Guest blog written by:
Marit Oimet & Florika Kolbakova at Põlva Gümnaasium, Estonia
Erasmus+ project "In Others’ Shoes" has given us a good chance to meet our fellow colleagues from the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Turkey, share our thoughts and visions, best practices and cultural differences, learn from each other. Within the project time frame we have grown as human beings and educators. But most importantly, built friendships that cross borders, widen the horizon and make the world just a little bit more connected and smaller once again. In the end - isn’t that what global learning is all about?!
As an outcome of In Others’ Shoes Project we (Florika and Marit) started building an elective course "Global Citizenship" that we planned, prepared and tested on students during the first half of the project. It was, on the one hand, in search of the activities to present as intellectual output. On the other hand, it was in hopes to pass on some of our knowledge we had gained when travelling and having international friends all over the world. As we both believe in peace education and in need to have global education as part of our educational system, this was the perfect opportunity to go with.
Global Citizenship as a course focuses on global education topics like diversity, stereotypes, conflicts and resolution, as well as critical thinking and self-awareness. We had a trial run of the course last spring and a plan to develop it further in order to have it as part of the curriculum at our school. We have been cooperating with like-minded organizations during the process: international youth organization CISV had an integral part when we were developing and testing the conflict and resolution part of the course; both CISV and NGO Mondo have been inspiration when opening stereotypes and diversity to students. We think there is no need to invent the wheel if it already exists. Be open to others, make a good use of their knowledge and experience, as well as practice what you preach.
Global education in general, as a way of learning by doing, is part of our educational beliefs. You can try to talk the science and facts into the heads of students. On the other hand, you can take them on their own discovery. We both prefer the latter, so we have been organizing cultural and language trips abroad for students. Part of the study trip is homestay, which is a perfect way of stepping into someone else’s shoes to explore the culture close up. We intend to continue with these study trips also after the project has finished.
This whole project has been one amazing ride with really awesome people on board. Global learning in today’s world should be an essential part of education and school life, not some semi-hidden gem one stumbles upon if lucky enough! Thank you Global Education Derby and Erasmus+ for bringing this group together and see you around for other projects.
Guest blog written by:
Robin Dewa, Teacher at Osnovna sola Vič, Abramovaulica 26, Slovenia
As the official end of the Erasmus+Ka201 strategic partnership project In Others' Shoes is approaching and the weather in Slovenia is now really perfect, I would like to highlight a few points of the project in a wider perspective.
First, on the teachers' level, me and Irena Koncilja have learned a lot about applying the principles of Global Education into our work with students. In most EU countries, global education is well developed while on the other side global education has been only gaining ground in Slovenian schools in the last few years. I feel happy that more and more teacher colleagues are becoming interested in it. I'm therefore thankful to Global Education Derby and all other partner schools in the project to be able to learn from their vast knowledge and experiences which have had an impact on our work.
Considering students, they were able to discover their own potential, skills and abilities while implementing their own ideas during the course of the project. This was due to having received a new knowledge and a new way of thinking in order to be able to stand in someone else's shoes and see things from different perspectives.
Sometimes we just tend to forget that we live on the privileged side of the world where some things and situations are taken for granted, while elsewhere the situation seems different and more challenging. Therefore the In Others' Shoes project helped us a lot in developing a more global point of view.
I felt very happy that also some young people in Slovenia have taken a more active role in recent months. Influenced by the 16 years old student and climate activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden, who started school strikes for climate on Fridays, some Slovenian students also joined the cause and became active. They organized themselves into the movement called The Young For The Climate Justice and circulated their ideas. This also gave us the idea for the theatre play for the next Thinking Otherwise project.
When thinking about the European Parliamentary Elections back in May, it is a pity that students from age 16 onwards still can't vote in European or national elections. They will be the ones who will inherit our Mother Earth and will feel effects if we don't reach Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. And our generation just doesn't seem to do right things and have right answers for our problems.
