EuroClio features in a brand new Compendium on inclusive education

Joke Van der Leeuw-Roord EUROCLIO , ,

Are you interested in inspiring opportunities for inclusive education? The brand new European Compendium of Inspiring Practices on Inclusive and Citizenship Education contains a wealth of ideas how to approach this issue. The Compendium addresses almost 190 national and international examples in five themes: fostering social, civic and intercultural competences, enhancing critical thinking and media literacy, supporting disadvantaged learners and promoting intercultural dialogue and last but not least European history education. Several practices are crosscutting and therefore you can for example find the work of the Cypriot Home for Cooperation, ran the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, a EuroClio Member organisation, under the theme fostering social, civic and intercultural competences.

This easy to navigate tool is brought together by the members of the European Training 2020 Working Group on Common Values and Inclusive Education over the period 2016-2020. It aims to support practitioners and policymakers to improve the inclusiveness of education and training systems across the EU. The inspiring practices come from Member States and Candidate countries, as well as from relevant EU agencies, stakeholder associations, social partners and international organisations. The ideas were presented during Working Group meetings in Brussels and Peer Learning Activities hosted by different Working Group members in the participating countries.

European history education is the fifth theme in the Compendium and it contains 11 examples of good work carried out by international and national civil society organisations. You can find work by the EuroClio Community such as In Europe Schools, Historiana and the Training Programme for History Teachers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The House of European History presents its programme Learn about the EU in 12 steps and the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe is present with the Joint History project.

All material is presented in small abstracts as well as a full description of the practice, the latter rich with links and references. An international editors group was responsible for collecting and portraying these practical examples, among them Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, EuroClio Founder and special Advisor. She was also asked to compose the thematic fiche responsible Building Bridges through Inclusive and Cross-border History Education by the same ET 2020 working group.

 

Quality education for all: Interview with Triantafillia Tatsiopoulou on teaching children with special needs

According to UNICEF, about 50 percent of children with special needs do not participate in education, compared to only 13 percent of their peers without disabilities. At EuroClio, we believe that all children are entitled to quality education, irrespective of their needs or backgrounds. Anna Ivanova, EuroClio trainee and student at The Hague University of Applied Schiences, reached out to Triantafillia Tatsiopoulou, a teacher at the Special High School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Thessaloniki, Greece, to learn about her experience of working in a school for children with special needs. 

Anna: Tell us about yourself and the school you teach in.

Triantafillia: I teach Ancient and Modern Greek, History and Latin at the Special High School for the Deaf of Thessaloniki. Our school is one of the three schools in Greece for students with hearing impairments, and the only one in the north of the country. It is very small: we only have about 30 students, aged between 13 and 20 years old. All of the students have some form of hearing loss, some are profoundly deaf. One or two students have a low form of autism. Apart from that, our students are happy and clever, like all children in all other schools.

Anna: Is your school so small in size because you cannot admit more students or because there are no students that want to join?

Triantafillia: Unfortunately, not that many students want to join our school. There are approximately 200 children with hearing loss in Thessaloniki, ranging from average to profound. Yet, our school only has about 30 pupils.

There are multiple reasons for that. In Greece, when a child has some kind of disability, they are required to undergo a medical examination, where a doctor advises the parents on how to approach the child’s condition. Usually, they are advised to start with speech therapy as soon as possible, which is very basic for everyone with hearing loss. Some doctors recommend them to choose a general school instead of a special one, so the child can stay in a familiar environment. Most parents follow this advice and send their children to a general school, where they are surrounded by other children from the neighbourhood and are not excluded from living a ‘normal’ life. In some general schools, pupils get assistance from school integration departments or special needs support teachers, who help them understand the material better. However, this kind of support is not offered everywhere, so hearing impaired students without it tend to be left behind and struggle with learning. 

Another reason is the stigma surrounding special schools. Some parents find it challenging to accept that their child has a disability, hence they prefer their children to attend a general school. A disability like hearing loss is invisible, so it can be hidden. That is why some parents choose to hide it instead of having to deal with the shame and stigma of a special school. Moreover, many parents are prejudiced against sign language. They forbid their children to use it and meet other deaf pupils who do so, hence they tend to prevent their children from attending a school that supports sign language. 

Furthermore, our school is located in a small village near Thessaloniki, and it is the only one in the north of Greece. For some students, it may be inconvenient to commute far to school, so they choose a general one that is closer to their home. 

