• Poland
    - detailed description
    - works and activities
  • Lithuania
    - detailed description
    - works and activities
  • Germany
    - detailed description
    - works and activitiesrks
  • The Czech Republic
    - detailed description
    - works and activities



    "This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."

    In each partner country (Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Germany) one pilot group of adult learners from vulnerable social groups (10-14 participants) was set up. The 8-10 months workshop programmes (256 hours in total) combined education with artistic explorations.

    1. Artistic activities under the main theme "Tolerance and respect for other people and cultures". Teamwork and individual explorations on theatre presentations, visual arts, music, dance, creative writing and story telling focused on exploring common European heritage and individual national traditions.

    2. Educational programme consisting of separated didactic units providing basic knowledge for the above-mentioned artistic explorations (geography, history, religion, history of art, psychology). Various teaching techniques were implemented to facilitate educational tasks. First of all, student-oriented and peer education methods were applied. Both modules were based on detailed syllabus drawn up by the field specialists. Throughout the course the initial didactic assumptions were modified accordingly to the learners needs and limitations.

    CVE pilot workshops evaluation report
    (Shortened and updated)

    The CVE pilot workshops run by partner organisations in four different locations of Bielsko-Biała, Berlin, Ostrava and Vilnius from November 2007 to August 2008 have been evaluated on the following basis:

    - course enrolment forms and entry questionnaires specifying the beneficiaries' initial attitudes towards learning, previous experiences and level of formal education
    - evaluation questionnaires completed by the workshop participants and instructors at the end of the course
    - bimonthly reports submitted by the workshop monitoring experts
    - evaluation visits to the workshops at each site

    The Bielsko-Biała workshop group

    Out of the 21 prospective students introduced to the concept of the course through direct participation in initial classes, 12 committed themselves to take part in the full course. Most of them were classified as socially and educationally disadvantaged. In addition, only half of the group had participated in lifelong learning courses before and even those who had already gained such an experience mainly valued social benefits. A questionnaire comment by one of the students is an adequate description of the predominant mood at the outset of the course: "I wish to make friends".

    The workshop programme

    A detailed programme of the course was developed in November 2007 and subsequently updated and modified in January 2008 on the basis of initial feedback from the workshops. Two documents were presented on the project website which have to be read together as the workshops programme: key competences to be developed during the CVE pilot workshops and the workshops curriculum.

    The first document outlines a structure of the educational objectives to be achieved during the workshops which is based on the key Lisbon competences. Out of the 8 key competences 6 have been chosen as relevant for the CVE course: communication in the mother tongue, mathematical competence, digital competence, learning to learn, social and civic competences and cultural awareness and expression. These competences are then translated into hard and soft skills to be trained. The result is a long list of 29 concrete practical skills with associated new attitudes. In view of the nature of the group, the initial expectations of the participants and the time scale (8 months) a number of questions come up:

    - Is the programme realistic in its attempt to achieve so much in such short time?
    - Is it coherent covering a wide range of diverse topics, e.g. science as a foundation of technology along with influences of European national cultures on each other?
    - Is it practical in its formalistic approach - does it translate into concrete educational scenarios?

    The workshop curriculum, the other document published on the website, does not answer the above questions. It briefly outlines the main thematic domains to be covered in the course: arts, science and philosophy, morality and tradition and religion. The specific topics listed partly correspond to the proposed key competences. In fact the thematic programme presentation raises the same concerns in reference to the feasibility, coherence and practicality of the designed syllabus. However further information which helps to answer these queries has been provided in the regular reports from the actual implementation of the syllabus in the workshops. In particular, scenarios of sample workshops have been published on the website which include a description of the interaction of the different thematic fields.

    The workshop implementation

    The workshops in Bielsko-Biała started in November 2007 and finished in June 2008. The instructors had to find a path which would introduce the students to the various fields outlined in the curriculum. The team worked on the following assumptions:

    - the set of competences and thematic fields cannot be viewed as a stiff framework with no possibilities for adjustments on the basis of the students' abilities and interests
    - there is a need for a uniting theme which would make the course syllabus coherent and meaningful
    - cultural and artistic means should be used to facilitate knowledge acquisition in case of more abstract concepts

    The above input to the original curriculum helped to choose one predominant theme for the whole course: a legend on the foundation of the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius.

    The theme surfaced in February and the group started preparing a theatrical performance on the legend to be presented to the public of the International Puppet Theatre in Bielsko-Biała in May. This task involved the students in a number of assignments, both artistic and educational, taught in two separate blocks by two instructors.