And yet, we will not be able to reach Sustainable Development Goals if we don't walk the talk. The recent report from OECD DAC about the data for Official Development Assistance ( ODA) that I'm going to analyze with my colleagues from Sloga NGDO platform in the summer months for Concord Aid Watch Report, says that Slovenia's ODA reached lower level in 2018, only 0.16% of GDP. It's good that a few countries, where global education is more developed, keep their promises of allocating at least 0.7% of GDP for ODA ( like the UK). In other countries, in order to raise ODA and reach SDGs, the present-day young people will be the key.
And the young people will be the key in developing countries as well. I was very happy to have an opportunity of watching the performance of the young performers from the New Times Theatre (Tiempos Nuevos Teatro) from Chaltenango, El Salvador, in Ljubljana, at an event for the Slovenian global education teachers organized by the Slovenian NGO Humanitas.
The Salvadoran association was founded in 1993 after the end of the 12-civil war to deal with the trauma that survivors of the war faced. The first New Times Theatre (NTT) members were associated with education popular, global education. The NTT now covers many areas such as human rights, climate change, environment , gender equality etc. and they believe that art is both liberating and healing and contributes to reconstructing the social fabric. The excellent performance of the young artists and their workshop have uplifted my spirit that global education themes are really spread around the world and that we must stay interconnected, especially in the times of building walls and barbed wire fences.
Yes, despite many obstacles- which we anyway have to treat as opportunities for growth, I'm looking forward to working together again in the future.
Wishing all our partner schools lovely summer holidays,
Guest blog written by:
Raffaela Basile, Teacher at Istituto Comprensivo Altopascia, Italy
(translated from Italian to English using Google Translate)
In Italy the educational landscape has become extremely complex. The territorial horizon of the school widens. Each specific territory has links with the various areas of the world and thereby constitutes a microcosm that reproduces opportunities, interactions, tensions and global coexistence on a local scale. Even every single person, in his daily experience, must take into account more and more heterogeneous information and confront the plurality of cultures. In his formative and existential journey the student finds himself interacting with different cultures, without however having suitable tools to understand and relate them to his own. A variety of cultures and languages have entered the school. Interculture is already today the model that allows all children and young people mutual recognition and identity of each. The school successfully collects a universal challenge, of openness to the world, of the practice of equality in the recognition of differences. The presence of children and adolescents with different cultural roots is now a structural phenomenon and can no longer be considered episodic: it must become an opportunity for everyone. The education system must train citizens able to consciously participate in the construction of larger and more composite communities, be they national, European or global. The Italian school has the task of educating to coexistence through the enhancement of the different identities and cultural roots of each student. Furthermore, our school must train Italian citizens who are at the same time citizens of Europe and the world.
In the institute there is a high number of students with non-Italian citizenship which corresponds to 25% of the members, almost all of the second generation. New immigrants have a strong need for socio-cultural insertion and sometimes have economic disadvantages:
They are often unskilled labor that is employed for a fixed term, sometimes forced into undeclared work and/or subjected to the exploitation of work by third parties. While up to 2008-2009 foreign residents had substantially unemployment rates similar to those of the Italian population, in subsequent years they have suffered a sharp deterioration in their relative position mainly due to the fort crisis that has hit construction and some sectors of business services (eg transport and logistics) with a high concentration of immigrant labor, above all male. The socio-economic cultural level of the pupils' family context is low. The economic situation of families is very critical and is aggravated by the economic crisis of recent years. Therefore, difficulties related to inclusion are highlighted much more complex levels of literacy. There are social groups coming from particular realities (obligatory stays, etc.). Integration and coexistence between the different cultures present in the territory is not always easy, also due to a certain loss of identity on the part of the population. Situations of socio-cultural hardship, deviance phenomena, such as the petty crime and hooliganism are not absent from this territory: per this reason it has been identified as an "area at risk". The fact that the Comprehensive Institute of Altopascio is the only school reality present in the territory it facilitates the planning of an integrated territorial training offer, in close collaboration with the municipal administration. This offer includes the planning and organization of extracurricular activities, even in the afternoon, collaboration with voluntary and private associations.