Lastly, sometimes, parents of hearing-impaired children simply don’t even know that our school exists. Since doctors generally advise them to attend a general school, there is no way for parents to find out about us, unless they do the research themselves. We try to inform the parents through Deaf Communities, but we find it difficult to reach the parents of such children because we cannot know who they are.

Anna: What is it like to work with these pupils, do you generally have a good relationship with them?

Triantafillia: If you were able to visit us, you would see that our school is not different from the rest. We follow the general curriculum, meaning that the material is the same. Our school has strict rules that all students must follow. This is due to the fact that some of the pupils, despite being very clever, have not developed the language well enough. Because of that, they struggle to express their thoughts or feelings, so in a way, the teacher has to guess what the student actually means. At the same time, some students are less proficient in sign language than others: they lack the full development of a first language, so developing a second language, the Greek language, poses some complications. This, in turn, makes it difficult for them to communicate with others. 

Generally, we have a great relationship with the students, and they enjoy coming to classes and participating in other activities. Our school is very ‘hugging’ - deaf people enjoy physical contact, like hugging and touching. As well as jokes that they have in sign language, it is part of their culture. Our pupils love coming to school. We also have a boarding school which operates with many problems. Normally, we barely have absences. Although it is very different, I really like working with our students. It is a different, more sensitive form of communication, and it brings me joy.

Anna: Are there particular teaching techniques employed at your school?

Triantafillia: Teaching in sign language is part of the school’s tradition, as it is part of the deaf culture. Deaf and hard of hearing pupils have very different backgrounds and are very diverse in their ways of communication and learning. For this reason, our school supports both Greek sign language and Greek oral and written language. We always try to do the best for every child, hence we never force students to use Greek sign language if they are not comfortable with it or don’t know it well enough. If a child wants to learn Greek sign  language, other students help to teach them in everyday life, through informal conversations. 

We always talk to our students when teaching. Some of them are hard of hearing, which means that they are still able to use the language and partly hear. Moreover, all students, including those that are profoundly deaf, automatically read the lips of the teachers. That is why with the current Covid-19 measures in place, teachers use a face shield instead of a mouth mask: students have to see the mouth and the lips. 

As for history teaching, I prefer to take the pupils to the library. Students learn much better when they are able to see the material, so we strive to make the education highly visual. We make great use of smart boards to show visual aid content and videos. When working in class, students are divided into groups, where they can interact and work together on worksheets. The challenge for the teacher is to keep the students’ attention and keep them engaged, either through asking questions or writing something on the board. It is important to motivate them to get them involved in learning about the past.

Anna: What teachers work in your school? What kind of teacher training is required?

Triantafillia: In Greece, all teachers start from a general class in a general school. I had been teaching for about 7 years before I was transferred to work in this school. I liked it a lot, so I decided to stay.

In order to work in a special school, educators are required to have a postgraduate degree in special education. Other than that, knowledge of sign language is obligatory in our school, and most of us know Braille. A lot of people want to work in special education, so all of our teachers have chosen to work here. 

Anna: Do you think that you get more work than teachers in general schools?

Triantafillia: Teachers in general education get more pressure from the Ministry of Education, as they have to stick to the curriculum and follow certain rules. Even though our school follows the general curriculum, we have flexibility due to their special needs. Therefore, our teachers have to be creative, come up with their own lesson plans or develop worksheets. We have to work hard to come up with ideas that will help students understand the material and expand their knowledge. So, I would not say that we have more work, but we definitely have a different kind of work.

Anna: What kind of extracurricular activities does take place in your school?

Triantafillia: Every year, we run multiple programs and projects in our school. One of our best projects is the Sign Choir, which made its first appearance in 2014, introducing a new kind of singing through signs. Collaborating with other choirs or music bands, the Sign Choir is interpreting the lyrics in signs, offering a new perspective and showing that music is a global way of communication. Students really like this project and always enjoy being involved in it.

The year 2013 was dedicated to the 150-year anniversary of Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis. Two of our students composed poems in sign language, inspired by his poems “An old man” and “Candles”. The students transferred all these ideas in sign language, making the poems visible.

One of the most innovative school activities was the making of a short film, inspired by the silent movies. “The Mess” was the result of collaboration between our school and the local Lyceum of Panorama Thessaloniki, with the help of students of the School of film of the University of Thessaloniki. A reunion of a class gives the chance to one of the classmates to make amends in life, yet an unexpected incident takes place that leads to a big mess.