    The theatrical workshops required the students to work collaboratively on the play entitled Gediminas Dream which included writing the script, making costumes as well as stage scenery and rehearsing for the play. Most of the students eagerly participated in the group work motivated by the prospect of a public performance. The performance was observed by the evaluator on 26 May 2008 and the visit validated the detailed progress reports from the arts workshops. While working on the play the students practiced a comprehensive range of interconnected skills which clearly correspond to the proposed syllabus:

    - how to communicate a message both in speech and writing; preparing the play script required the students to discuss different versions of the legend and write specific roles for the actors
    - how to design and make a stage decoration; in particular making a large puppet of the aurochs which could be animated on stage was a technical feat
    - how to acquire knowledge of the past through reading literary sources; the choice of legends and facts from history books helped the students to distinguish reality from fiction but also to see the artistic value of the literature
    - how to interact in a group; making the play involved negotiating different perspectives and interpretations as well as being able to enact different roles
    - how to express ideas and emotions creatively; this was the most visible competence trained shown by the students on stage

    The artistic challenges of writing the script, making the stage design and rehearsing for the play were a driving force behind the students' involvement in educational tasks. The educational block of classes included not only the assignments closely related to the legend, like searching for information on the origins of Lithuania, reading and discussing literary works, learning the history and geography of the region but also topics which at first sight have no connection with the theme. In order to illustrate such an interconnection of seemingly incompatible topics we have chosen a workshop visited and observed by the evaluator on 13 June 2008.

    The workshop was entitled "What can save us from gibbering?" The students were presented with a set of basic logical rules explained in concrete examples of correct and confused reasoning. The presentation was followed by the task of discovering correct and fallacious statements in a set of amusing examples. At the next step the students were introduced to some eristic tricks. They had to use some of them in making convincing defences of a set of humorous claims. The group could easily see the fallacious patterns of such arguments to great amusement and satisfaction of all the participants. Now, how does this topic interconnect with other themes of the syllabus?

    - The class is a follow-up to the theatrical performance at the puppet theatre festival. The students needed to be able to present their own views on the play and discuss further perspectives (possible trip to Vilnius to perform at the conference). The workshop certainly helped them to be aware of some of the pitfalls of disputes and showed how to make and defend one's own position.
    - The trainer managed to introduce some knowledge of logic and history of European thought (Plato and the Sophists, Aristotle, Shopenhauer) in a way which makes it relevant for the students' interests and present tasks.
    - The handouts were designed in such a way as to enable the students to memorise the basic rules of reasoning which will certainly help them to engage in discussions on other topics in the curriculum.

    The workshop documentation written by the monitoring team provides detailed descriptions of all the classes and there is no need to repeat the scenarios here. The reports do not stress the interconnection of modules concentrating on the flow of activities in each class. Still in the light of the observations presented above we can surmise that the instructors made a substantial effort to link various tasks and assignments into a coherent course structure spanning the diverse competences and fields of the syllabus.

    The workshop results

    The course was completed by 11 participants out of 12 which is a high score of 91% of learners. The whole course consisted of 256 hours as planned in the syllabus. Both the participants and the instructors were surveyed for their views on the workshop achievements and failures at the end of the course.

    - The workshop programme was highly valued by the participants with the overall score 4 + (scale 1 - 5). The students perceived its educational objectives as clear and confirmed that the methods and techniques used helped them to learn new things. They also found both the pedagogical methods and the pace of the workshops appropriate.
    - The students were pleased with the instructors (the overall score approaching 5). They appreciated the fact that the trainers were well prepared for the workshops, helpful in classes and their way of teaching motivated the students to participate and interact in the group.
    - In terms of the concrete benefits derived from the workshops, the majority of the students pointed out the social aspect of the classes: a new opportunity for meeting people and making friends (the overall score approaching 5). Still the students appreciated the educational benefits of the course: most of them found the workshop topics interesting and stimulating; the knowledge and skills taught were valued as useful in life. The lowest score was assigned to the relevance of the competences gained for the participants' professional career (average score 4). This is partly explained by the fact that some of the students, the elderly and the disabled, do not perceive themselves as fit for employment.
    - The suggestions by the participants for further course improvements include both increasing the content and difficulty level of the workshops as well as the opposite, reducing the content and the difficulty level. This discloses a certain problem visible from the very beginning of the workshops - different levels of education and intellectual ability among the participants. This raises a dilemma of integrated approach in education and a choice of values to be targeted in educational programmes. The CVE team certainly counted on the value of creating learning opportunities for all in an open inclusive environment.

    Interviews with the course trainers and the questionnaires completed by them helped to clarify the issue of the consistency of the syllabus. Two arguments were presented to justify a broad range of themes covered by the course: first the instructors found it appropriate to engage the students in a number of topics raising their interest and curiosity and taking into account various abilities and disabilities of the participants at the same time; secondly an overall purpose of the programme was to gather observations for the CVE methodology development. To this end it was necessary to experiment with different educational domains and approaches in work with disadvantaged adult learners. All the workshops were observed and described by a monitoring expert with a view to providing material for this task. The workshops generated a wealth of observations and concrete lesson scenarios on which this book was based.