Thanks to the project "In Others' Shoes" we discovered the real value of interculture. Through the philosophy of children and global education we have discovered a new way to approach diversity, making us increasingly aware of its cultural richness. Furthermore, by teaching children to see things from another perspective, perhaps even the less probable one, we were able to develop in them a greater empathic capacity, an ever wider development of critical thinking and creative thinking and a greater capacity for problem solving. Thanks to the activities of "In others' shoes" we have learned to build respect for others, mutual help and collaboration. By developing empathy we have discovered that the feelings, values and needs of others are as important as ours. Furthermore, the experience of collaboration with fellow partners has been for us teachers an enrichment both from a cultural, professional and personal standpoint. Experience has allowed us to become better teachers, more attentive to different cultures, significantly widening our horizons.
Guest blog written by:
Aida Lorenzo Perez, teacher from Nuestra Senora De La Paz, Torrelavega, Spain.
In simple terms, a global citizen is a person who identifies himself as an integral part of an emerging world community, who thinks about the problems that are affecting our planet, in a global way, contributing to the welfare of humanity. Those of us who consider ourselves global citizens belong to diverse national and international communities, in an effort for shared values and we build governance structures to support our beliefs, values and practices, which help create a better world.
Nowadays, the advance of communication technologies, transport and, mainly, the Internet, has made possible the emergence of a global identity, which surpasses the local and that impels us to connect with the rest of the world to, of this way, to respond to the economic, political, environmental, religious and social needs that are afflicting us and that we must overcome for the well-being of future generations.
The biggest challenge we face is to build a community based on sustainable values. But what are these values? Neither more nor less than Human Rights, environmental protection, religious pluralism, gender equality, sustainable growth, sustainable education, eradication of poverty, prevention of conflicts between nations, humanitarian aid and preservation of biodiversity, among others.
We, the school in Nuestra señora de la Paz, Torrelavega, Spain, thanks to the "In Other shoes" project we are trying to make our students, these future "global citizens". They have been doing a series of activities which are helping them to understand, clarify their doubts and develop those concerns they have regarding this issue, receiving a really positive feedback from them.
After experimenting with our activities we have believed that in the end to be a global citizen, you simply need to be a flexible person, open to transformational, creative, reflective and proactive change. Without a doubt, we want to add more citizens to find much more sustainable ways of seeing life and connecting with those of us who share a common humanity.
These are pictures of some of these activities ...
Guest blog written by:
Maria Turner, teacher from Dr.-Jaufmann-Mittelschule, Bobingen, Germany.
The Erasmus week at Dr.-Jaufmann-Mittelschule activated almost 250 students.
A small quiz in which questions about ERASMUS+ and "In Others' Shoes” particularly where asked, was carried out.
Many students knew the right answers and were rewarded with fantastic prizes, such as gym bags and other useful school supplies. These were handed over by the Headmaster, Robert Walch.
Second activity was a meeting of all three ERASMUS+ schools in Bobingen.
Together with Mayor Bernd Müller, the three Bobingen schools participating in the Erasmus+ program took this opportunity for their first joint meeting.
The aim was to exchange good experiences with the program, because it is about spreading the European idea and bringing Europe to life in our schools.
The Dr.-Jaufmann-Middle School Bobingen introduced their challenging project: "In Others' Shoes" - an exchange on the subject of migration and integration. Didactics, practical further education such as "philosophy for children" and "global education" attracted the colleagues present.
The principals of the three schools (Gabriele Glockner, Robert Walch and Dirk Hampel) and the teachers responsible for the project, together with Bobingen's First mayor, Bernd Müller, took the opportunity to engage in an inspiring and informative conversation about their activities and experiences and exchanged many of the materials developed in the projects.
“In Others' Shoes” inspired and motivated teachers and students in thinking differently, changing perspectives and enriched teaching and thinking with motivating lessons in philosophical education and global thinking.
The international cooperation between the UK, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Slovenia and Germany opened up possibilities to exchange good practise methods, developed new teaching methods, as well as innovative teaching and learning approaches.
Working in such international atmosphere enrichens and stimulates the professional exchange and knowledge transfer.
