Workshop 149th School Sofia
January 27, 2021
Face to face meeting – Sofia, Bulgaria
On 27th January 2021 we held a working meeting as an event O1 / A2 in the building of 149 SU “Ivan Hadjiiski”. According to the Erasmus + our school team, the meeting was held face to face (not online). This was possible due to the improved indicators for Bulgaria in the coronavirus pandemic and the students’ return to school next week.
The workshop was attended by 11 people – our Headmaster, a Deputy Headmaster, a psychologist, two resource teachers, a speech therapist and four teachers. The program and the accompanying documents (including the Inclusion Index) were sent in advance to the participants with a view to their full participation in the planned activities. (look Document № 1 – the program of the workshop).
The meeting lasted about four and a half hours and was divided into two sessions by a coffee break. It started at 14.00 and ended – around 18.00.
As a part of INTRODUCTION at the opening, the Headmaster – Mrs. Lyudmila Vasileva – emphasized the great importance that our school community gives to this project because on one hand we have something to show as success in the fight against ESL and on the other hand – it would be very useful for us to get acquainted and start implementing the Index for Inclusion in practice.
The project coordinator for Bulgaria – Mr. Stefan Ivanov (Deputy Headmaster of the school) – made two presentations. The first one was planned in the program and it showed the attendees the goals, tools, time frame and all necessary resources for the project. The second, which was shown at the request of the participants, was a detailed presentation and analysis of our preliminary study O1 / A1. After these presentations, two questions appeared. They were discussed shortly but completely.
According to the plan of workshop next presentation was made by Ms. Tatiana Rangelova – our school Head Teacher. She presented in details the Index as content, methodology and ways of use. In the added time there was also a question from a colleague who had read the Index in advance. The answer was also followed by a five-minute discussion, which showed the great interest of the audience on the subject.
After we got acquainted with the Index for Inclusion, we started our work on Activity 1. Our first activity was in four groups on the Concept of Inclusion. At the beginning of the meeting all participants, after their personal registration with a signature in the attendance list, received working materials, including a note with a different color. Later they realized that this color made them part of one of the groups – red, blue, green or black. In three of the groups there were three people, and in one – two. These groups stayed for the next tasks, which required group work. In this first activity 1, each teacher wrote individually his/her definition of what he/she thought is “inclusion”. Then all individual definitions were discussed into the groups. Each group created its own common definition. At the end of the given time, each of the groups presented their vision for the concept and each conception was written on the board. We made also a brief debate upon different details in the definitions of each individual groups.
Then we continued with the second part of Activity 1 of our workshop – a presentation of the Concept of Inclusion according to the Index. After its presentation on interactive whiteboard, a comparison of the written results of the four groups from the previous sub-activity began. The coordinator showed the group the index table and we all compared the criteria one by one with what we had done so far. The definitions of the individual groups remained written on the near whiteboard, which helped us a lot in comparing them with the Index table.
All activities under Activity 1 were moderated by Mr. Stefan Ivanov – Project Coordinator for Bulgaria.
It turned out that our total definitions reported 11 of a total of 14 indicators in this table. In the most of the participants’ opinion this is very good and it is the result of the intensive activities our school conducts to define problems and provide general and specialized support to those in need, as well as the existing inclusive environment for both teachers and students.
While in the first activity theoretical issues were considered mainly, in Activity 2 we emphasized practical examples from our school. The essential thing in this activity was to find out what inclusion resources are already in place at our school. We continued working in the groups selected at the beginning The lists of inclusion resources that are already in place in our school were made by the groups and then through discussion – discussed and summarized in a common list. Of the 14 criteria, according to our own judgment, we met 10, and for two of them we believe that we will start thanks to the current project. To the listed resources we have added an additional one, which we consider to be especially important – an incentive for the development of teachers and students in the direction of active citizenship. All activities under Activity 2 were moderated by Mrs. Lyudmila Vasileva – Headmaster of the school and Project Manager for Bulgaria.
Summarizing the impressions of the workshop, all participants treated it extremely responsibly. From the shared opinions of participants on the next day (which is credible feedback), we learned that it has achieved even more than originally planned – the desire to learn more about inclusive education and an application of what is learned in their practice as a teacher. We believe that young people who successfully graduate from our school will be much more competitive in life if they are taught other values that build on education.