Summary: The hereby paper comprises an example of best practices within an Erasmus+ program in Germany, a great experience I had with my colleagues last December 2022. The focus on this in training activity for teachers was to exchange common experiences, opinions and find ways and apply various methods of socialization to class and students in order to push their limits, increase self-confidence and overcome their issues through interactive and exciting physical activities and sports. For a better understanding of the project requirements, a description of daily activities is offered, the focus being put on the skills and competences acquired within the project with the hope of going on our professional activity with more projects of the kind in the near future.
Why Erasmus+ Programme? Because the answer stands in the general objective of the Erasmus+ programme which is to support, through lifelong learning, the educational, professional and personal development of people in education, training, youth and sport, in Europe and beyond, thereby contributing to sustainable growth, quality jobs and social cohesion, to driving innovation, and to strengthening European identity and active citizenship.
Much more, the Programme has certain specific objectives as follows:
- promote learning mobility of individuals and groups, as well as cooperation, quality, inclusion and equity, excellence, creativity and innovation at the level of organisations and policies in the field of education and training;
- promote non-formal and informal learning mobility and active participation among young people, as well as cooperation, quality, inclusion, creativity and innovation at the level of organisations and policies in the field of youth;
- promote learning mobility of sport staff, as well as cooperation, quality, inclusion, creativity and innovation at the level of sport organisations and sport policies.
As regards our activity as teachers and educators at Sports Program Highschool, we are constantly interested not only in developing competences in our students, but also keeping record of their social and emotional development, maintaining resilience and promoting their wellbeing.
In this respect, there are several local, national and international projects our school is involved in. But I would like to mention only our last international project, an Erasmus project coordinated by Germany and which basically has taken place physically three times up to now and once virtually during the pandemic period, that is since 2019 up to 2022. Last December 2022, a group of 7 teachers including myself from Sports Program Highschool- Bistrița, together with our schoolmaster participated to an in-training multi-national activity entitled ”Involving Youth –Strenghtening Youth Participation Through Sports”, beside the other countries involved in the project, namely Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary and Germany, the coordinating country -Youth organisation from Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany.
The goal of this training course was to promote the international exchange with specialists in the children and youth work. Moreover, the invited specialists were confronted with the actual situation from the educational system both as for children and teenagers coming from the European countries participating in the project, focusing on youths and their say and requirements both locally and nationally. Furthermore, the focus was put on the educational practices, the exchange of examples of good practices and youths`getting involved in solving issues through sports. An essential point of this international exchange was to encourage and back support children and teenagers to be creative, come up with practical solutions in problem solving, be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, push their limits, come up with solutions and develop social competences and get to be responsible citizens.
The activities within the camp took place on five different dates as follows:
• First day- 5th of December 2022- the kick-off meeting, getting to know each other and thematic introduction, wishes and expectations; getting to know Schierke actively, the first workshop consisting in cooperative games, participation methods and inclusive sports;
• Second day- 6th of December 2022 – the Bar Camp method was developed in the 2nd workshop which comprised examples and applications of the method which were presented in a Game Lab; afterwards the participants applied the before mentioned method ,exchanged opinions on certain topics and discussed about their experiences and their everyday life challenges; in the evening there was organized an international dinner where all participants introduced their schools, cities and countries, customs and traditions, traditional food, music and dances.
• Third day-7th of December2022- a field trip and a hike were held in order to familiarize the participants with the surroundings, the area of Harz mountains, then a visit to the Christmas fair from Wernigerode was organized where participants could enjoy the traditional German delicacies and buy handmade souvenirs.
• Fourth day-8th of December 2022- within the 2nd Game Lab, the second method, the World Café was presented, then applied in a non-formal context where examples of best practices were exchanged; the evening finished in a relaxed atmosphere on the ice skating rink from Schierke, Germany.
• Fifth Day-9th of December 2022- a guest speaker was invited to present a general knowledge game on how to protect the environment (a sample of which each country received as a gift to apply in their institutions back home), then roleplay of the same game and the final results of the training in an open session where there were checked the wishes and expectations stated on the first day; the evening finished in a cordial atmosphere and a commonly organized closing event.
At present, we look forward to the next meetings within our K2 Erasmus + projects in order to continue maintaining the concept of lifelong education, as a motivational and resourceful area so as to make the didactic activity more efficient.
As teachers and people trainers, we are constantly looking for interactive, modern activities which can offer our students that wellbeing we all need especially now when times are problematic and people`s lives are at stake. Nowadays, when the mask has made us feel the world around us less and less, we have been lucky to be part of such a useful and informative physical training camp where we could bring back all our life senses, pay more attention to what we see, what we hear, touch or smell, but above all to what we feel. This way we could realize that we are an endless resource of knowledge, creativity, will power, moral strength and much more, the capacity to adapt to people, life and contexts.
As acquired competences within this training course, I would mention the development of social and emotional ones, the reinforcement of resilience, then the capacity of self-reflection the efficient management of time, information and at last but not least the development of self-learning process.
In the near future, we expect to go back to our normal lives, physically interact and take advantage of the opportunities Erasmus + projects will definitely offer us.