Guest blog, written by:
Dr Rob Rodgers, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Global Education Derby
We seemed to have chosen a cold and wet few days in Altopascio for our meeting - but this didn’t dampen our spirits. So, Monday evening, teachers and educators arrived in a small town near to Pisa in Italy. Our European colleagues flew in from Estonia, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey and not forgetting UK. We were hosted extremely well by Sabrina and Raffaela.
It was a whirlwind of a visit! We arrived, joined together, worked hard, laughed and enjoyed good company. The majority of the week was spent sharing expertise, monitoring progress, developing our teaching resources further and agreeing on next steps together. Then, we flew off back to our various homes.
We have learnt to communicate well with each other and show that European cooperation has so many benefits. The basic thing is that we want to communicate - we value each other and we know that, together we are stronger.
It was moving to see six year olds have lunch with us one day. They asked questions of the adults on their table and had strategies if they, or we, didn’t understand - we adults finished our lunches happier and richer, emotionally, as a result.
My advice to our politicians is “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!” There is much to gain from each other’s countries, in Europe. Obviously, there are problems and issues, but these can be sorted if we really want to.
In a few days, which gave us many memories and encouragements, I have certainly grown as a person, emotionally. We would all do well to listen to the Queen, who has urged people to find “common ground’ and to respect different points of view!”
... time for blog writing totally non-existent!
Guilt does kick in, when the work is piling up under the pressure of urgent tasks requiring collaboration, communication, creativity and problem solving - a case of using our global skills in real life contexts.
August was supposed to be holiday time. It was form-filling and strategic meetings galore!
September saw the launch of our local school linking programme again, with a visit to Google for Social Media training thrown into the schedule (awesome!)
October brought us a lot of travelling within the UK - Liverpool, Manchester, London, to name a few destinations. Professional development, networking, new project planning and event coordination filled the diary.
What about In Others’ Shoes? How are things going?
Preparation for TPM 2 in Italy has commenced, with analysis of lesson plans, gathering relevant story book resources, and getting flights and accommodation booked, to name a few things. Of course, there is still loads to do!
Alongside the great ideas put forward about how to tackle the theme of migration through discovering history, using role play and thinking creatively, some resources have emerged as promising entry points.
There are the powerful visual images found in “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan https://vimeo.com/74292820
For younger children, the sensitively-written “My Name is not Refugee” by Kate Milner has great potential
Is there a way to make use of these stories and the innovative https://refugeerepublic.submarinechannel.com/ to explore the realities of refugee camp life?
Our partner schools in Germany and Italy have already devised student activities based around “The Raft” by Lucia Salemi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKT9AdqYesw and "War" by Janne Teller http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/War/Janne-Teller/9781471161476
Of course, we are keen to explore multiple perspectives and move beyond one-dimensional narratives. We need to look at the huge benefits of intercultural cooperation and understanding. We must learn to hold our assumptions lightly, challenge ourselves to embrace change, appreciate difference and reflect on our personal attitudes and values. This is one of the great lessons on offer to those prepared to embark on the Erasmus+ learning journey and apply it to the reality of daily life.
Well ... another busy academic year draws to an end.
Looking back, so much has happened since October 2017, when our In Others' Shoes project began. Project activity has largely been in short intensive bursts, when the team has come together, and then gone away to work independently.
On reflection, I am delighted with the progress made and feel that the project has influenced so much during that time - whether together or apart.
Personally, I have made a whole host of new friends, who I have the utmost love and respect for.
I had to laugh at a school training day, shortly after our last LTT event in May. No sooner had we started the session than the headteacher asked when the tea break was, as her teachers were tired and needed a rest. Our Erasmus+ teachers were dealing with very difficult concepts and vocabulary in a foreign language. The challenge level was immense - but we never heard anyone say they needed a rest!!
I feel that I now have a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers - how often we see them through a one dimensional lens, as victims, rather than human beings with many aspects to their identity and lives.
Derby now has a reception centre for newly arrived asylum seekers, staying here for just a few weeks, before moving elsewhere in UK. It was a pleasure to meet the community liaison coordinator, Rachael, and hear about the tremendous work going on helping new arrivals learn English and settle into British life. She was so interested in hearing about our European project and partners. Rachael understands the value of getting into schools and talking directly with young people.
