Projects

Erasmus+ Project – Intercultural Learning and Cultural Diversity

Firstly, I just have to say that my Erasmus+ Bologna experience was amazing, and I would thoroughly recommend that if you are ever given the opportunity to attend such a course to grab it with both hands.

From day one my colleagues and the staff were helpful, inciteful and understanding which only made the experience that much better. I also got the opportunity to explore Bologna and Florence which are both amazing cities with their own unique cultures and history.

Intercultural Learning and Cultural Diversity

As the title above suggests I attended a course on “Intercultural Learning and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom” and learnt a great number of skills and concepts that I hope I can one day implement in the school, the classroom and in my life in general. Some of these are:

  • The differences between “multicultural, “cross-cultural” and “intercultural”
  • The role of teachers and education in supporting students’ identities
  • How to break the vicious cycle of stereotypes
  • The link between culture and education and how we need to consider how culture influences the way we approach teaching as well as the way students interpret this approach
  • The importance of inclusion, membership, empathy in the classroom and outside it

Impressions of the Erasmus+ project

This course allowed me to grow as both a teacher and a person and has taught me the importance of acceptance, tolerance and understanding despite the differences that sometimes seem to divide us.

At the end of the day, we have more in common as human beings than might appear at first. It is just a matter of finding the similarities that connect us and seeing things from someone else’s point of view to gain a better understanding of them. A skill which anyone can learn with a bit of time and patience.

So, I’m looking forward to sharing the new knowledge I acquired on my Bologna adventure in a workshop I will be presenting to the staff and teachers at the school very soon.

I’m certain these new ideas and concepts can only benefit the school as a whole and create a better work and classroom environment for everyone.

Branimir Skračić


Project partners:

ELA: Erasmus Training Courses

The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes

The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus+ Enriching lives, opening minds.

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Projects

Creative and Critical Thinking in Learners

At the end of this past July, I had the opportunity to attend a teacher training course, “Creativity for the future: promoting Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving,” in Bologna.

In brief, it was not the setting, though Bologna is indisputably breathtaking, it was the people I interacted with that made the experience so spectacular.

The course I attended was offered by ELA and our trainer was the ever-insightful Sara. I had the privilege to attend this course with participants from Romania, Estonia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria.

Facilitating Creative and Critical Thinking in Learners

Our main objective for the week was “preparing to foster 21st century skills in our students.” We covered topics such as 21st century skills, creativity tools and techniques, critical thinking - role to foster, problem-solving activities, and ICT tools to stimulate creativity and critical thinking.

Through these topics, we understood our roles as educators in facilitating a variety of thought processes in our learners, even if our learners vary in age. It was interesting to brainstorm and see how we could adapt our activities to reach all ages and types of learners.

Teaching Activities

During the entire training course, we were given many opportunities to learn by doing. Basically, we were given a little theory at the beginning of a topic and then were given activities to complete. The emphasis was on actually trying out concepts for ourselves, either individually or in groups.

 The approach taught me the importance of condensing the most necessary points of a subject and then allow learners to fully grasp the freshly taught material through a given activity. 

The activities we were given to carry out included a variety of media. Some activities were done through online tools such as Kialo, Thinglink and mentimeter, but many were not.

I appreciated the fact that not all activities in our modern classrooms have to be done virtually and that it is quite effective to occasionally go back to basics and use some variation of pen and paper. We must, however, ensure that we present activities to our learners that will incite some form of creativity and critical thinking.

Importance of Creative and Critical Thinking

In addition to the activities, we were given time to reflect on our processes. With so much happening in such a short time, this silent activity at the end of our training days gave us a good reminder to stop and evaluate all the day’s activities.

Through these reflections, we all noticed that we were asked to tap into our own creativity and find suitable ways to bring out the creativity in our students.

Also, we were asked to think critically about events around us. As we all know, information of all sorts is available to us all in a few short clicks. For this reason, the allotted time for reflection was a good reminder to check our biases and to ensure we transfer this thinking process onto our learners.

Impression of the Learning Experience in Bologna

Overall, the experience in Bologna with ELA has forever changed me mainly because it gave me a better insight into how to effectively teach from all angles.

I was able to observe and better communicate with a variety of fellow teachers (and learners) and those skills have already been implemented in my day-to-day activities.

Whoever coined the term “think outside the box” was really onto something, it truly is incredible to see the outcomes of thinking (and doing) outside the box!  

Maria Grgić Skendrović

Project partner:

ELA: Erasmus Training Courses

Find out more about the event here.

The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus+ Enriching lives, opening minds.

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innovative-teaching-methods-course
Projects

Innovative Teaching Methods Course in Bologna

Choosing this Erasmus+ experience somehow came hand in hand with the ongoing pandemic situation. Since we have moved to online platforms to conduct our lessons, I have also been wondering how to contribute to creating them. Thankfully our Erasmus+ school coordinator made it happen. She sent me to Bologna, Italy to take the Innovative Teaching Methods course to expand my horizons.

Innovative Teaching Methods

The course was held in August 2021. Fifteen of us, from many different countries, explored not only these great teaching methods, but also the cultural side of Bologna and Florence. And all thanks to our educator Giulia and the whole Erasmus Learning Academy team. 

A week-long course covered various teaching methods; from non-formal education, project based learning, to using ICT tools in classrooms and finally outdoor education. 

Project based learning was the first method we explored. It is a teaching approach in which students themselves explore real world problems and try to raise the awareness by showcasing the problems to other students. This is done as a group project. It involves immersing yourself completely into the situation, all while developing communication skills in teams.

