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Short-term Joint Staff Training Events Report

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Short-term Joint Staff Training Events
Report
Drafted by: Yiannis Zarkadas, Project Coordinator
ERASMUS + / KA2 provides a framework under which educational innovation can be developed by
exploiting transnational coope...
D. Cooperative work
Case studies analysis
E. Presentation of the results of the Joint Training Event
Workgroups proposals
...
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Short-term Joint Staff Training Events Report

  1. 1. Short-term Joint Staff Training Events Report Drafted by: Yiannis Zarkadas, Project Coordinator
  2. 2. ERASMUS + / KA2 provides a framework under which educational innovation can be developed by exploiting transnational cooperation and exchange of expertise and experience. In order to assist sharing of knowledge, a series of Short Term Joint Training Events have been designed as an essential part of the project. Thus, the project addresses to the needs of the European Educators, who can actively develop new knowledge by their implication in cooperative learning activities. Five (5) Short Term Joint Training Events have been implemented with the active participation of 23 Teachers of the institutions that form the partnership. Apart from those 23 educators who received funding from the project budget, more than ten (10) teachers and staff had the opportunity to take advantage of those learning experiences. 1st Short-term Joint Training Event – C1 This task was one of the most important milestones of the project, because, for the first time since early Socrates Programme years, a well defined framework had been predicted for the staff taking part in mobility activities to actively participate in structured educational / training actions and thus maximize benefits for them and their institutions. Apart from this, C1 was to function as a pilot for the remaining four training events to follow and because of this the attention and the interest of all partners was focused on the implementation of this activity. During the preparation phase, the coordinating institution in close cooperation with the host institution Istituto Comprensivo di Alba Adriatica outlined the educational content of the activity. The thematic aspects for examination and discussion were the following: A. Introduction to Stress. Recognizing stress and its impact Understanding the physiological effects of stress B. Identification of stressors Major intra-school stressors School community stressors Environmental stressors C. Stress management principles Behavioral approach Cognitive approach
  3. 3. D. Cooperative work Case studies analysis E. Presentation of the results of the Joint Training Event Workgroups proposals A request to all partners had been made to prepare a case study of a stress overload situation that occurred at their schools and they have personally observed. The works of the 1st Short-Term Joined Training Event started with the introductions of participating teachers and followed the above outline. The second day of the works which had been allocated to the identification of stressors each school presented the finding of their research work and vivid discussion followed. During the third day of the works of C1 teachers had the opportunity to exchange their experiences on stress management principles and techniques to apply at a given situation. All teachers enjoyed a presentation of the English school on handling situations of bipolarity and wrong conclusions development by attempting to change the mindset of the person in a stresfull situation from negative to positive. Among other suggestions, ideas of relaxation techniques were presented, respiration techniques, yoga and the exploitation of sports and music as a tool to tackle stress in certain individuals at a scholastic environment. At the afternoon of the same day an alternative pedagogy was presented by a psychologist and an animator to the participants of C1, in the form of an experiential workshop, which propounds the value of beautiful images and storytelling for pupils of primary schools and thus reduces stress. The next day was dedicated to case study presentation and analysis. Although the obligation of each school was to select and present one case, more than 12 cases were presented and widely discussed upon. The results of the 1st Short – Term Joint Training Event were the following: A. Stress is a multifactorial feeling that occurs in the one third of the population of pupils during their academic life B. Although teachers understand certain aspects of academic life as stressors, like examination periods, homework overload, etc there was observed some sort of lack of equal consideration to the
  4. 4. social aspect of everyday school life, which seems to host the major stressors as identified by the pupils of the participating institutions. C. Teachers from certain countries, e.g. Greece, expressed that there is a significant lack on their education and training regarding intra-school stress management. D. Although most of the participants are aware of behavioral techniques of stress management, that arise from their personal experience, the majority seems to lack knowledge on the cognitive approach towards the problem. E. Certain policy measures arise from the implementation of the C1 Event and teachers are willing to express them to their respected target audiences (policy makers, public bodies, etc) 2nd Short Term Joint Training Event The 2nd Short Term Joint Training Event provided for all partners the learning opportunity to get acquainted to a UK nation wide educational project entitled “Healthy Minds”, which is launched by a consortium of institutions which consists of: A. The Education Endowment Foundation (EFF) which has provided the funding to How to Thrive to lead, design and deliver the project. B. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research of UK which has been responsible to deliver the academic element of the research and project evaluation. C. The How to Thrive Organization, who are directing the overall project, designing the curriculum, supporting schools, supporting the data collection arrangements and leading and/or delivering all the necessary training elements. D. The London School of Economics who are partners on the project and providing the lead research role. The works of the 2nd Short Term Joint Training Event started on Tuesday, June 16th by the introduction made by Mr Paul Johnson, Head of St Luke's School. Mr Paul Johnson presented St Luke's, which is a school for 138 pupils aged 9-16 with learning difficulties, including pupils with complex moderate learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders and speech, language and communication needs. Afterward, he briefed the plenary on the “Healthy Minds” Project and the relation to the “Stress – free E. U, Schools” Project and then he invited the delegations to meet the pupils of St Luke's and observe the educational work of the school.