    The Berlin workshop group

    The participants of the workshops were recruited from beneficiaries of other projects run by Die Wille which assist the needs of unemployed people. The CVE workshops were presented as an additional separate programme focusing on more general "soft" skills as compared with the job creation measures in which the students had been enrolled. This procedure facilitated the recruitment but at the same time caused a certain difficulty: the students could not commit themselves to participation in a course taught over a long period of time because of prospects of employment for which they were being prepared in the other projects. The solution was found in creating a programme consisting of separate modules which could be attended independently. The recruitment started in November 2007 and was continued throughout the project. The total number of students who participated in the workshops was 38 with the average number of participants at a workshop 10 - 15.

    Although more than half of the group had already participated in lifelong learning courses (21 out of 38), the programme which proposed to combine artistic and educational activities was a new experience to the majority of the participants. Another challenge for the CVE team was to approach the intercultural issues in work with a group of mixed national origins. The interesting fact documented in the entry evaluation questionnaires is that the students coming from different national and cultural backgrounds did not expect to benefit from the course socially (meeting new people, spending free time in company of others. Thus these expectations were just the opposite to those of the students in the Bielsko-Biała workshop. All the above factors were taken into account in drafting the syllabus of the course.

    The workshop programme

    The CVE syllabus was drafted in November 2007 and revised in February 2008 after the initial feedback from the first modules of the course. It was published on the website as the workshops curriculum. The Die Wille team did not develop a detailed list of competences to be taught along the lines proposed by the coordinator. Instead of targeting a long list of skills the team concentrated on 4 Lisbon competences viewed as forming a coherent whole and relevant for the beneficiaries' needs and expectations: communication in the mother tongue, learning to learn, social competence and cultural awareness and expression. In order to document how these competences were to be trained only sample workshops were described on the website.

    The programme consists of 14 separate modules to be taught in intensive sessions of different lengths (1 day to 1 week each). The outline raised the following questions in reference to the proposed course of action:

    - The syllabus takes into account the declared commitment of prospective participants and divides the whole course into independent modules. Still a question arises as to whether sufficient effort was made to secure the whole course participation, which is always a challenge in case of this type of training.
    - The course is a clear follow-up to the job creation measures in which the students were involved. It certainly proposes to train soft skills necessary in all positions, e.g. dealing with emotions, conflicts, stress and communicative problems. Nevertheless, some topics seem relevant only for certain jobs (those connected with child education in kindergartens and day care centres) and might be of little interest to participants not planning to take up such a specific job.
    - Most of the topics seem to be excellent themes for training intercultural competence, a need identified at the outset of the workshops. Still the syllabus says little on how this will be done; a general goal of a module is followed by rather concise information on the methodology proposed.

    Regular communication of the Berlin team with the project coordinator, detailed bimonthly reports published on the website and the evaluation visit at one of the workshops helped to resolve the above issues. First, the syllabus was defended as adjusted to the real needs and constrains of the beneficiaries: the main value of the CVE workshops was seen in training key competences of people preparing to start work, usually for the first time or after a long break. Accordingly, a choice of short training modules with different themes and objectives which could be attended separately and would not stand in the way of the prospective job schedule was found appropriate. Secondly, the themes of the modules were adjusted to the interests of the participants and in each workshop a specific topic provided a starting point for training key competences in lifelong learning. Thirdly, the ambiguity of the syllabus in terms of the training methodology was clarified in the regular reports which give an insight into the actual methods of combining artistic and educational means in the course programme.

    The workshop implementation

    The course in Berlin was run from December 2007 to August 2008. The team chose to follow a programme in which the arts and education were closely combined in each workshop instead of teaching two different blocks of classes. This is partly explained by the logic of the module-based curriculum. Another reason was the conviction of the CVE trainers that the artistic means - "cultural vehicles" - are best used if directly applied in educational tasks of teaching basic skills. The reports from the workshops give a number of examples of how this was done. Each of the targeted competences was given at least one example illustrating the pedagogical approach:

    - Communication in the mother tongue: the students were taken on an excursion to an exhibition of a German writer, musician, actor and a film director Karl Valentin. The works of art and documentary material were a starting point of a workshop "Solving communication problems using irony, comic and absurd behaviour" and provided a motivating background for practising communication skills.
    - Learning to learn competence: the course was inaugurated with a module of particular relevance for the group of mixed nationalities: "Who am I - as a German, Turkish, Polish woman or a man living in Berlin, Germany?". The students learned how to see through stereotypes and clichés to discover the real content of other cultures and traditions. Images of "the alien" visualized in art and customs opened a way to self-reflection and discovery of other identities.
    - Social competences: excerpts from poetry and prose dealing with children (intercultural choice spanning Rainer Maria Rilke and Kahlil Gibran) let the trainers introduce the topic of communication with children in kindergartens and day care centres. The topic had a broader personal and interpersonal relevance covering the issue of the "inner child" in ourselves as well as a direct connection with the job creation measure in which most of the participants were involved. In this case poetry was used as a "cultural vehicle" on the way to personal development.
    - Cultural awareness and expression: puppets and masks as means to express messages was a topic particularly suited to practice the two interconnected competences. The students learned about the history of puppetry through a visit at a puppet theatre in Berlin and created their own puppets and masks to be used in the context of child education. The trainers managed to combine a broader issue of self-expression and interpersonal communication with a specific need of the participants to learn how to engage kindergarten children in educational tasks.