More information can be found at https://www.migranthelpuk.org/
We discovered a keen appetite from local teachers to proactively deal with controversial issues in the curriculum. Being the lead partner in our Erasmus project has increased our confidence in delivering staff training on this theme. We applied the training we have received to develop a new course, focusing on critical thinking skills and using questions to explore sensitive issues - reaching more teachers in the process.
I feel that we wouldn't have attempted these teacher workshops without the great input and support provided by Flick and LIz on Philosophy for Children and the Global Teacher Award.
Partnerships with local schools, such as St Martin's School and Harrington Nursery, have been strengthened. The skills of our own staff and trustees further-developed, harnessed and enhanced. All due to our Erasmus project funding and opportunities.
So, the impact of our collaboration has had a knock-on effect to many aspects of our work here in Derby - it just takes a little reflection and awareness to see the bigger picture, overlaps and connections. Looking forward to more!
Guest blog, written by:
Dr Rob Rodgers, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Global Education Derby
Just been thinking ... if more people had experienced our project, then I reckon Brexit wouldn't be on the agenda!
It was great at our last meet up (in May), to see the buzz and excitement on the first night, as we met up with old friends. Catching up and sharing just seems to happen. It was good to meet new colleagues, who soon became new friends.
The sessions were great and well-organised by our dynamic duo, Yvonne and Lisa. Goody bags showed we already know what works for us. Heart-felt, not too serious, people orientated. Flag waving rather than heavy report writing!
The sessions took us through Global Learning, Philosophy for Children, action planning and trying to find a common language and project plans we can all buy into. Realising that some things are really hard, even if English is your first language, and automatically supporting our friends as they grapple with high level English and concepts.
But "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" - a saying from my youth. But we made sure we weren't at any risk of being dull boys or girls. Shopping, meals, shopping, English stately home and customs, shopping, a drama workshop, shopping and English food in all its glory. Intense hard work broken up with opportunities to relax, reflect, absorb and process complex information – all packed in to a few action packed days.
A wonderful opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal of Fugee by Theatre Studies students from Derby University and share discussions with them on the role of empathy and research to understand migration in greater depth. What a bonus that was!
So the stay went far too quickly. Sad departures, but we left not duĺl boys and girls! Better teachers for sure, better Europeans for sure, better philosophers we hope so, better shoppers for sure (!) and more able to identify good English food and drink.
Thank you to all of our European friends for sharing a week of your valuable time with us, thank you for Facebook and WhatsApp communications! We are very much looking forward to our visit to Italy next year. God bless you, my European brothers and sisters.
Guest blog, written by:
Liz Hibberd MA | BA | PGCE, Education Consultant & Freelance Trainer, Refugee Integration and Support Specialist / Development Assistant, Manchester City of Sanctuary
We are really pleased that Liz has written this blog for our project.
If you would like to contact Liz about her work with refugees and asylum seekers, her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Building teacher confidence
My thesis analysed how confident teachers felt engaging in this topic and whether they felt able to discuss it and teach their students about it. Whilst it wasn’t unanimous, there was a large proportion of the teachers interviewed and who completed my survey that did not feel confident despite appreciating the need to do so. This was partly due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the issues and concern about how to integrate a sensitive and potentially controversial topic like this in to lessons. This is something I’m trying to work on now, by developing a series of training sessions that I can deliver to schools to introduce both teachers and students. Primarily to develop a more nuanced understanding of the myriad of layers that are involved in this area but also to make the arrival of refugee and asylum seeking children easier.
Global Learning and Development Education are key pedagogies that enable this insight, to critically question and appropriately challenge the status quo and begin the journey towards a greater understanding of the other and the removal of the ‘single story’ narrative.
Contact the author of this blog, Liz Hibberd: email@example.com
Safe Passage Community Mentor: http://safepassage.org.uk
Education and Training Lead - Refugee Children's Centres https://refugeechildrenscentres.org/
Your local Development Education Centre could help you, if you want to find out more. https://globalclassrooms.org.uk/