  5. 5. At this point the works of the first working day ended. The next day the hosts had organized a presentation of the “Healthy Minds” Project by Mrs Lucy Bailey, who is the Project Director. Due to her busy agenda, day 2 and 3 work had to be merged to the 2nd working day of the Short Term joint Training Event. Mrs Lucy Bailey gave a very informative presentation of the project mentioning that it is a unique research project that contributes to the understanding of how students can be supported to develop emotional resilience and self efficacy alongside their academic development. The aim is to teach lessons as part of the core curriculum that will enable students to navigate the world within and beyond school and to thrive and flourish. She informed the delegations that The Healthy Minds study is tracking 11,000 students from 31 secondary schools over four years. However access to the curriculum is available to schools beyond the project. Schools not involved in the research can choose the curriculum as a whole or any of the individual elements can be taught as stand alone lessons. She also presented the basics of behavioral and cognitive theory that had been used to form the project educational material and underlies the project philosophy. Right after she introduced the curriculum and explained that it has been developed in-line with adolescent development and the reality of life for students in and beyond school. The design has ensured that:  Each element builds on the previous and is relevant and directed by student input.  Is taught applying a wide range of teaching and learning styles.  Offers realistic and relevant information.  Encourages students to reflect and practice what they learn.  Meets and exceeds the personal, social, health education requirement. She also stated that the curriculum is relevant and practical and helps students to understand themselves and others. The wide range of transferable skills and strategies are likely to increase the opportunities for social mobility and employability. They will understand how to feel good and function well through established habits, useful for life. Then she presented in depth the curriculum elements for each age group starting with the 7 years old pupils who follow the “Penn Resilience Programme”, that provide foundational skills, techniques and
  6. 6. strategies that enable students to learn and develop the tools for life that will empower them to deal with set backs and focus and thrive in intense times both in and out of school. Afterwards she presented the 8 year curriculum element which covers the aspects “From School to Life”, “Media Influences”, “Sex Ed Sorted Part 1” and “Relationships Smart Part 1”. She continued by introducing the delegations to the Year 9 Curriculum Elements that cover aspects like “Realtionships Smart Part 2”, “Sex Ed Sorted Part 2”, “Science of Mental Health” and “ The School Health Alcohol Reduction Project”. The presentation of the Year 10 Curriculum Elements followed which include “MoodGym” and “Parents under Construction”. After the presentation and a short brake, participants had the opportunity to a hands - on practice session to selected lessons using the relevant educational material. Mrs Lucy Bailey ended her presentation by inviting all members of the Training Event to participate in a relaxation course introducing respiration and visualization techniques, exploitinh in parallel meta-cognitive skills of self-observation. At this point the 2nd day ended. The next day was allocated for partners to present their educational tools ideas and development process (Pls, see the above mentioned at point 5). Partners had the opportunity to discuss on different approaches and interact with what they had been informed by the approach and tools of the “Healthy Minds” Project. The final fay of the 2nd Short Term Joint Training Event was allocated for the presentation of the conclusions of the delegations. Project Coordinator made an attempt to summarize the works of the event in order to assist the procedure and them invited all members to express their opinions on what would be useful for them to their distance project work and also the added value to their everyday teaching tasks. At this point the works of the 2nd Short Term Joint Training Event ended. 3rd Short-term Joint Staff Training Event, 20th - 24th October 2015 The main objective of the C3 transnational activity was to bring together the working groups of the partner institutions in order to present their educational tools that had been elaborated by each school and discuss upon ways of exploitation of each educational material in the classroom. 20th October 2015
  7. 7. The participants in the C3 - 3rd Short Term Joint Staff Training Event visited the College were they were introduced to its activities by the Director of the institution. Right afterwards, the first day of the works of the C3 started by reviewing the work that had been carried out so far, during the previous Short Term Joint Staff Training Events. Moreover, the Italian partners presented the results of their research activity and the English partners briefed the plenary about the proceedings of the previous training event that took place in Redbourn. Afterwards, each partner school gave an outline of the work that had carried out and the educational tool / tools that were about to present during the works of the C3 Event. 21st October 2015 The participants of the C3 Event enjoyed a warm welcome at Vilkaviskis School, where each class had prepared a brief happening, songs, games, dances, most of which were linked with a specific country that is represented in the partnership of the project. Afterwards, all participants followed a clay workshop – as an activity that relieves from stress by the use of the hands and clay. After this activity, the main work of the C3 started at the premises of the school by the presentation of the works of the host institution. The presentation of the Lithuanian partners started with an introduction to a story under the title “The two frogs”. The story was designed in such a way that the target group of the activity, pupils of the 3rd Grade (8 – 9 years old) after hearing the first part of the story, could alter the plot, elaborate different story ends and therefore different emotions could arise and be under examination. The objectives of the activity were the following: A. Development of rational – critical and creative thinking B. Encouragement of the target group to identify problems, generate ideas in order to manage specific situations and gain control upon them and select appropriate solutions on specific problems – development of problem solving skills C. Assistance and support for the target group in order for them to express their feelings through creative writing and arts. Afterwards the partners from Lithuania chose to present their work on a major stressor that had already been identified, during the common research activity, bullying. Their activity was developed in two axes: The first was about the causes of bullying, examined by the aspects of the victim and the “bully” and focusing on the emotions that arise from such an act, and the second was oriented mostly on the ways and the methods to stop bullying.