    In addition to the above puppetry workshop the curriculum included two other theatre modules using drama techniques as "cultural vehicles". Thus the Berlin team, working independently in a very different institutional, social and cultural context from those of Bielsko-Biała and Ostrava, chose similar artistic means to approach educational tasks. The tasks were not exactly the same as the different teams had to take into account the nature of the groups they were working with as well as their different needs (e.g. professional needs in Berlin versus mainly social and personal ones in Bielsko-Biała).

    The final workshop consisted of two parts: a performance at a local kindergarten and an extensive self-evaluation session summarising the whole module. The play was performed by an international group of German, Turkish, Kurdish and Polish participants to the audience of children of mixed nationalities. Thus the organisers created a true intercultural setting representing the actual make-up of the local communities of Neukoelln and Kreuzberg. The common theme of the two short plays was connected with conflict resolution between different national and cultural groups based on the actual contentious issues of nationally mixed relationships (first play) and tensions between football supporters of different national teams (second play). Both the plays were partly an interactive performance involving the audience of children in predicting the course of action, answering questions or proposing solutions to the conflict situations visualized on stage. The educational value of the whole workshop which concluded with the performances should be seen in many aspects; the participants certainly learned:

    - how to convey a complex message using various artistic means (making stage design, writing script, playing roles on stage)
    - how to approach difficult issues in their communities through discussion and enacting problem situations on stage; some of the techniques used in the workshop clearly refer to well tested psychodrama methods and have not only educational but also therapeutic value
    - how to communicate with and teach children, including their own children; the workshops had a clear intergenerational side to it which provides an added value to the programme primarily addressed to adults
    - how to develop their personal and interpersonal competences valuable in prospective employment; the module curriculum was in line with the job creation measure in which the participants were involved (training of assistants in kindergartens and day care centres)

    The self-evaluation session which directly followed the performance was an opportunity for the students to discuss the results of the workshop. In addition to the above skills practiced the participants gained an opportunity to argue their views in front of the whole group. For some of the students the workshops provided the first occasion ever to speak in public and certainly enhanced their verbal communication competence. The session was also a chance for the participants to socialize in a friendly environment (they prepared and served national dishes in the breaks). The social aspect of the team building, which the trainers viewed as one of the key tasks in the project, fully came to light here. This was particularly visible in the case of the students who had attended previous modules of the course and it provides another argument for the relevance of long term participation in lifelong learning courses. The students also argued that the skills acquired during previous workshops made it easier for them to take a new challenge of performing. This certainly testifies to the coherence of the syllabus which can be viewed as a whole course structure built of autonomous units.

    The workshop results

    The course was divided into 14 independent modules and the average percentage of completion of each workshop was 90%. 36 participants received certificates for each of the modules attended. The total number of the course hours was 256. The Berlin team summarised each workshop with a self-evaluation session and the results are documented in the project archives. The following conclusions have been derived from evaluation questionnaires, interviews and direct observations:

    - The programme was assessed by the participants with the overall score 4 (scale 1 - 5). The group included respondents who found the programme highly relevant (5 students) as well as those who failed to see much value in it (2 students). While the workshop objectives, methods, and the difficulty level was seen on average as appropriate, the biggest problem surfaced in case of the pace of work. This certainly resulted from the time constraints of the one week programme.
    - The students were pleased with the instructors (the overall score approaching 4 +) except for the 2 students mentioned above. The participants appreciated the trainers' ability to organise team work and their pedagogical competence.
    - In terms of the concrete benefits derived from the workshops most of the participants were cautious about the relevance of the programme for their career (only 3 gave this aspect the highest score with 6 responses below 4). This perhaps suggests a certain difficulty in adjusting the CVE course to the job creation measures. On the other hand the students appreciated the social benefits of the course which was valued at least as much as the career aspect. This is an interesting finding in the light of the initial expectations of the participants.
    - The students did not say much to disclose their views on possible improvements of the course. 3 stressed the need to clarify the workshop objectives which is in line with the above doubt concerning the usefulness of the skills practiced for future career. Some pointed out the value of more lively, arts-based activities like acting on stage or teamwork on preparing the plays as compared with more theoretical approach surfaced in lectures and discussions. Certainly the students took the workshop mainly as an excellent occasion to develop their personal and interpersonal competences.

    The instructors emphasized the flexibility of the module-based syllabus, which allows for changes in the composition of workshop groups. Lifelong learning courses teaching basic competences are easier to adjust to real needs and abilities of their participants if they are planned as an open choice of training sessions instead of a fixed syllabus of classes requiring a long-term commitment.

