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    REPORTS - GERMANY - 2nd report

    Cultural Vehicles in Education - assisting the needs of vulnerable social groups

    Die Wille gGmbH


    Pilot workshops. Please describe the profile of the group and the recruitment process

    Since the last report, dated 15.02.08, the group of participants has consolidated more and more. Some participants did not attend all the workshop dates, caused by illness or by job-related reasons. The participation is voluntary. In the last workshop "Storytelling" some new persons joined it. The new participants were recruited from other projects run by Die Wille gGmbH, similar to the one which is described in the 1st report. For the 2-weeks workshop in May (19.-30.) we will recruite some other participants, because not all of the existing group will be able to attend.

    Please describe the main activities taken at this stage of the project

    Between the last report from 15. February and this stage of the project the learners have participated in the following activities/ workshops with the themes:

    1. "About anger, angry children and the anger in ourselves."
    2. "About the interrelation of emotions and intellect".
    3. "Learning to understand the chances but also the limitations of child-rearing."
    4. "Solving communication problems by using irony, comic and absurd behavior" - Excursion to an exhibition of the German poet, musician, actor and film director Karl Valentin (1882-1948).

    1. - 4. have been one day workshops.

    5. "Oral history and storytelling: From Fairy Tales to Rap", a four-days' workshop.

    For more details see revised Course Program, workshops Nr. 3 to 7, Attachment 1;and the attachments 2-10.

    Please describe any problems or difficulties at this stage of the project and the actions taken to overcome them

    There were not serious problems in the last two month.
    In what way did the educational and artistic activities interact? Please give some specific examples.The learner-centered creative approach of the workshops is always based on the needs of the participants. For example in Workshop 4 "About the Interrelation of Emotions and Intellect (How to Set and Respect Borders)", the participants discussed problems regarding this topic in their every day life in using texts from literature (e.g. poems from Goethe and other authors) and music (e.g. a song by Hildegard Knef). Special situations were transformed into little scenes, which were performed by the participants. In the interactive learning process the participants learned to respect the emotions and thoughts of the others, the personal perspective is broadened, the competence to give positive feedback is enhanced. The mood in the group is becoming more relaxed, confidential and respectful. Fears to open one self are minimized.

    How did the arts-based educational activities help the participants to:

    acquire certain competences and skills
    b) facilitate knowledge assimilation (learning specific information)Please give some specific examples.

    a.) By performing and reciting in front of the group poems and fables, little stories written by them selves, pieces from mythology and fairy tales the participants acquired skills how to present themselves, to discuss and declare their decisions, enhanced their capacity for verbal and non-verbal expression. This process gave them self-esteem and a better insight into their own competences and how to use them.The art based activities helped especially those participants, who are not used to debating in an academic, theoretical way. Every participant could feel he or she was contributing interesting aspects and individual experience to the process.The participants often utilized team- and partner-work to prepare and perform their tasks. This helped them to enhance their awareness and respect for the other group members and the strength of each individual person.
    b.) The participants learned a lot about cultural heritage, from the classic myths to fables, fairy tales and literature of different decades. Also modern poetry, like in pop songs and rap texts was used for thematic discourse. They gained basic knowledge in the fields of psychology, conflict management, communication matters, children's education and language promotion.

    Please reflect on progress made by individual persons (for example, increased motivation of a reluctant learner or better social skills of a shy participant).

    The positive feeling and the atmosphere of safety in the group, which was often verbalized by the participants in the open feedback-round, made it possible, that even shy people acquired enough self-confidence to speak freely in front of the whole group about their personal problems, fears, dreams and weakness. Some people, who had refused any kind of performing at the beginning of the course eventually found great pleasure in acting and telling stories.Some persons who were frightened to risk a conflict situation by criticizing a dominant member of the group, gained enough self-confidence to do this in a considerate way the other person could accept.Two participants with severe physical handicaps (epilepsy and severe rheumatism) developed managerial skills in the sense that they animated other more hesitating people to take part in the activities. They became esteemed and supported members of the group.In expressing themselves they proved to be very creative and inventive.

    The Bielskie Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre
    Premises - contact address: ul. Sempołowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland
    Office:ul.Sempołowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland ,
    Phone: +48 33 497 56 55, 496 52 19Fax: +48 33 497 56 55, mailto: