Teachers’ Mobility to Heraklion, Crete (Greece)
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
The purpose of this mobility was to participate in the course entitled Reducing Early School Leaving at the Oloklisori Lifelong Learning Centre, an institution that provides education to both students and teacher as well as to other social groups. In this course we initially dealt with the role of the school in the treatment and prevention of dropouts and the contribution of school not only in learning, but also to the positive development and promotion of mental health of students. The focus was on an early psycho- pedagogical intervention which contributes to the integration of all students, highlighting the role of cooperation and supportive relationship of the school and the family.
Different methodologies were presented in this course to train teachers to deal with these students, fundamentally based on active listening and empathy, intended to teach us to put ourselves in the shoes of students who do not want to study: look for the causes, what happens in their lives so that they reject study as a way of overcoming and moving forward in life.
We find that there may be multiple causes, but that the most socially disadvantaged students will be the most affected: migrants, students of different ethnic groups, uprooted, families with few socio-economic and cultural resources.
These are students with very low self-esteem and with a family environment that does not usually favor study as a priority.
In these cases, in which day-to-day survival becomes complicated, the school must be a safe place, not just another hell, a place where the school community: students and teachers contribute to their well-being, to being able to sow in them the seed of self-esteem, confidence and love for study and knowledge, recognizing it as a way to improve and as an opportunity to improve in life.
It is very important for this to be carried out, that families, school and political institutions commit to change. The former supporting teachers in their actions, promoting and facilitating the integration of all students, cooperative work between the different subjects and teachers, allocating special classrooms for social gatherings with these students, promoting different cultural activities that integrate all the cultures present in the centers. Institutions providing social support to families.
We have to be aware and be very clear that the causes of early school leaving are not only related to the ability of these students to study, but also how they, their families, the environment, the institutions and ourselves as teachers manage these difficulties. The lack of support, of self-esteem, of the possibility of seeing a better future, make these students give up without trying.
This is where teachers must become friends, supporters, psychologists and coaches of their students, accompanying them in their training process, encouraging them at all times until they reach their goal. As teachers we have to be aware that these students need above all and above all a lot of emotional support.
Monday 5th of July
The participating teachers, coming from many different countries such as Poland, Latvia, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Croatia and others had an introductory meeting. This was the time for icebreakers and social activities meant to get to know each other, followed by an explanation of practical arrangements. Also, participants discussed the differences between the educational systems in their original countries. To finish with, the teachers enjoyed a group guided visit to Heraklyon to get to know its cultural landmarks, such as the Old City, the Cathedral and the Koules Venetian Fortress.
Old Venetian Harbor of Heraklion
The church of Agios Titos
The beautiful cathedral of Agios Minas
Morosini Fountain (Lion's Fountain)
Tuesday 6th of July
Communication skills. Developing skills to understand other People - Active Listening & Empathy Listening and questioning and developing a positive environment in the classroom. Listening skills: Effective interpersonal skills. Emotional Intelligence at class Self regulation Self motivation. Social awareness
The teacher trainer in charge of delivering the lesson was Kostis Flouris. During this session, Mr Flouris dealt with the importance of developing skills to understand other people and also with emotional intelligence in class.
The participants learnt about active listening and empathy and how to develop a positive environment in the classroom. Effective interpersonal skills are crucial in the class ecosystem and, although it might sound challenging, teachers shouldn’t be afraid of conflict as it is something good. It teaches us to learn from the difference and it is an excellent occasion for building stronger links. Dealing with frustration and anger is one of the most important skills teachers need to learn. This implies acknowledging other people’s feelings in class when they are bored, angry, etc. without judging or trying to find a solution.
One of the quotes of the day was:
“The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the Personality Ethic) rather than from our own inner core (the Character Ethic), others will sense that duplicity. We simply won't be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence” Stephen Covey
Wednesday 7th of July 2021
Awareness of strengths and obstacles Change management & taking action. Mindfulness & Acceptance Positive Emotions. Establishing a coaching pedagogy in the classroom - the positive coaching ethos that motivates and inspires pupils to achieve. Psychological games
Wednesday’s session was also taught by Mr Kostis Flouris. The contents were: Awareness of strengths and obstacles, and establishing a coaching pedagogy in the classroom, including change management & taking action.
He shared some interesting tips from the Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET) by Thomas Gordon Training Institute, including the Behavioural Window, a g
raphic model used to connect another person's behaviour to the skills studied. It deals with the answer to the question “Who owns a problem?” and it’s divided into four sections. Two of them include what we call Acceptable Behaviour and the other two the Non-Acceptable Behaviour, regulated by the Line of Acceptance, which varies from teacher to teacher and from person to person. When we deal with conflict in class we should step back and ask ourselves. “Do I really have a problem?”
In addition, the class dealt with the difference between empathy and sympathy, being empathy the desirable quality a teacher must have.
Thursday 8th of July
During this day the teachers had study visits.
The visit to the Historical Museum of Crete was really interesting to understand this island most relevant historical events.
Visit the Natural History Museum of Crete to explore the different ecosystems of the island. On the seismic table, you can experience the sensation caused by earthquakes.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum houses the largest collection of Minoan artifacts in the world, making it one of the largest and a must-see in Europe for history buffs. inside, you can see the more than 15,000 exhibits from the Knossos, Neolithic and Roman times, as you wish, at your own pace.