Lastly, the school has had the chance to work with Signdance Collective, a touring performance company with a culturally diverse team of experienced deaf and disabled artists at the helm. The company directors pioneered the “sign dance theatre”, a fusion of sign theatre, dance, and live original music. In 2009, the Signdance Collective designed a third performance, with the children dancing and singing at the same time, accompanied by live music. Called “Dancing with ….sign”, the theme was a neighborhood, groups of children getting together and the relationships between them. 

The school also has a dance team, The Dream Dancers. Our students have done multiple dance performances, like hip-hop or traditional Greek dances. Last year, they appeared in Reflection of Disability on Art, a festival about people with special needs and their abilities in art.

Students love being involved in these kinds of projects and initiatives. For us, it is important to show that they are in no way different from other children: they are able to do the same things as others. It is important for them to feel that they have the same advantages and even disadvantages as everyone else. We try to achieve that through these programs and activities. Even though there are many obstacles, we try our best.

Strategies for Inclusion Final Training, Summer School Organised in Metlika, Slovenia

Jaco Stoop Project Updates

Last week, the final combined training for the project Strategies for Inclusion took place in Metlika, Slovenia, from the 9th to the 15th of July 2018. The meeting was organised by EuroClio, by the Slovenian History Teachers’ Association, and by Zavod za gluhe in ngalusne Ljubliana, one of the partners in the project. It was realised with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, and it was attended by representatives of the partners in the project, as well as by the trainers and by the members of the Special Interest Groups on Motivation and Learner Variability, and on  Blind and Partially Sighted and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.

In addition to that, the meeting incorporated the fourth Regional Summer School. Because of this incorporation of the Regional Summer School into the project training, EuroClio was able to fund the participation of representatives from HTA’s from Southeast Europe. In addition, four educators were selected through an open call to participate in the training. In total, the training was attended by 55 participants, from a total of 23 different countries. The mix of Special Interest Group members and other educators which were rather new to the topic of inclusive education caused interesting discussions and provided learning opportunities for everyone. All the participants, at the end of the training, recognized an increased awareness of what determines high quality and inclusive history and citizenship education, gained thanks to the sharing of experiences, practices, and resources throughout the training.

The meeting consisted of five full working days with different programme elements, and was the perfect opportunity for EuroClio, the Special Interest Group members, and the Partners, to discuss and show what has been done throughout the development of the project. The project, in fact, which included the development of five different outputs: a Selection of Existing Resources and Recommendations, a Needs Assessment, a Collection of Practices, the creation of Educational Resources, and the production of Policy Recommendations, which will soon be shared on the EuroClio website. All such outputs fed into the rich programme of the training.

The programme included plenary sessions and workshops on various aspects of inclusive education, group discussions on challenges to inclusive education and possible, concrete solutions, a demonstration of Historiana, using the resources available on Europeana, and workshops using 9 of the 19 educational resources that have been developed, which will be shared on Historiana. During the training, various speakers intervened, such as Dr. Carrie Weston (University of East London), Steve Johnson (Cambridge Assessment), Arie Wilschut (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), Lise Kvande, together with three of her students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Jayne Pletser (International Baccalaureate). The programme of the meeting included also two Regional Workshops, hosted by Donika Xhemajli and Zvezdana Petrovic. In addition, a cultural programme was offered about the inclusion of Uskoki minorities in ancient Slovenia, followed by a lecture from the local historian Janez Weiss. Educators took also part in a visit to to the Slovene Ethnograhpic Museum in Ljubljana, and to the Elementary School Milke Šobar- Nataše, which offers curricula specifically designed for students with Special Education Needs.

At the end of the training, Special Interest Group members seized the opportunity to highlight the momentum gained by the project and by their now three years-experience in barriers to inclusive education, in the design of educational resources tackling such barriers. They expressed the desire to continue to work on the topic, sharing their practices and experience with other teachers throughout, and beyond, Europe.

Exciting Progress in Strategies for Inclusion Project

Partners of the Strategies for Inclusion project met in The Hague on 16-17 January to assess progress made so far and to review results on the work done with intellectual outputs of the project. Each partner has been working with intellectual outputs that help to make history and citizenship education more inclusive.

First phase of the project, including needs assessment study and collection of existing Resources, is almost done, and first results will be published online soon.

Needs assessment study to find out about the barriers to high-quality history and citizenship education has been conducted by EuroClio Ambassador Manuela Carvalho from School cluster Montemor-o-Velho. In the next stage each partner sets up local focus group interviews to further discuss and assess findings of the study. Based on the results of the needs assessment, the Dutch partner Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences will write policy recommendations.