  8. 8. The activity had been implemented by 9 and ten years old pupils who had the opportunity to discuss on the above mentioned, express themselves through drawings, theatrical play with two different scenarios developed by the kids, one about physical bullying – an attempt to steal a school bag from a the child – victim by the bullies and another one about emotional bullying with a sensitive child who likes reading a lot as a victim. In both scenarios the solution that had been promoted by the children is the behavioral change of the bullies and their asking for forgiveness – Saying “I’m sorry” is the hardest word, was the motto of the activity. 22nd October 2015 On the third day of the works of the C3 the Greek delegation presented their educational tool – a fairytale under the title “Pencilius, the butterflies and the African Elephants”. The fairytale as a final product merges 42 original stories of the pupils of “Varnaleion” and more than 60 drawings made by the 1st , 2nd and 3rd grade of the school. Through this educational tool pupils have certain learning opportunities, closely aligned with the objectives of the “Stress-free E. U. Schools” project: A. To identify stress a feeling, its physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral symptoms and the effect on different individuals B. To develop and adopt methods and techniques in order to manage stress overload and get relieved from stressful situations C. To develop their creativity alongside with the development of critical thinking D. To develop emotional awareness and express themselves The fairytale is about a small pencil – child, a pupil in the primary school of Pencil-land who wants to be a good pupil, with his grades straight As, to receive positive comments from his teacher and his mother. But as a small pupil faces some difficulties now and then and sometimes he does not manage to do as he wishes. So, one night he calls his god-mother the Fairy Aquarella, and asks for her magic assistance to overcome his problems and difficulties in his school. His god-mother draws and implants a strange little black creature with 14 eyes and 4 ears in his head which, with its eyes and ears would help Pencilius not to miss a think and excel at school. In the first two or three weeks the little creature indeed helped little Pencilius to be a perfect pupil and to enjoy all the positive feedback from his teacher and all the good comments from his mother. But as time goes by, certain symptoms occur, like butterflies in his stomach firstly and huge pressure right afterwards, like a flock of African elephants dancing in his belly. And all of a sudden, because of these
  9. 9. strange symptoms, which become more and more annoying, Pencilius starts to fail in his subjects and his grades become worse and as a result he does not want to go to school any more. He decides to call his helper, his god-mother once more and asks her about this little creature that shouts all the time in his head and produces the butterflies and the dance of the African elephants on his belly. She informs him that the name of the little creature is Stress and everyone in Pencil-land has it. In order to assist him, his god-mother draws a little red valve. Now Pencilius can open the valve when he feels stress overload and get relieved. Now, by the use of this stress control mechanism Pencilius becomes again a very good pupil, and enjoys the positive comments of his teacher and his mother. The Greek partners mentioned that specific care was given in order to follow the typology of the fairytale as a textual genre, and to keep it aligned with the tradition of the Greek fairytales which include the element of magic and the repetition of certain motives. After the final production of the story a school-wide project was initiated and using the fairytale as a starting point – as a stimulus – each class worked on certain aspects regarding the objectives of the learning tool and the “Stress-free E.U. Schools” Project. The 1st Grade started a details emotional awareness project giving special focus on the feeling of fear and incorporating the fairytale in the Language curriculum. The 2nd Grade exploited puppetry and, using inexpensive materials, created a small puppet theater in its classroom, deploying stories that derived from the fairytale. The 3rd and the 4th grades started working on a theatrical play based on the original fairytale. The 5th grade organized and attended art workshops and had the opportunity to test the impact of arts as a stress management method and in parallel to express their feelings following the style of drawing of certain masters like Juan Miro. The 6th Grade in cooperation with the 5th grade created tools to assist dialogue on school stress and participated in workshops with experts from organizations dealing with psychological health. 23rd October 2015 Italian partners presented their educational tool entitled “A story ...many emotions” a cooperative work that had involved 8 classes. The 5th undertook the task to develop a story, which was then presented to the other classes. The story that the 5th graders had elaborated under the title “John & his dream” was about a person passionate with motorcycles. He had an ambition to become champion at the races driving a
