Lifelong learning brings new ideas. International lifelong learning in addition carries new perspectives and new opportunities for international projects. It is important that professionals in education gain such experiences since they are a role model and a source of information for school-age generation. However, there are many needs for teacher international mobility, but not so many options.
By IQAIST project (Improving Quality and Accessibility and In-Service Trainings for Teachers) we offer more international learning opportunities for teachers. The project connects partners from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Romania and Slovenia. Institutions that are participating from Slovenia are STEP Institute, Institute of St. Stanislav Ljubljana, Škofja Loka High School and GEPŠ Piran.
This school year, eight professors decided to take the challenge and took part in diverse trainings in various countries across Europe. Training on the topic of project management was conducted in Italy and was attended by Monika Novak. Tanja Gartner and Sonja Bizjak traveled to Spain and attended training on Internet use related problems: cyberbullying, sexting, grooming, phishing and others. One of the courses (A Holistic Cross-disciplinary approach to language teaching) was held in Portugal and was attended by three professors, Ela Rupert, Sonja Zabukovec Mikolj and Nataša Veber. In Romania professors Lorena Stemberger and Tatjana Žagar gained knowledge about using non formal methods and instruments in formal education by August Bole.
It is significant that knowledge is spread. Therefore, the training participants prepared some tips and ideas that can be implemented in Slovenian schools.
Monika Novak says that there are many manuals on how to create projects, but the key is to extract the most important ones. You also have to be accurate. Each question must be answered carefully and thoroughly. Monika Novak concludes: “But if we know what we want to achieve and who the target group is, then the application is not so difficult to write.”
To prevent online maltreatment is firstly important to recognize that the problem exists and it is very serious. After that is meaningful to organize workshops on this topic for teachers, parents and students. Additionally, schools can invite various professionals or associate with organizations such as the “Safe Internet”, which is a provider of educational programs in a safe and informed use of the internet.
Participants in training on informal methods say that is important that teachers are aware that non formal methods are huge addition to the rational-logical perception of learning process. Since the informal forms of work tend to be more relaxed, learning is more spontaneous and lasting. There is also increased attention and focus of the student. Because most informal methods carried out in a group or in pairs, the students also promote sociability and develop their social skills. In the process even the teacher is the role of the learner.
Participants state that they have acquired a lot of new knowledge and ideas through seminars. They were also impressed by the friendly attitude of lecturers to participants. In addition to a good atmosphere, they had many opportunities for familiarization with practices in different European countries. Sonja Zabukovec Mikolj has pointed out: “In fact, I got confirmation that teachers in Slovenia perform high-quality instruction.” Furthermore, participants say that the knowledge of English at such events is desirable, but it turned out that they can communicate also in other languages or through non-verbal communication.
To all teachers that are thinking about broader their knowledge and would like to participate in the international education, Sonja Zabukovec Mikolj recommended: “For a moment forget about the typical Slovenian tendency to criticism, forget this feeling that we come from “small” and perhaps irrelevant state. Let’s go abroad with head held high, because we are excellent professionals with extensive experience in their field.”