On the whole our schools are not user-friendly places. Regardless of the location, across Europe, we tend to perceive them as hostile and oppressive buildings and places. In order to define what their weakest points are and what demends improvement, students took part in a debate. They listed the shortcomings first:
too crammed classrooms, too much furniture and not enough space to walk and move
tables and chairs in poor condition, not comfortable enough
too much teachers’ rubbish!
decorations are boring and hardly ever updated
narration as the main teaching strategy
not working clocks
too much copying
only one message board in the school
teacher’s-centred lessons prevail over student’s-centred classes
What are the students’ expectations:
less crowded classes
more spacious classrooms
decorations changed frequently, displaying students’ works and projects
designing one classroom for projects and team work
special area for silent relax
more comfortable desks and chairs
doing things and performing rather than copying and listening
some additional information boards, classrooms are better labelled
tablets used on a daily basis
more games, performances, events which would truly engage the students
appreciating their initiativeness
During the mobility the students attended the lecture delivered by Adam Parzyński, the headteacher of Primary School no 27 in Gdansk, the school leading in the city in terms of initiativeness and resourcefulness. He presented us some of the ideas of using the space wisely and effectively, relying on students’ skills and their creativity. Afterwards students made their own projects of ideal classrooms and they recorded the podcast on making a school more favourable place. They researched for the information in the following areas:
How to use the time spent in school more effectively? How to learn how to learn? During the mobility students could learn about new ways of taking notes and presenting them in a clear way and they were also exposed to different forms of teaching and testing such as games. Gamification is defined as a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements. Quizzes and escape rooms increase user emotional engagement, they provide fun, cooperation and rivalry at the same time. Generally it has a positive effect on individuals and for building the team. Another thing which contributes to an academic success is knowing one’s good points, abilities and recognizing one’s own learninng style. To find out what their dominant style is, students solved the simplified test of multiply intelligence and they discovered what their best way for studying is. The test is available here:
To learn efficiently we have to know how to manage our time. To sum up the workshop led by Małgorzata Solowska, the headteacher of Liceum no9 in Gdansk, the students made handouts reminding us how to manage our time wisely, that is:
setting a time limit to each task
using a to- do- list, but not skipping tasks
using applications to plan your tasks and ticking off the already-performed-ones
delegating tasks, sharing work if it is possible
while working in a team appointing a person responsible for time-checking
replacing your bad habits with good daily keystone habits, such as exercising, learning languages or developing daily routines
The main source of stress seems to be school. Traditional ways of teaching, crammed sessions of learning just before an important test, not creative enough opportunities for practice and growth are likely to build stressful situations rather than eliminate them. Visual thinking is the way to rehearse or introduce the information with the use of drawings, visual notes, mind maps. This might involve taking visual notes, or drawing a mind map. By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind. Vitia Bartosova Hoffman, a former basket player, now a teacher and a specialist in sketchnoting agreed to lead the workshop in sketchnoting and provided specialist knowledge at the highest level. Students were taught how to illustrate ideas, organize their thougths, did a short course in lettering, learned a new way of studying, and, finally, were able to present stress, its causes, symptoms and ways of relieving it with the use of visual notes.
We started our first meeting from ice breaking activities which involved checking how well students know the human body, its systems, nutrients, and vitamins it is made of. Escape room games do never bore people — puzzle ideas have no limitations in terms of creativity and entertainment. Not only did they break the first language barriers between them, but also were able to develop cooperation and creativity skills as the objects and clues were hidden and discovering them demanded some team work. Some Christmas decorations were also used as hints to feel the atmosphere of the holidays appraoching.
As the coordinator of the project Szkoła Podstawowa no35 z Oddziałami Sportowymi organized the first meeting of the teachers from the partner schools.
The teachers took part in two activities, one of them was ‚Odyssey of Mind’ workshop, performed by two licensed coaches. The workshop consisted of numerous mind teasing and creativity wakening activities which demanded collaborative work. The tasks involved logical thinking, drama activities, solving verbal spontanous problems and hands-on puzzles. It was a good chance to know each other better and collect some good ideas for introducing some creativity and out of the box thinking to our regular school activities.
The next activity, to which we invited our fellow teachers from other primary and secondary schools, was CLIL workshop, performed by Hanna Kryszewska, trainer at DOCED at University of Oxford, University of Gdansk and the editor of Humanising Language Teaching website magazine. We were presented an educational approach based on the integrated learning of foreign language and content. Acquiring foreign language through subject-related contents is supposed to encourage learning, what is one of the objectives of our European project.
Welcome to Avoid Stress. Achieve Purpose blog. Here we will publish all the activities of the international project funded by the European Commission. There are four school involved in the project:
Szkoła Podstawowa nr 35 z Oddziałami Sportowymi from Gdansk, Poland
IC Diotti from Casamaggiore, Italy
Agrupamento de Escolas de Amares from Braga in Portugal
Colegio Santa Isabel from Alquerías in Spain
The main objective of this Erasmus+ project is increasing number of students who achieve better academic results, feel less stressed and whose wellbeing improved. That can be achieved by acquiring knowledge, adapting heathy lifestyle, worthier relationships and ability to achieve one’s objectives. Follow us!
The project will be also developed on the eTwinnnig platform.