  10. 10. motorcycle that had been prepared and tuned for the championship by himself. He had worked for a year in New York City and managed to gather 30.000 Euros and continued to work in order to make the best preparations to make his dream come true. During this period his was suffering severe stress which led him to take some wrong decisions and face problems with the law, and he finally was sent to prison. During his service in jail he had the time to think and understand that his behavior was inappropriate. Eventually, and after his enrollment in a fencing club – a sport that is very demanding in terms of personal discipline - he changed and finally he became a better person and fulfilled his dream to become a champion. Italian teachers, after a productive dialogue exploring possible ways that each class could participate in the project, decided that they could follow different strategies. The 2nd Grade after an in depth reading of the story produced a histogram about emotions. The 4th Grade examined themes such as the physical and the behavioral aspects of the the hero of their story. The 5th Grade focused on a specific period that the hero was imprisoned and dealt with his routine while in prison and to the hero’s dream. All implicated classes had the opportunity to watch Disney’s film “Inside out” at a local cinema. The outcomes of the work in the Italian school were the following:  A representation of the feelings that the hero (and the audience) have experienced  Drawings of the “dream that John had”  Fencing at school  Production of a video about the routine that John faced in prison  Organization of “John’s race” in the school yard Certain messages were collaboratively generated about stress and the impact that it may have on different individuals. After the Italian presentation, the English delegation introduced the participants to their approach. They created a comic stripe presenting a stressful situation and used this as an incentive to assist their pupils discussion on identifying strategies to combat stress. Following this activity, they intend to produce a number of similar stories in order to ensure that their pupils understood and capitalized the strategies that had been developed. They presented a tool that they use in their school, which is an institution providing education to pupils with special needs, mainly mental disorders and specialized in autism, the Network of the
  11. 11. Hand, through which they teach their pupils how to construct their personal networks of significant others in their lives, by drawing or typing the names of persons that could provide assistance and guidance for the problems they face. Regarding their roadmap to the production of their final educational tool they mentioned that they produced a DVD that demonstrates discussions in the classroom on the physical sympptoms of stress and the affection on the bodies of the pupils. It includes certain techniques of stress management, like muscular relaxation through respiration, and the introduction to mindfulness. They stated that only a small group of pupils were actively involved in the production of the comic and that is because of the special type of institution they represent and the limited abilities of their pupils. After the English, the Turkish delegation proceeded to their presentation. Turkish partners have selected to exploit a well known figure from their tradition, Nasreddin Hodja, a person of popular wisdom able to provide solutions for the people that seek his help. Initially, they encouraged their pupils to generate stories about school stress which included an answer given by Nasreddin Hodja. They proceeded to a selection of some stories and they presented them to their pupils, askinf them to alter the end of them. They intend to construct finger puppets in order and produce the scenario for a puppet theater play with their story. Apart from the educational tool they have been working on, Turkish partners introduced the delegation with some activities they had chosen to apply to their school regarding the management of school stress. A. They prepared name cards for the pupils, that were used the first week of the new school year. B. They allowed parents of their junior pupils to enter the school for a certain period of time to relieve stress from them. C. They organised building tours for the junior pupils that had just enrolled to their school. 24th October 2015 The day was dedicated to discussion upon the exploitation of the educational tools that had been created and presented. The different nature and the formats of the educational tools was the main difficulties that the partners should overcome.
