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    REPORTS - GERMANY - 3rd report

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

    Die Wille gGmbH


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

    1. Between the last report from 15. April and this stage of the project the learners have participated in the following activities/ workshops with the themes: "Theatre workshop I";"Disciplinary device or benevolent support? - How do children learn? ";"Children and religion - What are elements of successful intercultural communication?";Theatre workshop II: "Conflicts among children caused by differing cultural/religious backgrounds";"Learning to criticise in a constructive, positive way";"Communication with children with deviant behavior";For more details see revised Course Program from 20.08.2008, workshops Nr. 8 to 13,
    2. Preparing and realisation of the CVE-partners' meeting in Berlin (12.+13. June 2008)
    3. Visit of Alexsander Schejbal in Berlin (18. July 2008), responsible for the evaluation. Topics of the meeting: The project's progress, statistical data of the participants, difficulties and strategies undertaken to solve the problems. Mr Schejbal attended the performance of the theatre workshop.
    4. Working on the program of the Vilnius conference (workshop and project presentation, sent as a draft to the coordinator T.G.)
    5. Recruitment of participants for the conference (sending emails to people who might be interested, announcement on the website of Die Wille).
    6. Working on the interim report (financial and confidential part).

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

    The main problem was that some of the participants left the project after participating in some of the workshops, some due to illness, some because they got a job, some out of other reasons. We overcame this problem by recruiting new participants from other measures which are carried out by Die Wille at the same time. Up to now 41 participants attended several workshops, some nearly all.

    In what way did the educational and artistic activities interact? Please give some specific examples.

    As all workshops topics are connected with the participants' current situation (being long term unemployed, trying to reconnect with the labour market and passing through a temporally job placement in kindergartens) the emphasis of the educational matters is always based on these needs. This learner-centered approach, based on the concept of active and creative learning, led us to the decision not to separate the workshops in educational or artistic ones. Sometimes the focal point has been more on the educational, sometimes more on the artistic side, but both elements were effective in each of the workshops. They were facilitated by the same instructor (only for the theatre workshops I and II we had a second instructor). Materials and texts for the exemplification of the topics were chosen from literature, philosophy, education science, history and all kind of arts. The approach to the topics was undertaken in a way that was fun for the participants.An often used method was "Forum Theatre". For example, the participants told about conflict situations, the instructor invited them to present the situation in a scene, the other members of the group presented their ideas of solving the problem. See also: revised Course Program from 20.08.2008, summary,

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

    a) acquire certain competences and skills
    b) facilitate knowledge assimilation (learning specific information)

    Please give some specific examples.

    a) The participants learned, especially in the two theatre workshops, to develop little scenes in team work, based on their own and on others' social backgrounds and experience, to perform the scenes in front of the group members, as well as children in a kindergarten and Wille staff. The participants also acquired skills how to present their own opinion, to discuss and declare their decisions; they advanced their competences for verbal and non-verbal expression. They gained more self-confidence in dealing with artistic media and creative methods. They learned to utilize team- and partner-work to organize their learning process and to support each other in the elaboration of their tasks. The workshops advanced the growth of their awareness and respect for other people and a deeper insight in different cultural/religious backgrounds and how to deal with. b) The participants learned to analyze and to debate about different kinds of texts, given to them as hand-outs (poetry, philosophy, education science, religion, music, social sciences, history). They gained basic and special knowledge in the fields of psychology, conflict management, communication matters, children's education and language promotion. For example:

    - The complexity of the learning process and its different phases,
    - Learning types,
    - the importance of agreements/rules in communication,
    - gender aspects in behavior,
    - prerequisites for self-active learning.
    - Similarities and differences in divers religions, like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism.
    - Knowledge of intercultural conflicts, their cause and effect chain and strategies to solve or deal with them.
    - Social exclusion/ marginalisation in relation to misbehavior or aggression and examples how to interact more effectively.

    c) The participants also were acquainted with a number of methods used in the field of theatre, such as body language and facial expression, pantomime, comedy, using props and accessories to represent a character. They also learned a lot of creative artistic methods such as games and exercises which they can use in their professional and private life, when dealing with children.

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

    As already mentioned in the 2nd report, 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.

    In the feedback-rounds which were standard at the end of each workshop, the participants agreed that they felt always safe in the group to verbalize their thoughts, opinions and experiences and that they overcame their fear of acting or speaking in front of others. Even shy people declared that they enhanced their self-confidence and self-esteem and were thus able to better express themselves in front of an audience. Nearly all members of the group spoke frankly about their individual problems, personal experiences and efforts. To work on a topic in teams was a new experience for a lot of people and helped them in organizing their learning process.Some of the participants found great pleasure in acting and developing scenes, and performed with immense enthusiasm, showing much talent and capacity to empathize in other characters.One participating woman with a severe physical handicap (epilepsy) developed more and more managerial skills, assisting the instructor and motivating other more hesitant people to take part in the activities. In expressing herself, especially in the theatre workshops, she proved to be very creative and inventive. She took part in the performance of the first theatre workshop even though she received an injury on her knee. She attended nearly all workshops (twice she was ill) and gained new perspectives for her life.

    final_test_workshops >>>

    participants_feedback >>>

    play_scene football >>>

    play_scene_meyerhoff >>>

    Workshops 26. - 30. May 2008 >>>

    Photos/Videos from pilot workshops >>>

    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: