The Pestalozzi Programme is the Council of Europe’s programme for the professional development of teachers and education actors. At the core of the Pestalozzi Programme is the person with a focus on democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The programme aims to put these values into the practice of education and to support member states in the move from education policy to education practice in line with these values. The programme promotes a learner-centred methodology that supports collaborative work on issues of common concern.
Our school has a long standing link to the Programme. In July 2015, all our teachers participated in a Pestalozzi Programme training event organised within the in-service professional development programme for teachers in Malta and a number of teachers have also participated in training offered by the Programme abroad. Over the last few days, Malta hosted a training event focusing on the Evaluation and Assessment of Transversal Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge. During such training events, participants are invited to create training material which can be used in different contexts. The participants, including Ms Maria Mc Namara, our College Principal, were invited to pilot their activities at our school.
So, on Thursday 26 May, our school was “invaded” by some 30 educators coming from all over Europe. Our Year 4 and Year 5 pupils had the opportunity to participate in an activity facilitated by one of the participants and to then provide feedback on the activity. The whole experience was incredibly rewarding on so many levels. It gave our students an opportunity to meet people hailing from all over, from Portugal to Belarus, Greece, Cyprus, Norway, Denmark, Georgia and many other countries. It was also an opportunity for us, as an educational community, to open ourselves to a much wider audience than we could possibly hope for under normal circumstance. It was extremely encouraging and rewarding to see this happening, to actually feel the cross-fertilization of minds opening up to such opportunities.
What was even more encouraging, were the comments from the foreign participants who thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The experience of piloting my activity with students was very gratifying, for me and for the students. This is the conclusion I have, after finishing this enriching experience. The students liked to collaborate, cooperate and were in constant teamwork. There was an empathy with the students. – Jacinta Maria Anunciação Santos, Portugal, Participant
I was one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to pilot an activity with your 5th grade. It was a great experience. The willingness of your students to actively participate, the helpfulness of teachers and yourself… and the excitement of all of us there. Visnja Rajic, Croatia, Training Co-Ordinator
It was really very inspiring and also challenging for participants. It is enriching when we have a module in a host country to visit a school and see how education for democracy is lived in situ. Participants had to adapt activities designed for adults to students of age 8 to 10; this was a learning experience in itself. The activities worked, students ‘got the point’ and this is another motivational result. Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard, Director of Studies, Pestalozzi Programme
Thank you for the opportunity you gave us! It was such an important and useful experience for us! It was an honor, yesterday, to be in your school! I felt like I was at home there! Kids were so nice and willing to help, to work with us, to cooperate! Cristina Anton, Romania, Participant
Special thanks to all who in some way or another helped to make this wonderful opportunity and experience possible – the Ministry for Education and Employment in Malta, the Pestalozzi Programme, the trainers, the participants, our teachers and students and the many individuals who support our efforts throughout!