    The Ostrava workshop groups

    The CVE workshops in Ostrava were organised in particularly difficult and demanding conditions. First, the partner organisation Life Together had not run lifelong learning courses before although it had provided advisory and social services to adult beneficiaries. Still the requirements of a training course were different from the experiences gathered so far. Secondly, Life Together primarily works with the Roma minority in the Czech Republic whose social and educational situation is rather acute. The first CVE group of Roma participants was set up in December 2007 and disintegrated in March 2008 after a couple of workshops. Another group was organised in April 2008 and the course was resumed after a short break. With the experiences from the first round of workshops the organisers managed to run the course until August 2008 and complete the syllabus in accordance with the requirements of the CVE proposal. The reports from the two rounds of workshops published on the website as well as interviews with the managing team and the instructors running the course give an insight into both the failures and successes of the course in Ostrava.
    All the participants of the CVE workshops were recruited from the Roma minority in Ostrava and its surroundings. There is a large community of Roma people in this region of the Czech Republic who mostly live in deprived areas: on the outskirts of cities, in desperate housing conditions, with few educational opportunities open to adult members of the community. Life Together is the main non-governmental organisation in Ostrava which provides services to the Roma.

    The recruitment strategy for the new course took into account the lessons learnt from the first attempt: all the students came from one Roma enclave in Zelezna Street (a couple of old tenements falling apart, inhabited by the Roma only) who felt comfortable working in a group of acquaintances from the same community; the course was organised near the place where they lived which facilitated regular participation over a relatively long period of time; a new syllabus was drafted and included more concrete activities directly addressing the interests and abilities of the participants. The new group consisted of 12 participants and further 4 Roma people joined it during the course.

    The entry evaluation questionnaires documented the expectations of the participants who mainly expected to benefit from the course socially. Although the recruiters stressed the other aspects of the course which aimed at raising general knowledge and competences useful in life and employment, the students took the workshops as a way to spend their free time in an interesting and entertaining way in the company of others. This certainly resulted from the fact that most of the participants did not expect to find a job in the foreseeable future or move out of their enclave. Thus the main challenge in drafting the syllabus was to find a way to make the participation in the course not only a way of socializing and playing but also to prove that raising one's knowledge and competences can be an interesting and valuable pursuit. This was particularly important in view of the fact that the desperate condition of the Roma population in the Czech society is usually explained as resulting from the supposed mental and personal deficiencies of the beneficiaries themselves. Life Together was set up in protest against these clichés and the CVE project was welcomed as a new opportunity to prove the case against the predominant stereotypes.

    The workshop programme

    The course planning approach chosen by Life Together was different from all the other partners. The team did not develop a specific syllabus of classes in advance. Instead they decided to set up a group of prospective students first, define their needs and develop the curriculum on the basis of feedback from the introductory classes in accordance with the overall CVE objectives. Thus at the beginning of the workshops in December 2007 only a very general draft of the syllabus was presented to the coordinator. It proposed to target the three key Lisbon competences of communication in the mother tongue, social competences and cultural awareness and expression. These skills were viewed as particularly relevant for the students' need to learn how to live in and communicate with the society perceived by them as hostile or alien. In addition, the draft proposed to teach some basic knowledge of the Roma history and tradition as the knowledge of one's roots is a precondition of self-understanding and self-esteem. However, the syllabus was not developed much further as the introductory classes with the first group did not help to elicit the expected positive feedback from the participants and the group shrank from 16 students to only 2 willing to continue the course. This initial failure of the CVE workshops in Ostrava was a matter discussed during two meetings with the project coordinator which helped to develop a more specific and detailed course of action. The Life Together team proposed a more concrete curriculum for the new group which started the course in April 2008.

    The syllabus divided the course in three different assignments based on a careful analysis of the interests and abilities of the new group of students. The main part of the workshops was to concentrate on dramatization of a love story about a relationship between a Roma girl and a Czech boy set in the past when the Roma were still travellers moving in caravans from one village to another, usually greeted with aversion or hostility. The workshops had the purpose of fostering creativity and self-expression through artistic means as well as helping the students to acquire knowledge of the past while working on the scenario. Another assignment involved those students who did not feel comfortable to perform on stage in technical and artistic tasks of making props and costumes for the play. Finally, it was planned to prepare a Roma cookbook and serve traditional dishes to the public at the performances. The three parts of the syllabus were interconnected and allowed of a choice of activities in a group of students of diverse talents, abilities and interests.

    The whole course planning procedure raises the following questions:

    - Can a complex course be planned "on the way", with only a general outline of teaching ideas at the beginning?
    - Can a presumed low level of motivation of Roma students to take up educational tasks be taken as an excuse for the lack of a concrete workshop curriculum?

    The problems were solved through regular visits of the coordinator in Ostrava and an evaluation visit at one of the workshop sessions. All the information gathered gave a direct insight into the actual implementation of the CVE concept and helped to dispel the above doubts.