  12. 12. The English partners suggested that a common approach towards the use of the educational tools in the classroom should be adopted and specific notice should be given to provide assistance for the teachers who may wish to use them in their classrooms. They stated that specific teaching tools should be produced in order to facilitate the use the educational tools, which should include the age group that those teaching tools address to, a clear set of information for the teacher on how to exploit the educational material and the description of the final format that the teaching tool will be delivered. All partners adopted the proposal of the English partners and agreed to develop specific teaching tools, run a pilot application if applicable and present and share these products during the next Short- term Joint Staff Training Event that would take place in Turkey. At this point the works of the 3rd Short-term Joint Staff Training Event were completed. 4th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event, Ilimtepe - Korfez, Tr 10th - 16th March 2016 Due to the tragic events of the terrorist attacks in Istanbul some days before the scheduled event, many members of the partnership were very skeptical regarding their travel to Turkey. The Italian delegation canceled their participation to the event. The 4th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event was held in Turkey between the 11th – 15th March 2016. With the good cooperation between the coordinator and the host institution it became possible for the Italian partners to attend most of the works of the event through SKYPE. The schedule of the 4th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event was fixed through close cooperation with the Turkish partner as follows: 11 MAR Plenary [Open Session]  Presentation of the works of the 3rd Short – Term Joint Staff Training Eventing – C3  Briefing on the work to be carried out during the event in Korfez – Turkey ◦ Objectives ◦ Working Methodology ◦ Expected outcomes 12 MAR Introduction to ILIMTEPE ILKOKULU  Briefing on the Turkish Educational System
  13. 13.  Presentation of Policies and supporting structures for the promotion of pupils' sociopsychological development / well being  Presentation of the host institution 13 MAR Presentation of the works of the partner schools Each presentation must include the following points: A. Target audience B. The objectives / the purpose of the teaching tools C. Presentation of the materials (E.g story – comic - cartoon – games – activity sheets – video – puzzle – music, drama, mime, dance, role play etc) D. Indicative Teaching Scenario – Guide on the Application in the classroom – (Guidelines for the teacher) 14 MAR Follow – up Discussion – Cooperative work 15 MAR Plenary [Open Session]  Presentation of the works of the Event  Collaborative Evaluation of the C4 Event 1st day of the STJSTE - 11th March 2016 The first day of the event started with an impressive welcome which was organized by the Turkish partner with a parade of people showing their rich cultural background accompanied by a band that played traditional tunes and a group of tambourine players who were giving the marching pace to the parade. After a building tour and a warm welcome by the director of the school, the works started in the amphitheater of the school as an open event – providing the opportunity to the guests of the Turkish partner to get acquainted with the objectives of the project and the project work that would take place in Ilimtepe, Tr. Turkish partners outlined the work that took place so far and presented the delegations to the audience. After a short brake, delegations were transfered to the meeting room of Ilimtepe School where the objectives of the 4th STJSTE were stated by the project coordinator: A. To share the teaching tools that had been elaborated by the partners and introduce participants to the methodology with which each tool had been produced.
  14. 14. B. To inform partners on the specific aspect of school stress that each tool is addressed to, and C. To present a scenario of the application of the tool in the classroom. Afterwards, partners made brief introductions to the products that they were about to present and the time schedule of the next days was arranged, in order to facilitate Italian partners to attend the works through video conferencing. Because of the re-scheduling of the works of the 4th STJSTE, the presentation of the Turkish education System took place on the 11th March, which was quite informative and interesting for all participants. 2nd day of the STJSTE - 12th March 2016 The second day of the works started with the presentation of the English partners who presented a digital disk that included 4 lessons: The first lesson introduces pupils to school stress through its physiology, as it presents the symptoms of stress that affect the body of a child. Its target group is pupils between 7 – 15 years old and it is accompanied with a detailed set of guidelines for the teacher. English partners have produced cards of feelings and a set of stickers which can be used directly on the bodies of the pupils, making this way a greater effect that just drawing them on a picture of a human body. They exploit comics as a teaching tool for elder pupils to assist them towards emotional awareness and to help them build their personal strategies to handle emotions. Role playing is widely used by English partners to promote their emotional resilience. The second lesson is about self-talk and the ability to alter negative thoughts to positive ones. They exploit situations presented through comics stripes where negative thoughts occur to the hero of the comic and they change these negative thoughts through speech, either by the pupils themselves or by “helpers”, assistants in the educational process. The third lesson is about the formation of a personal network of a child, using a figure of a hand, and the pupils are expected to write down, or draw, on each finger the names of people that they could address to to seek assistance when in an uncomfortable situation. They may expand the “hand network” with another one for people outside pupils’ school, where family members or friends can be recorded. The fourth lesson teaches pupils relaxation techniques through breathing control and visualization of a safe place.
