The first test groups in Poland
Volunteering teachers and students from upper secondary school of a Cracow 'lyceum' and a vocational school in Wielicka joined the first testing period of the program in Poland. Both schools have a good environment and offer a rich choice of leisure activities for their students. Shop assistants and cooks are trained on the ground level in the Wielicka vocational school. They also teach trades of economy, commerce, tourism-hospitality and computer technology on the middle level. The Cracow upper secondary school offers general education and prepares the students to take a final secondary exam and/or continue their studies at the tertiary level.
In spite of these favourable circumstances, the teachers of both schools have experienced that a relatively large number of students do not take advantage of the opportunities available. It often happens that their students are not aware of the importance of self-development and learning. These phenomena inspired the schools to participate in the RLG project – hoping, that participation will make their students open to shaping their own future.
The Assessment days were successfully managed during the first periods of the academic year by both schools: October in Cracow and November in Wielicka. The programmes were divided and carried out in two afternoons in both schools because the managers did not want to make the students too tired to successfully take part in the exercises and to leave time for conversations about their experiences.
The test course started somewhat earlier in the Cracow secondary than in the Wielicka vocational school because the managers did not want to split the activities with a two week winter holiday in January. This is why the programme has come to an end in Cracow, while the Wielicka school has some exercises left.
The activities in the Cracow school were carried out by a student group consisting of girls alone between November 2015 and January 2016. The students tried out all the exercises that have been developed. The activities were directed by two experienced trainers who knew how to cooperate with young people effectively. When it was necessary the trainers modified the exercises. They fixed their notes and ideas concerning organisation and methods in their feedback sheets. They documented/illustrated the activities by attaching photos taken in the afternoons which can effectively supplement the guides to be completed later.
According to their feedback the trainers and the participants alike enjoyed the activities. They appreciated the many sided and original nature of the exercises and the goal of the programme to develop competencies on a broader range. Increasing openness and self-evaluation of the participants could be clearly experienced and they became more aware of the strengths and shortcomings of their capabilities.
A final assessment is being done at the end of the course which can give us a measurable picture about the changes the students have experienced as compared with the beginning. This survey will be done in February.
Six activities were carried out in December 2015 and January 2016 by the Wielicka vocational school which will be followed by seven more ones in February – the Cracow Pedagogical University will host the final occasion. The trainers plan to complete the final assessment by March.
25 January 2016