    The workshop implementation

    The evaluator had two opportunities to observe the students' performance and interview both them and their instructors. First, the whole workshop group came to Bielsko-Biała to perform at the Festival of the Big and Small on 26 May 2008. Then workshops in Ostrava were visited on 29 - 30 May 2008. At that time the new group of students were in the middle of the course which started in April and was expected to finish in August. Still the results of the workshops were already visible: the students presented a part of the dramatic performance on which they were working which was a lively dancing scene welcomed with applause by the Bielsko-Biała audience. The choreography, the costumes and the music played by the participants provided a setting for the love story between a young Roma girl and a Czech boy. The workshop which followed the performance was devoted to the discussion of further parts of the play, practising roles of the following scene, playing music and dancing. Some of the participants brought their children to the workshop which created a lively informal atmosphere in the classroom. The activities in which the students were taking part certainly had a clear educational value and let them learn:

    - how to stay focused on a subject of discussion; preparing the script for the play required to reach a consensus in the group as different students came up with different plots and scenarios of the love story.
    - how to express their ideas and emotions creatively on stage; for all the students performing was a new experience although it seemed that dancing and playing music came to them naturally and brought satisfaction and enjoyment.
    - how to interact with others on a common task; the roles in the group were divided between musicians, actors, dancers and craftsmen who made the costumes and stage props. This required cooperation and coordination of different assignments as well as regular attendance at the workshops by at least the key participants.

    All the above skills are clearly in line with the key communicative, social and cultural competences. However a broader issue arises here: when we approach a minority group of different societal and cultural fabric with a set of predefined educational priorities derived from the work-driven culture we might find the definitions irrelevant or inappropriate. Certainly the first impression from the CVE workshops for the Roma students raises this query. It seems that the students find it difficult to grasp the whole idea of learning so called key competences useful in society and at work while, on the other hand, they eagerly take part in music and dancing classes which they value for themselves with a clear disregard for their "usefulness". When the workshops are perceived as an arts project which brings satisfaction and enjoyment the value of the participation is obvious and no questions are asked. However when the course is to be taken as raising one's "competences" or qualifications a number of objections come up: what for? will I get a job then? how much will you pay? These are hard questions which require concrete answers; a general usefulness of the proposed competences in life or at work is by no means motivating enough for prospective Roma students.

    Neither of the above issues can be investigated in more detail here. Still it is worth remembering that when planning an educational initiative in an intercultural environment a substantial effort has to be made in defining the values of the community with which we plan to work and reflect upon our own set of values. We should not mask a question which is very likely to arise: what if the two ranks of values are incompatible?

    The workshop results

    The course was completed by 16 participants, and all the 12 Romas who started it, finished the workshops, which is a high score of 100% of learners. The whole course consisted of 256 hours as planned in the syllabus.

    - The workshop programme was valued by the participants with the overall score of 4 (scale 1 - 5). The students perceived its educational objectives as clear and confirmed that the methods and techniques used helped them to learn new things. They also found both the pedagogical methods and the pace of the workshops appropriate.
    - The students were pleased with the instructors (the overall score 4,5).
    - In terms of the concrete benefits derived from the workshops, the majority of the students pointed out that they learned many new things - typing on the computer, information about their culture as well as other European cultures and they developed ability to express themselves in the Czech language more efficiently. As a result of the knowledge and abilities acquired they felt more confident and valued in their community (the overall score 4).
    Still the students appreciated the educational benefits of the course: most of them found the workshop very interesting, educative and entertaining.

    Some of the participants would rather have less difficult subjects and the content of the workshop reduced. Also, some of them, especially mothers found it difficult to participate regularly due to their daily chores with household and children.

    The final tests contained 10 simple multiplied questions (a, b, c answer style). The questions were, for example, What is the capital of Lithuania? or What is the name of a traditional German dance? Due to the illiteracy of some participants, instructors needed to give some support to them during the test by reading the questions and answers out. All the 10 questions were answered correctly by all the participants.

    The Vilnius workshop group

    The recruitment for the CVE course started in December 2007. The organisers issued a leaflet describing the educational opportunities offered by the project and distributed it through a range of channels: directly to potential beneficiaries known personally to the Babilonas team, women's clubs, day centres, social enterprises and local community centres. This approach helped to raise interest in the project among people coming from various backgrounds. The age of participants was 24-62. In view of a great interest in the workshops the organisers continued enrolling new students throughout the course and the final total number of participants reached 31.

    The diversity of profiles of the beneficiaries was expressed in their expectations of the course. They pointed out personal development, social benefits and skills needed in employment. In addition some participants were interested in exploring possibilities offered by art with a certain disregard for practical benefits of the course (e.g. to create something beautiful).The majority of the students had already participated in lifelong learning courses. In view of the results of the initial survey outlined above the organisers were faced with a challenging task to live up to the students' expectations and design a syllabus which would encompass all the various needs and interests.