The Minoan palace of Knossos, one of the main attractions to see in Crete
About 5 kilometers from Heraklion you can see the remains of the palace of Knossos. Built around 2000 BC, it was the political and cultural center of the Minoan civilization. Knossos is considered the oldest city in Europe and in its heyday had up to 100,000 inhabitants.
Friday 9 July 2021
Presentation of educational-psychological methods to support students with learning difficulties and those who exhibit problematic behaviors such as: Training techniques with alternative forms of learning to prevent school failure handling methods for students with specific characteristics such as disobedience, aggression, hyperactivity, etc.
Teachers aware of the causes of interruption of school and presentation of factors such: Social factors (poverty, working hours outside school, etc.) Family factors (low family educational level, family problems, lack of support, etc.) Personal factors (living conditions, low self-esteem, stress anxiety, mental health problems, etc.). ç
Teachers factors (learning difficulties, lack of an appropriate curriculum, strict training programs etc.) Training of trainers in programs to acquire skills to develop children psychosocial interpersonal skills (solving social / interpersonal problems and management and interpersonal and inner conflicts) Training of trainers in anger management programs, which are considered the basis for manifestation of interpersonal problems, leading to school abandonment
In order to solve the early school leaving, it is not only necessary the collaboration between schools and families, but institutions must also be aware of this situation and collaborate, become more involved with the serious social problem generated by early school leaving, which leads to people without training, marginal, with zero chances of improvement in life. The cooperation between all the institutions is necessary to solve the most serious cases, in which poverty, marginality, lack of resources and the formation of families do not favor the studies of their children.
As an idea, we were informed that in some centers "The day of the different cultures present in the center" is held, in which the center has a place where families can meet and present food, clothing, typical traditions of their country of origin. This can draw families into the school community, making them more involved in their children's education. We think it's a great idea.
Saturday 10 July 2021
Information on supporting cooperation procedures between teachers and psychologists and counseling structures in the community and the family for the early prevention of school abandonment, such as: Counseling and emotional support of education to cultivate skills such as empathy, active listening, the perception of the child's inner speech, beyond overt reactions Specialized and personalized interventions that are based exclusively on the specific personality characteristics, as well as family and personal history of the child
Systemic approach based on school-family-community collaboration
We made several role-playing games in which we played different roles such as: students, families, high school management, institutions, from which we approach the behavior of students with difficulties from different perspectives, which is the one that tends to drop out early and school failure. This helped us to put ourselves in their shoes and understand how they might feel, the causes of their behavior and why they refuse to study. We understood that many times families do not know or cannot help and the role of teachers as psychologists and coaches of the students is very important.
Sunday 11 July
Erasmus+ program : Course Evaluation Certifications
We cover a form for the evaluation of the course: adaptability of the contents presented in the classes to the objectives set. Tips for applicants to improve the course.
We were given the certificates of attendance to the course.
En este curso aprendimos fundamentalmente a ponernos en la piel del alumnado que no quiere estudiar: buscar las causas, qué les pasa en su vida para que rechacen el estudio como modo de superación y de avanzar en la vida.
Nos encontramos que puede haber múltiples causas, pero que el alumnado más desfavorecido socialmente va a ser el más perjudicado: migrantes, alumnos de diferentes etnias, desarraigados en los países en los que se encuentran ahora, familias de pocos recursos socio-económicos y culturales.
Este es alumnado con muy baja autoestima y con un ambiente familiar que no suele favorecer el estudio como una prioridad.
En estos casos, en los que la supervivencia del día a día se les hace complicada, el colegio debe ser un lugar seguro, no un infierno más, un lugar en el que la comunidad escolar: otro alumnado y profesores contribuyan a su bienestar, para poder sembrar en ellos la semilla de la autoestima, de la confianza y del amor al estudio y al saber, reconociéndolo como una vía para la superación y como una oportunidad de mejorar en la vida.
Es muy importante que para que esto se lleve a cabo las familias, las instituciones escolares y políticas se comprometan en el cambio, unas apoyando al profesorado en sus acciones, promoviendo y facilitando la integración de todo el alumnado, el trabajo cooperativo entre las diferentes materias y profesores, destinando aulas especiales para reuniones sociales con este alumnado, promoviendo diferentes actividades culturales que integren todas las culturas presentes en los centros y las otras apoyando socialmente a las familias.
Tenemos que ser conscientes y tener muy claro que las causas del abandono escolar temprano no sólo están relacionadas con la capacidad de dicho alumnado para el estudio, si no es como ellos, sus familias, el entorno, las instituciones y nosotros mismos como profesores gestionamos dichas dificultades. La falta de apoyo, de autoestima, de la posibilidad de ver un futuro mejor, hacen que este alumnado se rinda sin intentarlo.
Es aquí donde el profesorado debe convertirse en amigo, respaldo, psicólogo y couch de su alumnado, acompañándolo en su proceso de formación, animándolo en todo momento hasta la consecución de su meta. Siendo conscientes de que este alumnado necesita mucho soporte emocional, mucho afecto antes que los estudios.