More and more children with special educational needs, requiring special care, are involved in the teaching-educating process of public educational institutions. The composition of students within schools is varied, and one of the most important parts of the inclusive educational methods applied within an institution is effective cooperation, for which teachers should be prepared, too. Recognised with a quality award, the Erasmus+ project conducted by the Mezőszél Street Primary School of Pécs addressed that issue. We asked Project Coordinator Szilvia Jutasi and Professional Coordinator Nikolett Lombosi about the details.
Foreign Teacher’s Courses for Integrated Education
Institution: Városközpont Primary School – Mezőszél Street Primary School of Pécs
Project title: Faster, more effectively, in cooperation
Coordinator: Szilvia Jutasi and Nikolett Lombosi
The project is called ‘Faster, more effectively, in cooperation’. What does this title mean in terms of implementation?
We are very much characterised by cooperation. We have always been able to work with schools in various locations. We have colleagues who are ready to sacrifice some of their free time to participate in the project tasks, but we have also assigned a fixed time in their timetable to allow the participants to meet regularly. This kind of cooperation greatly helped effictiveness. Also, common thinking and an even workload made the successful implementation of the project and faster improvement possible.
What mobilities have the school’s teachers been involved in?
In the first year of the project, we attended linguistic and methodological courses; in the second year we studied best practices at Spanish, Finnish, German and Portuguese schools, and we also attended further, mostly ICT courses. We learnt, for example, about relationships between cultures, stereotypes, prejudices, equal opportunity, the method of absolute solmisation, applying cooperative methods in teaching music, as well as about robotics and using ICT tools in the classroom.
What experiences have you gained from the mobilities implemented?
One of our main goals is to improve the foreign language competence of our colleagues so they can communicate with teachers from other countries and therefore acquire knowledge which is only available in a foreign language. The new practices learnt include effective methods of integrating and developing SEN students and ones with other disadvantages. We have expanded our educational horizons, and experienced the potential positive effects of tolerance, patience and openness on the integration of students with special educational needs. We have also seen interdisciplinary cooperation worth following in the field of talent management and improving students' creativity.
How can you use the new methods learnt in the classroom and in school life?
Experiences from both the courses and the job shadowing visits will be integrated into our own educational practice, and we will maintain the professional relations established. The new methods can be applied in foreign language classes, focusing on improving pronunciation and oral skills, as opposed to the priority of correct grammar. Experiential education, the introduction of situation exercises to enhance an accepting attitude, the use of music and sound files to ensure disadvantaged and troubled children a sense of achievement, e-learning in teaching arts and drawing, as well as using software in the classroom to support motivating teaching and learning – all these shed new light on the experience of both teaching and learning.
What was the most memorable thing for you about the project? What was your greatest achievement?
The best memories are perhaps the deep friendships and relationships, both professional and personal, established abroad, which we have maintained and nourished since. The greatest achievement was that we could work on the project as a team. We appreciated it that our supporting team didn't only consist of language teachers, but also elementary school teachers, science, art and music teacher colleagues, and even our older teachers returned to the school bench to learn languages. After the language courses, there was more willingness to visit schools and start methodology courses. We became able to renew our knowledge independently and constantly. We learnt about the opportunities of “free learning”, which we use to make our students take more responsibility for their studies and reduce early school dropout rates. Our social sensitivity and intercultural skills have also improved, which plays an important role in the integration of our SEN and disadvantaged students. Observing the foreign practices gave us new ideas about how to expand the opportunities of integration. We saw forms of learning organisation where students worked together, in cooperation, out of intrinsic motivation, typically focusing on some practical, everyday issue.
How did you share your experiences with your colleagues?
We consider presenting best practices important. We had various opportunities to do that, including professional days and discussions. After each mobility, we invited the entire teaching staff to our reporting presentations, held in the morning or in the afternoon hours, as was convenient for everyone. The new methods learnt were presented to our colleagues through classroom visits, and our reports were generally available on our website.
How did the project affect the life of your institution?
The project affected the entire school. We could observe an improved effectiveness in teaching, the integration of best practices into our educational work, as well as the expansion of our international relations. Media publicity enhanced the reputation and attractiveness of our school, justifying the active, diverse and innovative work we had done. We as a primary school are proud that our students and teachers are so actively involved in Erasmus+ programmes.
What long-term benefits may the mobilities implemented have?
Based on the experiences gained from our former projects, with regard to our past, current, and, relying on them, our future mobility projects, we consider it important that our new programmes should bring their benefits along with the former ones, relying on their strengths, and mutually enhancing each other as a whole. We don’t mean to think in terms of separate projects. We think that, for the sake of sustainable outcomes, it’s better to build our projects consciously on each other, which greatly serves our school’s quality improvement goals.
Tempus Public Foundation / Erasmus+ Mobility team
The project sets an example by defining their goals according to the school's real requirements and improvement needs, in a detailed and perfectly structured manner.
It is exemplary that they do not think in terms of separate projects, but think that, for the sake of sustainable outcomes, it is better to build their projects consciously on each other, which serves the school’s quality improvement goals best.
The project sets an example by defining the goals of the institution and the staff involved according to the school's real requirements and improvement needs, in a detailed and perfectly structured manner.
Last modified: 16-04-2019