Collection of existing resources, which EuroClio member CIVITAS from Armenia is coordinating, is finished and partners have written summary reports of the most useful resources. This selection of existing resources will be made available on EuroClio website soon.

Project Managers Judith Geerling and Aysel Gojayeva also updated partners on the development of educational materials made by Special Interest Group members. Finally, partners tested the interview form for collection of practices designed by EuroClio. Next, each partner will conduct interviews to collect useful inclusive practices.

For more information and updates visit our project page.

https://euroclio.eu/projects/strategies-for-inclusion/

Making History and Citizenship Education More Inclusive in London

On 7-12 November educators from 11 different countries met in London for the second combined special interest group meeting within the project “Strategies for Inclusion”.  Aim of this meeting was to develop and peer-review educational resources that the group members had been preparing for inclusive history and citizenship education.

Meeting was hosted by Open Society Foundation London office and Cass School of Education and Communities at the University of East London, and realised with the support by Erasmus+ and Open Society Foundations. In the welcoming speeches Hugh McLean, director of the Open Society Education Support Program and Dr. Carrie Weston, Associate Dean and Director of Learning and Teaching at UEL both stressed the importance of this unique project. According to them inclusive education is a subject that needs more attention, and that Strategies for Inclusion project has profound resonance with what is happening in the world today.

Together with EuroClio project managers Judith Geerling, Aysel Gojayeva, project advisor Steven Stegers and trainee Piia Lempiäinen the group worked to prepare the educational resources for future piloting. Project partner Manuela Carvalho presented the first results of the assessment of needs and resources for teachers to facilitate more inclusive education. The programme also included training sessions on inclusive assessment by Kala Parasuram, Assessment Access and Inclusion Manager at the International Baccalaureate, and on editing materials by independent editor Kay Coleman. During a visit to Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood the group was introduced to museum’s Special Education Needs programmes and inclusive approaches. One highlight of the week was a visit to Hampshire Secondary History Network, where Dr. Patricia Hanam, County Inspector and Adviser for History in Hampshire hosted the group. The day included getting to know Hampshire History Centre and Rights and Diversity Centre, as well as visit to Wildern School to see how inclusion works in a large secondary school. All of these programme elements stimulated thoughtful discussion on inclusive history and citizenship education among the group, and produced many new contacts in the UK.

Next Special Interest Group meeting will be held in Czechia in May 2017. Follow our project page for updates and news.

https://euroclio.eu/projects/strategies-for-inclusion/

Special Interest Group Meetings in Inclusive Education Will Meet in Warsaw

Jaco Stoop Project Updates

The project “Strategies for Inclusion” entered a new phase with the selection of team members for the special interest groups that will work on the development of educational materials that will focus on removing barriers to high-quality history and citizenship education. The materials will be developed by two groups, that will meet in parallel from 3-8 April in Warsaw, Poland at the Educational Research Institute. The special interest group on learner variability and motivation exists of educators from Czech Republic, Germany, Georgia, Greece and United Kingdom, and partner representatives from Agrupamento de Escolas Coimbra Centro (Portugal). The group focusing on students that are deaf and hard-of-hearing and/or blind and partially-sighted includes educators from Croatia, Estonia, Montenegro, and partner representatives from CIVITAS (Armenia), the Zavod za gluhe in naglušne school (Slovenia) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway). During the meeting the teams will get familiarized with the project outline, brainstorm on the concepts, identify the barriers they want to focus on, and visit special school in Warsaw. For more information on the project have a look at our project page.

Join our Special Interest Group in Inclusive Education – Deadline Extended!

Jaco Stoop Project Updates
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Have you ever thought about making history and citizenship education more inclusive and contributing to this process? We present interested educators an opportunity to apply to join one of the two special interest groups of “Strategies for Inclusion – Making high quality history and citizenship education more inclusive and accessible” project with an extended deadline.

We welcome applications for the special interest group focusing on “Blind and partially sighted and deaf and hard-of-hearing”. Extended Deadline for applications to this group is 15 February 2016.

The project has already started and will continue till 1 September 2018. The project is led by EuroClio in partnership with organizations from Armenia, Czech Republic, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. The goal of the project is to make high quality history and citizenship education more inclusive and accessible for learners, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

What do we mean by making history and citizenship education more inclusive?

