Teachers at Goetheschule Essen have successfully applied for Erasmus funding to finance a teacher workshop series in Lithuania from 29th May 2022 to 3rd June 2022. Together with their colleagues from Lithuania, Spain, Poland and Denmark, they will focus on character-building and personal development in and outside the classroom.
Teacher Preparation of Staff Training in Lithuania
For a truly holistic education, it is indispensable that teachers are aware of how personal development might be promoted and what individuals need for personal fulfilment. Since teachers play an important role in the character-building process of their students, they should not rely merely on their own professional experience but also on a sound theoretical framework.
During the preparatory phase, teachers will therefore do extensive reading on character
education. Teachers should also familiarise themselves with the concept of ‘personal mastery’, a set of specific principles and practices that – according to Peter Senge – enables people to create personal visions, reflect their aspirations and turn into life-long learners.
1. All teachers read Peter Senge, ‘Personal Mastery’ and Alfred Bandura, ‘Self-Efficacy’. Each participant prepares a minimum of two observations/reflections drawn from each article, which they will bring up for discussion in the workshop.
2. Each participant reads at least one more article on character-building. The articles to be prepared will focus on:
a) Student well-being in a time of crisis (LIT)
b) Global mindedness (ES)
c) Critical thinking (DE)
d) CAS (DK)
e) Reflections and projections on the IB learner profile (PL)
3. Teachers prepare a PowerPoint which gives a) their two observations/reflections/ issues to debate from each of the two articles (Senge & Bandura); b) the findings of their further reading.
Workshop 1: Approaches to character education
Teachers from various disciplines, especially those who work as guidance and career counsellors or mediators, will discuss different approaches to character education based on their reading. Teachers will present their PPTs and exchange ideas about the following questions:
- What constitutes character education?
- What role do social and emotional learning, life skills education, health education, violence prevention, critical thinking, ethical and moral reasoning and conflict resolution play?
- What are important points of criticism concerning character education?
- What methods and approaches are recommendable/objectionable?
Workshop 2: Tools for Character Education
Teachers will meet with different stakeholders from the Lithuanian school to see how the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile, which is shared by all project schools, may be used as a stimulus for character education.
Workshop 3: Exchange of Best Practice I
Teachers will share best practice about how the IB learner profile attributes are visible in the respective schools. Denmark and Lithuania will present ideas about how to foster the IB learner profile attributes “CARING, OPEN-MINDED” (DK) and “BALANCED, REFLECTIVE” (LIT).
Workshop 4: Exchange of Best Practice II
Teachers will share best practice about how the IB learner profile attributes are visible in the respective schools. Spain and Poland will present ideas about how to foster the IB learner profile attributes “KNOWLEDGEABLE, INQUIRERS, THINKERS” (ES) and “RISKTAKERS, COMMUNICATORS, PRINCIPLED”.
Workshop 5: A Character Education Programme
Teachers discuss the following questions:
- How can schools successfully implement and maintain a character education programme?
- What professional steps may be taken by teachers to help students
to become aware of their personal pursuits and guiding values, develop a sense of commitment and fully understand their personality?
- What problems have been encountered there so far ? How could they be overcome?
- What means could be used for assessing and evaluating a character education programme?
Workshop 6: Europass
Teachers will be introduced to Europass by the German coordinator. They will be shown how to use the Europass Language Passport, Curriculum Vitae and the Europass Mobility as a basis for portfolio work at schools in order to foster and document students’ personal advancement.
Workshop 7: Panel Discussion and Final Output
Panel Discussion: Teachers will exchange best practice about how character education may help to solve problems affecting their students, such as truancy, bullying, low self-esteem and addiction, anxiety and depression and group conflicts.
According to Peter Senge, “People with a high level of personal mastery live in a continual learning mode. They never ‘arrive’.” Another question may thus be how schools may promote life-long learning.
Group Work: Teachers will design digital or non-digital posters to visualise the results of their discussions and the exchange of best practice. They will compile an annotated bibliography with recommended articles.
Worshop 8: Character-Building in Practice (Add-on)
Teachers will attend the final presentations of the student project week on personal development. Both the student project week and the teacher workshops will be critically evaluated. Ideas to guide the pedagogical development of the schools with regards to character education and personal mastery will be reflected upon in a joined session by both teachers and students.