    The workshop programme

    The syllabus proposed by Babilonas at the outset of the course in January 2008 added a new approach to those already described above. It included 10 different modules on different subjects all related to arts but otherwise unconnected. Though linked with intercultural dimension in all of them. In this respect the syllabus was similar to the module-based curriculum developed by the Berlin team but the students in Vilnius were expected to take part in the whole course instead of choosing from a selection of workshops. As compared with the curriculum proposed by Teatr Grodzki the Babilonas team did not make an attempt to connect the modules with a leading theme. It was believed that the different expectations of the students would be best met if they were introduced to different areas and dimensions of art. The modules were of different lengths and they all had a component of thematic knowledge acquisition (e.g. learning about ornamental symbols in European cultures) followed by practising related skills (e.g. drawing ornaments). It seems that the organisers first concentrated on choosing subjects which could attract interest from the participants. Another factor taken into account was the availability of trainers who would be able to run the course. The result was a well developed set of modules with their content and pedagogy defined by the subject to be taught and not by the competences to be trained. Obviously the students were expected to learn useful skills (e.g. how to decorate an interior) but the main objective was to show importance and meaning of art as such in various domains of architecture, film, dance, painting and poetry. This is the reason why the Babilonas team did not begin with the development of the list of key competences along the lines proposed by Teatr Grodzki although the reports published on the website documented how the arts workshops helped to train some basic skills. The detailed description of the Easter Tradition workshop is a good example in this respect; the students practiced:

    - communication in the mother tongue while sharing different Easter traditions; the discussion of various customs was an important part at each stage of the workshops.
    - how to organise their own learning; mind maps were introduced to help the students grasp a complex picture of European Easter traditions.
    - social and intercultural skills. Five different nationalities were represented in the group: Byelorussian, Hungarian (the trainer's nationality), Lithuanian, Polish and Russian. This provided a true intercultural context for discussions and interactions in the group.
    - how to express their own cultural tradition through the creation of Easter Palms in different ornamental styles.

    The Vilnius syllabus shows the validity of the pedagogical approach in which a training module is defined by its subject relevant for the students interests and the nature of the group (e.g. multicultural, multinational). What follows is a specific training methodology relevant for the subject taught. As a result the participants acquire specific thematic knowledge and related competences (e.g. ability to create ornaments in a given style). If a need arises these competences can be aligned in a table of the key Lisbon competences. This procedure substantially differs from an approach which proposes an abstract scheme of competences first and then seeks appropriate ways to train them. The lessons learnt from the Ostrava workshop proved that the proper definition of relevant competences is a difficult task in itself which is perhaps best dealt with "on the way", during the course.

    The workshop implementation

    The CVE workshops began in February 2008 and finished in June 2008. The course was taught twice a week in evening sessions which secured regular participations from the students who worked during the day or had other obligations. A team of 17 educators (10 of them with professional artistic background)was engaged in running the workshops covering various domains and themes specified in the syllabus. The organisers managed to involve in the course some personalities of high standing in their areas of expertise. It was possible only with the module-based approach: the artists and educators would not have committed themselves to teaching regular classes over a long period of time because of the nature of their work or other assignments. This is an important practical issue in managing lifelong learning courses and the solution proposed by Babilonas is certainly reasonable in this respect.

    The workshop visited by the evaluator on 6 June 2008 gives an excellent opportunity to investigate the chosen methodological approach in relation to the project objectives outlined in the CVE proposal. The module introduced the students to the art of break-dancing and graffiti and a question which comes to mind first is the following: what does a course in break-dancing have to do with teaching key competences in lifelong learning?

    Appreciation of modern art and subculture art in particular requires a certain degree of knowledge and understanding; this refers equally to Saber (famous American graffiti painter) and Bacon. Knowledge of the subculture arts is non-existent in the mainstream society. Consequently, it is worth introducing the students who declare an interest in art into the history and styles of subculture arts. This a logical reasoning taking into account both the subject related issues (interrelation of break-dancing and graffiti), the students' interests and the availability of trainers to run the course (the module author and teacher is a renowned break-dancer himself, a writer on subculture issues and a founder of a dancing school in Vilnius).

    The workshop began with a short lecture on subculture arts followed by a vivid presentation of different styles of break-dancing shown on the projector. The sample performances were really impressive and created a lively response from the students puzzled by the technique of robot dancing. The instructor explained the basics of the technique and performed some short etudes. Then the students were invited to dance in the circle with each one coming to the middle in turns. The accompanying music created a dynamic environment and facilitated involvement of all the group members. After a short break when the students could relax over a cup of tea or coffee a graffiti session followed. The class had a similar structure to the dancing part: a lecture, visual presentation and practice. The students could recognise similar patterns in both the fields (broken movement in dancing versus broken lines in painting), reflect on the messages communicated by the artists and try to express their own messages in graffiti painting. The evening class continued beyond the planned time because of the students' enthusiastic participation.

    The workshops provided the students with an opportunity to:

    - discuss contentious issues of subcultures; the lectures introduced some knowledge and vocabulary necessary to go beyond simple statements of likes and dislikes in the matter of art and make some finer distinctions.
    - raise their curiosity in a subject not well known and offer possibilities to develop it further through the internet links, magazines and participation in cultural events.
    - gain a broader view on the fabric of multicultural societies with social clusters identified through a particular type of artistic expression.
    - practice dancing not as a party-style enjoyment but as an expressive art which gives a unique channel to visualize an emotional identity.