Within the context of this project we understand inclusive education as removing barriers to learning and will focus specifically on removing barriers to learning high-quality history and citizenship education (as outlined in the EuroClio Manifesto (.pdf) and Recommendations of the Council of Europe). We expect to remove barriers related to language (for example by enriching vocabulary, concentrating on developing concepts), perspective taking (for example by teaching students to take other perspectives seriously, and developing a respect for difference), motivation (for example by constructing ties between past-present-future) and imagining a past that is no longer there (for example by looking at lives of ordinary people). The special interest groups will work collaboratively on the development of teaching strategies and learning activities and other resources that educators can use to remove these barriers, based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning. In addition, the special interest groups will provide input for policy recommendations to address those issues that stand in the way of high-quality history and citizenship education but are outside of the control of those educators who are directly working with learners.

What are special interest groups?

In the project two special interest groups are formed, focusing on blind and partially sighted:

  • “Blind and partially sighted and deaf and hard-of-hearing”
  • “Learner variability and motivation

Candidates can apply for one of the special interest groups. We are looking for 4 team members for each special interest group. They will join those team members who have already been identified in an earlier stage of the development of this project proposal. In total, each of the special interest groups will consist of 10 to 12 members.

What kind of candidates are we looking for?

Members of the special interest groups should be intrinsically motivated

  • To join an effort that addresses the challenge of inclusion in history and citizenship education.
  • To co-author educational resources specifically designed to make history and citizenship more inclusive and suited to all learners.
  • To have working level of English.

Preferences will be given to textbook authors, researchers, and history and citizenship educators at primary and secondary education levels.

How to apply?

To apply, please send your CV, Letter of Motivation, Letter of Support from your school, institute or association to Aysel Gojayeva before 15 February 2016. Please, indicate in your letter of motivation the name of the special interest group you are referring to. The candidates will be contacted about the results of the selection within one month after the receipt of the applications.

Additional Information

  • What is offered to the members of the special interest groups?
  • What are expected from the members of the special interest groups?
  • How will be selection done?

Download the document below  to find answers to these questions.

Call for Joining Special Interest Group in Inclusive Education

Jaco Stoop Opportunities, Project Updates
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Have you ever thought about making history and citizenship education more inclusive and contributing to this process? We are encouraging you to apply to join the special interest groups of a new EuroClio project called “Strategies for Inclusion – Making high quality history and citizenship education more inclusive and accessible”. It is the first EuroClio project dealing with the challenge: “How to make history and citizenship education more inclusive”?

The project has already started and will continue till 1 September 2018. The project is led by EuroClio in partnership with organizations from Armenia, Czech Republic, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. The goal of the project is to make high quality history and citizenship education more inclusive and accessible for learners, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

What do we mean by making history and citizenship education more inclusive?

Within the context of this project we understand inclusive education as removing barriers to learning and will focus specifically on removing barriers to learning high-quality history and citizenship education (as outlined in the EuroClio Manifesto (.pdf) and Recommendations of the Council of Europe). We expect to remove barriers related to language (for example by enriching vocabulary, concentrating on developing concepts), perspective taking (for example by teaching students to take other perspectives seriously, and developing a respect for difference), motivation (for example by constructing ties between past-present-future) and imagining a past that is no longer there (for example by looking at lives of ordinary people). The special interest groups will work collaboratively on the development of teaching strategies and learning activities and other resources that educators can use to remove these barriers, based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning. In addition, the special interest groups will provide input for policy recommendations to address those issues that stand in the way of high-quality history and citizenship education but are outside of the control of those educators who are directly working with learners.

What are special interest groups?

In the project two special interest groups are formed, focusing on blind and partially sighted:

  • “Blind and partially sighted and deaf and hard-of-hearing”
  • “Learner variability and motivation

Candidates can apply for one of the special interest groups. We are looking for 4 team members for each special interest group. They will join those team members who have already been identified in an earlier stage of the development of this project proposal. In total, each of the special interest groups will consist of 10 to 12 members.

What kind of candidates are we looking for?

Members of the special interest groups should be intrinsically motivated

  • To join an effort that addresses the challenge of inclusion in history and citizenship education.
  • To co-author educational resources specifically designed to make history and citizenship more inclusive and suited to all learners.
  • To have working level of English.

Preferences will be given to textbook authors, researchers, and history and citizenship educators at primary and secondary education levels.

How to apply?

To apply, please send your CV, Letter of Motivation, Letter of Support from your school, institute or association to Aysel Gojayeva before 2 February 2016. Please, indicate in your letter of motivation which special interest group you are applying for. The candidates will be contacted about the results of the selection within one month after the receipt of the applications.

Additional Information

  • What is offered to the members of the special interest groups?
  • What are expected from the members of the special interest groups?
  • How will be selection done?

Download the document below  to find answers to these questions.