ICT Tools, Non-Formal Education, and Outdoor Education

Next were the ICT tools, which were my favorite part of this course. After working online for a year now, this phase of learning came as a logical continuation. To make online learning easier and effective our educators at ELA showed us some great tools: Socrative, Quizlet, Mentimeter and EdPuzzle. These tools are ideal for creating amazing content for our students.  

Then we moved on with non-formal approach to education. This method generally focuses on how to make in-person lessons more engaging using various activities, such as treasure hunts, creating collages and playing games. 

As for outdoor education, we combined non-formal education concepts with outdoor activities held around the center of Bologna. This way we learned a lot about the city and its rich medieval cultural heritage. The app we used here was ActionBound. If you want to know more about a city/town you're visiting, this app is THE tool to do so ☺

Impressions of the Innovative Teaching Methods Course

Along with these methods and perfect organization, it is necessary to mention all those people without whom this whole experience of unity and learning wouldn't be possible. All fifteen of us exchanged practices, ideas, past experiences and plans how to use all these new insights in our own lessons back home. We also realized that one of the most important things to take home from this course is: we can do everything if we work together.

Tamara Marček

Project partners:
The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes

ELA Teacher Trainings

The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus+ : Enriching lives, opening minds.

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Projects

Effective Classroom Management Strategies in Bologna

Teacher's experience:Effective Classroom Management Strategies for Teachers and other Education Staff by ELA: Erasmus+ Training Courses for teachers and educational staff

Domagoj was born in Osijek. When he left for London for a few months, he didn’t expect that he would have stayed there for 14 years and that it would be an experience that would change his life forever. He completed the CELTA Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Adults. He came back to Zagreb in 2009 for love, and the first door he knocked on was that of our school, Inicijativa. Since then he has been teaching English at our school and loves his job. You can see him in the city, riding his bike speedily from point A to point B. When he isn’t at the school, he lives for music and travelling.

Domagoj Biondić

Strategies for Creating a Good Supportive Classroom

Very rarely can one say that their expectations have been exceeded, yet, that was exactly what happened to me during the time I spent in Bologna as part of Erasmus program.

The course I participated in was titled Effective Classroom Management and Strategies for Teachers. The main focus was on how to create a Good Supportive Classroom. 

Among many strategies/techniques we were taught there, the skills I am particularly grateful to have acquired are:

  • Using Emotional Intelligence in teaching, as well as at work, and everyday life in general

  • The importance of Grup Dynamics, Cooperative Learning and Collaboration and how to achieve that

  • What language to use to encourage Growth Mindset in students, and work colleagues alike, when giving feedback or helping them overcome struggles 

  • Conflict Management, that is, how to go about handling them (conflicts), understand them, and use them as opportunities to learn and grow

  • Different Instruction Teaching (Different Learning Needs=Different Learning Styles 

  • The interconnection of the above

Applying Classroom Management Strategies

Upon returning from Bologna, I’ve been applying those skills in my everyday life, both personal
(as a partner, friend, family member) and professional (as a teacher and work colleague), whenever a suitable situation presented itself; some successfully, some not 😊.

It is my plan to pass that knowledge onto my fellow teachers and work colleagues through a workshop (and/or any additional ones if needs be). I believe it’ll help improve our work environment, communication, and understanding. It will enable us to become better teachers, trainers, managers, fellow workers and human beings for that matter.

Classroom Management Strategies Benefit Our Students

It goes without saying that our students should, or rather, will benefit the most from all this as we’ll be able to apply more student-centred approach in a class. We will cater for their specific needs, yet function as a group, and as a result will boost their self-confidence, motivation and enthusiasm. We will make them more collaborative, involved and engaging and thus making their learning experience worthwhile and appreciated.

In other words, it will be a ‘win - win – win’ (school – teachers – students) situation for us all.

In addition to the inspiring course itself, mentioned at the beginning, we also enjoyed some truly amazing out – of – class / outdoor activities that included a super interested approach to sightseeing, group’s dinners and lunches. We also visited Florence, all of which contributed to an amazing experience, made me appreciate every second of being there, and helped me grow.

As I like to say: I’m still emotionally jet-lagged from my Bologna adventure 😊.

Domagoj Biondić

Domagoj has already organized workshops on classroom management strategies for his colleagues in Zagreb and Split.

The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus+

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Projects

Workshop as part of the Pokreni Inicijativu project

As part of the project Pokreni Inicijativu, our teacher Domagoj Biondić participated in a workshop in Bologna, Italy. The project is accepted by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes as a KA1 activity. The focus of the project is innovative teaching methods development. As part of the project, our employees got an opportunity to learn and gain skills in order to provide better and more comprehensive learning experience to their students. Our partner in this project is the Italian organization ELA: Erasmus+ Training Courses for teachers and educational staff.

Our teacher Domagoj gained valuable experience and knowledge which he then transferred to our colleagues through workshops in Zagreb and Split. 

Our colleagues participated in a workshop with the title Effective Classroom Management Strategies for Teachers and other Education Staff.

We transformed theory into practice through many interactive activities. Our teachers learned more about:
  • Knowledge, practice and tools related to social and emotional learning.
  • The importance of group dynamics within the context of cooperation, inclusiveness and affiliation.
  • Language usage that supports a growth mindset.
  • Four learning techniques.
  • Conflict management.

The main result of the workshops is acquiring knowledge, elevating our work and having better teaching methods. Personal skill development implementation is only one aspect. Our teachers will have to develop business skills which will help them achieve excellence in educating students! Workshops like these are a valuable example of transferring knowledge and experience. They are highly motivating for our teams in Zagreb and Split, who implement innovative teaching methods in our curriculum.

 

The project is funded by the European Union.

Step Up – KA 1 Erasmus+ projekt



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