picture of the beautiful city of Bath)

 

4th Day:

Dear Coleagues, 
Today has been a long and hard day. I've just come back from the visit to St Gregory's Catholic College.  It's been a very interesting visit. 
Warm welcoming with coffee or tea and biscuits. 
Quick tour of the school with two volunteer students. Good facilities big school with several buildings.
Lessons observed in the area of languages: Spanish, German, French and English.  About 30 pupils per room a lot of order and discipline. The activities are well planned with the aim written at the beginning of lesson so they know what they are going to learn. With a challenge activity for those who finish early. Rewarding system for correct answers. Students get some tick for doing well and a merit if you get three ticks.
Something surprising is that students stand when an adult comes in.
Classrooms quite clean and in order. 
Some structural activities reviewing what they've seen before. 
To finish some sort of assessment about their feelings of lesson. ☺⯑⯑
After lunch we've bee to art and drama lessons.
Quite an interesting visit things very well done that's why the have an outstanding mark from the British Council assessment. 
That is enough for today I'm really tired and I'll tell you more news next week. 
Bye for now 
ANA

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                       (Typical English Phone Box decorated with Halloween ornaments, and a typical classroom in a Saint George's school)

  

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