    The above educational benefits have been listed in such an order as their relevance for the key competences in lifelong learning can be easily recognised.

    The workshop results

    The whole course was completed by 100 % of the participants (as 12 participants followed since the beginning) and 23 students received certificates of the CVE workshops attendance. The total number of the hours taught was 256 according to the approved schedule. Each of the modules was concluded with a self-evaluation session in which the students could present their views on the workshops and discuss possible course improvements with the trainers. This feedback was summarised and sent to the evaluator. Additional conclusions have been drawn from evaluation questionnaires and interviews.

    - The programme was assessed by the participants with a great deal of enthusiasm, the overall score approaching 5 (scale 1 - 5). Only some of the students were puzzled by the workshop objectives and the lower score given for this aspect (4+ on average) perhaps discloses an uncertainty on the main goals of the training.
    - The students gave an equal applause to the instructors and appreciated the opportunity to have worked with people of outstanding personality. It is especially visible from the additional comments made by the students: they said that some of the instructors, both the educators (e.g. the philosopher) and the artists (e.g. the painter) had made a powerful impression on them and influenced their way of thinking.
    - In terms of the concrete results the programme was also highly valued by the students who ticked the highest score in cases of its educational aspects (interesting content, stimulation for further learning), relevance for their career, general usefulness in life and social benefits (new friends, relationships). However this should be read in the light of further specific comments provided by the students in the open sections of the questionnaire and the interviews. The value of working in a group, the value of discoveries of one's hidden self ("diving deep into myself") and the world outside ("everything I met here opened a new point of view for me") were stressed as the key benefits.
    - The participants suggested possible improvements for the workshop programme. Two aspects of the course came to the fore in this respect: its content, which could be increased, and an international dimension to the CVE course. The need to increase the content of the training should be understood as a willingness on the part of the students to participate in a more intensive course which would cover the module topics in more depth. The other factor mentioned arises from the participants' awareness that parallel courses were run in other European countries. They wished to confront their own learning with the workshops in other locations.

    The instructors who reflected on the course in the interviews and final evaluation questionnaires were astonished by the excellent atmosphere in the group. Before the course they expressed some reservations about the plan to teach a heterogeneous group of adults (different ages, abilities, professions, education).


    The CVE workshops have given a unique opportunity to investigate the ways of using art in lifelong learning courses: they were run in four different national, cultural and institutional settings which let the organisers draw conclusions valid trans-nationally beyond their own area of expertise. It is worth pointing out a number of issues which might facilitate the task of implementing the CVE methodology by other organisations:

    - The workshops were preceded by a planning phase in which the coordinator proposed a set of key competences to be trained and invited the other partners to define their own targets accordingly. In fact the formal list of skills based on the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning should have been concretised. In particular the Ostrava course has shown a need to reflect on the values represented in the recommendation in the light of the actual social and cultural make-up of the group of participants. Without such a reflection at first, at the stage of drafting the syllabus, the targets proposed might seem too abstract or even irrelevant in face of the real people who come to the course from different backgrounds and with different expectations.
    - Lifelong learning courses for disadvantaged adult students need to be organised in such a way as to allow of flexibility of approach. There are no other incentives for participation except for the genuine interest and satisfaction of the students. These courses differ from programmes which have something "hard" to offer: social security benefit conditioned by the course participation or concrete qualifications and skills needed for work. Accordingly it seems reasonable to base the training on a module-based approach if the workshops are planned over a long period of time. Setting high attendance and completion targets for a course requiring a long-term commitment from disadvantaged students might seem unrealistic, particularly in case of the participants who are already classified as "reluctant learners". The Vilnius course in particular proves its validity in this respect: separate modules are easier to develop methodologically and organisationally and their resulting quality is an encouragement in itself for the students to participate in the following workshops.
    - The issue of interdependence of arts and education was dealt with in two different ways. The best example of the first approach is the Berlin workshop. The course was not divided in two different blocks of classes according to the division of the two domains and their relevant methodology. Instead, the "cultural vehicles" were directly applied in educational tasks and facilitated the acquisition of skills and competences which go beyond the field of art (e.g. how to communicate with a younger generation, how to approach contentious issues in multicultural societies). This is certainly a valid procedure, which is also confirmed by the Vilnius course, founded on the belief that the very appreciation of art brings about educational benefits.
    - The approach chosen by Teatr Grodzki also proved its validity. The artistic and educational workshops were taught as two parallel courses, interdependent but still organisationally and methodologically different. The underlying belief here was that working on a purely artistic project (a theatrical play) raises the students' interest in a number of related subjects which can be dealt with separately once the participants are motivated to investigate these issues. Indeed the student's long-term participation in both workshops has proven the value of the motivating mechanisms of "cultural vehicles". The group of disadvantaged learners was led far beyond the domain of art and studied subjects related to history, geography, philosophy, even touched on science and technology.

    Aleksander Schejbal, Director of Educational Centre EST, Wadowice

    The Bielskie Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre
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