  15. 15. After the very informative presentation of the English partners, the Lithuanian delegation presented their teaching materials / tools. Their work builds upon the work that was presented during the 3rd STJSTE in Vilkaviskis that identified bullying as a major stressor for the pupils of the Lithuanian school. The application of the tool should occur on mixed groups of pupils and it includes identification of stress as an unpleasant feeling, the relevant emotions to stress, like fear, and then the pupils proceed to explore the physiology of stress. They make intensive use of cooperative techniques like brainstorming, and debate and through teamwork pupils are expected to present either verbally or through pieces of artwork their conclusions. For this purpose a lot of material should be at hand, like drawing papers, pencils etc. Afterwards they use as a teaching tool the model of a human body where they can attach pieces of paper with notes of the effects of stress on the human body. It is a visualization activity that helps pupils develop better understanding of the problem. They use two short stories of bullying incidents: one is about a group of bullies that steal a schoolbag from a child and the second is about an incident where psychological bullying is forced on a pupil by “calling him name” and isolating him from the social environment of her classmates. After discussion on the two incidents, they identify and write down in a big piece of paper the stress symptoms and they divide them in two major categories, psychological and physical, depending on the way that the victim perceives them. Then each pupils cuts one of those and sticks it on the human body model. After this activity, a school psychologist explains how stress affects the body and the soul, providing his expertise and guides the pupils to generate ideas and transform them to strategies for stress management. They also use relaxation techniques, and apart from this they teach pupils conflict management and problem solving skills. They promote the ability of the pupils to stay focused on their efforts and their empowerment. After a short brake the presentation of the Turkish partners followed. They had chosen two well known characters in Turkey, the Bold Boy and Nasreddin Hodja – who is also well known in Greece as well, at least among the teachers of the Greek delegation. They have created puppets of the two characters and their approach is that they can teach pupils stress management skills through puppetry. For his purpose, initially the reviewed the stressors and their impact on the pupils of the 5th grade, who were asked to make lists and grade each stressor. To assist this procedure they have used comics and other relevant material and in order to familiarize their pupils with the puppets they let them experiment and play with them, recording their original dialogues.
  16. 16. Afterwards they selected a major stressor for the Turkish school which is time management. On this idea they constructed a scenario of puppetry with the two heroes. In brief, Bold boy, a clever and trustworthy youngster who loves his teacher and his well appreciated by his classmates faces problems with his exams. Although he studies a lot, he is not satisfied with his grades and he feels embarrassed to inform his parents about it. Feeling very stressed about this situation, he decides to ask Nasreddin Hodja - a man of popular wisdom, clever and deeply religious, well accepted by his community because of his qualities and his friendly, joyful character - for help. Through puppetry, information on time management issues is revealed to the pupils, including scheduling skills, personal organization, etc, that the Bold Boy follows, resulting in lowering the level of stress and eventually he succeeds in his exams. Apart from the very pleasant presentation and the puppet show that the delegations enjoyed, the Turkish partner informed the delegations on the activities that they organized for their pupils in the framework of the project. • They have organized a seminar with a pedagogics expert both for their pupils and for the parents and caregivers of their school • They selected bibliography on school stress and suggested selected books to the parents of their pupils Turkish parents closed their presentation mentioning that parental pressure is the main stressor in Turkey with parents very demanding for good grades. After the Turkish partners the Italian team proceeded to their presentation through videoconferencing with SKYPE. Italian partners have examined different aspects of school stress and the first stressor they have identified and decided to deal with it was homework. Italian teachers mentioned that a significant number of pupils fail to deliver their homework with their parents to justify this situation, perhaps justifying this way their lack of parental control – unlike Turkey and Greece, parents in Italy seem rather absent that oppressive. To solve this problem the teachers have decided to promote the right behavior with a well organized set of meassures: • They record the missing homework, • They send certificates of completion of homework to the parents • They record the completed homeworks of the pupils, and • They have established an award for the pupils that meet their obligations regarding homework delivery.
  17. 17. Another stressor, according the research that had been carried out during the fist year of the project in all partner schools, seems to be poor social relations among pupils. Many pupils had declared that a potential bad opinion that their peers may construct about them is the cause of their stress. To address to this problem Italian partners have designed an activity called “My portrait”. It is a game aiming at the improvement of the relations among pupils and can be applied to different age groups. Initially pupils are asked to identify something of good quality for each one of their classmates. They write down their ideas and the teacher writes down on separate sheets of papers the names of the pupils. Then pupils must guess the mane of the pupils taking into consideration the positive comments that they had already made. This way they not only elevate the relations among pupils but they create a positive climate in their class which contributes in many ways to the collective improvement of the everyday school work. In the framework of the project the Italian partners have made good use of sociological tools as well such as the sociogram, a tool to identify the social dynamics of a group of individuals such as a primary school class. They have searched for isolated pupils, who usually suffer from large amounts of stress regarding their acceptance by their fellow classmates. For this purpose they created questionnaires and have exploited artwork in order to gather the key data for the creation of the above mentioned tools. 3rd day of the STJSTE - 13th March 2016 On the 3rd day of the event the Greek partners presented their teaching tools. They introduced the partners to their approach of opening the “Stress free E.U. Schools” project to all the pupils of their school by the initiation of a school-wide intervention providing space for the teachers to take initiative, use their skills and creativity to exploit their educational product, a fairytale under the title “Pencilius, the butterflies and the African Elephants”. Most of the teaching tools that the Greek delegation presented are directly linked to this product. Afterwards, the presentation of the teaching tools followed. Greek teachers selected to demonstrate five different teaching tools, which cover the age span of the pupils of the Greek school, form 6 to 12 years old. The first tool that the Greek partners presented was a workbook consisting of the translation of the fairytale in English and a set of worksheets to be filled by the pupils. It can be applied to pupils of the 5th and the 6th grade during their English language lessons and it will take 4 to 6 lessons in order for the pupils to finish all the proposed activities. It includes multiple choice questions, open ending questions, short paragraph editing, and free expression of the pupils activities, especially drawings. It follows closely the objectives of the educational tools and its application can assist pupils to learn
  18. 18. about stress and its impact on different individuals, identify stressors, develop stress management skills and deploy strategies to tackle stress. The second tool that was presented was the work of the “All day School”, a structure for the pupils that their parents work late and thus there is a need for a safe place for them to remain and have all the needed attention and supervision in order for them to do most of their homework and follow some extra activities, like ICT, or sports. The above mentioned teaching tool comes in the form of a board game, similar to the well known game “Snakes and ladders” playable by a dice and depending on the square that the dice roll will lead the player he faces a situation of stress which drops him back or a situation of good stress management that elevates him on the board. Although the game was evaluated as “very fun to play with” by the pupils of the “All day School of Varnaleion” it was mentioned that it is their own version of the game and may not be easily playable by other pupils form other schools. The board game is accompanied by a workbook, which can also be used as a separate teaching tool, the third one that the Greek delegation presented. This tool focuses more on the domain of emotions, and the impact of stress on the feeling that an individual may experience. It is addressed to pupils form 7 to 9 years old and includes mostly artwork and handicraft activities alongside with some “right or wrong” and multiple choice questions. The 4th teaching tool is called “Stress exterminator” and it is actually a handicraft that each pupil can easily construct following the attached guidelines. It can be used from the 3rd grade to the 6th and it is a self guidance tool aiming at relieving pupils from stress. Each pupil can draw his own major stressor and can suggest her own strategies to tackle stress and have the completed tool with her iat home or at a locker at school. Finally, the 5th tool is an adaptation of the fairytale as a theatrical play scenario. Although it was originally written to suit a certain class, the 3rd grade, any teacher can easily make arrangements to fit in their needs. The objective of the tool is to provide another way of revealing the causes of school stress, the techniques that one can use to relieve himself from stress but overall, like the original fairytale, it states that stress is something that is normal, may be a valuable mechanism and only “toxic” stress causes severe problems to individuals. At this point the presentations of the partners’ teaching tools ended. 4th day of the STJSTE - 14th March 2016 During the fourth day of the Event partners attempted to review and generate ideas on the application of the teaching tools in the partner schools.
  19. 19. It was more than clear that the number of teaching tools pleasantly exceeded the initial expectations of the partners and since the allocated time for the application in the classroom was not enough partners should reach to an agreement on their next steps. During the review of the teaching tools many interesting proposals have occurred and all participants agreed to examine them regarding their feasibility. Finally, all partners adopted the proposal of the English school that each school could freely choose one or two of the teaching tools that were presented, apply it in their school and during the next – final – STJSTE provide their comments. All partners agreed to share and exchange their products, making them freely accessible to anyone who could have special interest on them through their ICT infrastructure. 5th day of the STJSTE - 14th March 2016 The works of the 5th day of the event started by the presentation of an evaluation questionnaire, prepared by the Greek School in order to assist the evaluation process of the works of the 4th STJSTE. Afterwards, all partners expressed their opinion on the work that had been completed the previous days in Turkey. It was more than clear that all delegations were satisfied by the results of the works of the event. They once more mentioned that the quality of the teaching tools was high and the number of them exceeded their initial expectations. After this round of talks, partners were transfered to the premises of the Local Government of Korfez, where they met the Administrative Director of Educational Affairs, who informed them on the educational structures that operate in the region, the legislative framework under which they provide their services and the significant service they provide to the local society. Then, the delegations visited the Mayor of Korfez, where they had the opportunity to discuss with him and get informed on the economic and social background of the city and the region. 5th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event – Nea Aghialos, Gr - 19th -24th May 2016 The final Training Event took place in Greece between 20th – 24th May 2015. The Training programme of the event was the following: 20th May - Plenary [Open Session] • Presentation of the works of the 4th Short – Term Staff Joint Training Event • Briefing of the work to be carried out during the event in Nea Aghialos
  20. 20. • Learning objectives – Working methodology 21st May Getting acquainted with “Varnaleion” • Presentation of the host institution • Presentation of the works of the School in the framework of the “Stress-free E.U. Schools” Project 22nd May Learning Tools Application and results • Each delegation presents their work focusing on the results of the Learning Tools in terms of usefulness & effectiveness • Discussion 23rd May • Presentation of a cognitive-oriented approach and respected teaching material • Cooperative team work 24th May Plenary [Open Session] • Presentation of the works of the event • Collaborative evaluation 1st day - 3rd day of the works of C5 - 20th - 22nd May The works of the 20th May started having a wide audience of teachers form neighboring schools, parents & caregivers and the Educational Councilor present, as an open event. Therefore, apart form the scheduled presentation of the works of the 4th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event a need to provide a briefing about the Stress-free E.U. Schools project arose. The Greek partners introduced all guests to the aim and objectives of the project and an outline of the work carried out so far was presented, in respect with the Short-term Joint Staff Training Events and their outcomes. After a short brake, and he end of the open event partners started to present their experience after the application of the teaching tools that had been developed and shared during the meeting in Turkey. Each delegation presented the tools according to their learning objectives, and described the teaching methodology they followed in order to put these tools in use in the classroom. Summarizing the feedback that partners gave to each delegation, one could mention the following: • The less favored teaching tools for the pupils of the participating institutions were in the format of working sheets. Although teachers would prefer to use the selected format, because of the potential to
  21. 21. draw immediate feedback on the achievement of a learning objective, pupils mentioned that some were rather dull, others too easy and others could not match the cultural background of the pupils. • All schools used the Turkish teaching tool, which was a puppetry scenario accompanied with the puppets of the heroes. The children seemed to enjoy the play, but there were a few problems, starting by the size of the puppets, which were too small for the pupils of the English school and thus pupils with special need could not “bond” with them, and ending, surprisingly with the pupils in Greece who could not perceive why the hero asked Nasreddin Hodja for his help in terms of authority. This was rather unexpected for Greek teachers who are very familiar with the figure of Nasreddin form their childhood. • The board game that was developed by the Greek school and initially was expected to be one of the more pleasant activities for the pupils of the partner schools proved to have some problems and many delegations chose to alter it, either by producing extra material so it would playable for their pupils, or altering it completely. This was expected though because it was more of a “internal” game from a group of pupils that were very well acquainted with its learning objectives and its framework of application. • The Lithuanian tool that visualizes the physical symptoms of stress seem to have worked fine even for older pupils than its age group. Attempting a review on the format of the teaching tools that partners had selected, the majority of the schools used puppetry as a means to introduce pupils to stress management skills and techniques. And, although the approach of each school seemed different that the others, it seems that all teachers agree that puppetry can be a strong teaching method of such skills. Partners mentioned that it was not possible to apply in the classroom all the tools that had been produced by the members of the partnership because of time shortage – it was less than two months teaching time since the previous meeting of the partners in Turkey and there was the interval of Easter holidays for the majority of the schools. But in any case the whole activity provided for the participants the development of skills on the design of teaching materials and the opportunity to have their work applied and evaluated by other schools of different cultural backgrounds, which was a valuable experience. 2nd day of the works of the 5th STJSTE - 21st May On the second day of the works of the 5th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event Greek partners attempted to showcase the methodology they followed during the life-cycle of the project and the activities and teaching tools and methods they have followed in their school-wide intervention.
  22. 22. By leading partner teachers through a building tour from classroom to classroom they presented a series of brief happenings that could lead to assist pupils develop stress management skills. The intervention incorporated: • puppet theater for the juniors of the Greek school, with a variation of their initial education tool, the fairytale “Pencilius, the butterflies and the African elephants, • the selection of a hobby as a means of relaxation – showcasing the production of honey from the 2nd grade, • Singing and dancing as a means of expression and stress relieving factor, by the 3rd grade • Universal values like friendship and the value of participation against the struggle to win, through the history of the Olympic games • An attempt to observe the effects of stress through simple and entertaining experiments, by the 5th grade, and • A proposal to create a safer school environment for pupils facing school stress, by certain interventions in the classroom, by the seniors of the 6th grade. 4th day of the works of the 5th STJSTE - 23rd May The coordinator of the project took an initiative and prepared a brief presentation introducing the participants to a cognitive approach in teaching skills on stress management to pupils. The presentation included an example of a set of worksheets with experiments that were presented the previous day to the participants. After this event all participants explored ways to adjust and incorporate the findings of the work that took place during the event. They have also examined opportunities for further cooperation in the framework of E.U. programmes and platforms like E-twinning. 5th day of the works of the 5th STJSTE - 24th May The fifth fay of the works coincided with the dissemination event that the Greek partners have organized for the end of the project works.Partners were asked to present their experience from the works of the Stress-free E.U. Schools project to an audience consisting of parents and caregivers and teachers of primary schools. After the event all participants met again in the teachers room of Varnaleion to set the guidelines of the evaluation of the STJSTEs. At this point the works of the 5th Short-term Joint Staff Training Event ended.

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