They wrote about us
Inclusive education has been a big topic in the field of education for many years. Although more than thirty years have passed since the Velvet Revolution, its condition is still not ideal. The legacy of performance segregated education from the time of socialism is still felt today, even though we have had several new generations of pedagogues since 1989.
The topic of inclusive education is very close to me, in the nineties I worked at the New School Foundation, where I participated in the implementation of the project of teaching assistants, who are now an integral part of the education system. And the segment of the non-profit sector dedicated to education is once again at the forefront of progress in the field of inclusion.
For this reason, I was interested in the Sar upre project of the organization Slovo 21, which focuses on the education of elementary school teachers. And that is exactly what is needed. Although the teachers have adequate pedagogical education, their expertise in the field of inclusive education is completely insufficient.
The basic problem is the uniform optics with which they look at the class collective during the educational process. They do not see children as individuals, personalities that come from different cultural and living conditions. Thanks to this bad perspective, they are unable to adapt teaching methods that would include the mentioned differences of children.
The Sar upre project is unique in its complexity. Not only in the course of the training, in an interactive form, the pedagogues will supplement the necessary skills (targeting the educational needs of individual pupils, the composition of the teaching mosaic, motivating individual pupils to learn, life mentoring, etc.), but at the same time, as part of the implementation of the project, they create unique supporting teaching materials that are for the pedagogues available in subsequent learning.
I rate the short animated puppet film directed by Jakub Červenka, which was also created as part of the Sar upre! project, as very good. According to the reactions of the teachers, it was very interesting and I believe that it will be seen not only by teachers, but also by the wider professional public. It is one of the ways to approach the issue of inclusive education in a playful and creative way.
I believe that the implementation of similar projects can move the issue of inclusive education a significant step further.
About the Little Autumn School of Inclusion
We informed you about the small autumn school that took place as part of the Sar Upre inclusive education project back in November 2022. What does such a training look like? Reflections directly from its participants can best describe it!
In November 2022, we completed a three-day course with a residential trip as part of the Sar Upre project. Our class is established according to § 16, paragraph 9 of the Act for pupils with mild mental disabilities. We function as a "small class" at II. level of ordinary elementary school. The classroom climate is based on tolerance for differences, working with emotions, safe space for mistakes, peer learning and collaboration. The team consists of a total of 14 girls and boys in the 6th, 8th and 9th grades. Most of the children come from difficult social conditions, some pupils from a very unstimulating family environment. The opportunity to participate in such an event was unique for the students. Being in a different environment without family, sleeping in a nice boarding house, was the first time even for fifteen-year-old pupils.
The lessons were methodically well prepared by the teams of teachers present. They included alternating activities, working in groups, singing a song on the given topic. Action learning methods contributed to the mastery of new concepts. The adaptation of teachers' communication and the adequacy of the curriculum helped to overcome the children's fears and initial shyness. The children took away new knowledge from the lessons, which they enjoyed. Mutual sharing between teachers, an insight into the ways of work of colleagues from other cities and a final joint evaluation of teaching methods were also essential.
Long after their return, the children at school enthusiastically recounted their experiences. For the pupils, the project conceived in this way was also beneficial for the practical development of social skills, independence and broadening of horizons.
A year ago, the short puppet film Sar Upre! How to do it! was released.
Also read some of the reactions to the film.
...we thank you for your specific work, which you advance the adoption and domestication of inclusive education in the Czech Republic.
Jan Zajíc - Nová Škola, o.p.s.
I congratulate you on a nice video, which in such a short time was able to succinctly express the main idea of inclusion.
This is the first year we have been involved in the Sar Upre project! How to do it! which refers to inclusive education and helps to create a positive environment in schools as well as in individual classes. Joint activities also extend to cities throughout the Czech Republic. The created puppet film about Inclusive education can help to understand the topic of cooperation of all actors who are involved in the topic. We sent the link to the film to schools established by the Prague 4 district and shared it on social networks. We have had positive reactions to this film from teachers whose Prague 4 district is the founder.
We perceive very well the meeting of all actors involved in the project on the topic of inclusive education, during which, through examples of good practice, there is enrichment regarding the role of the organization Slovo 21 z.s. as project implementer.
Náš partner MČ Praha 4
What else awaits us in the project? January 2023
The last (sixth training in order) on the topic of supporting positive student behaviour in the classroom awaits us in all three cities. In the end, due to illness, Marie Gottfriedová will not lead the training, as was planned at the beginning of the project, but the equally experienced headmistress of the elementary school Neštěmická will. As part of the training, participants will learn:
What a teacher should know from the field of child psychology (ontogenetic and evolutionary development of the brain, the topic of student safety at school, principles of interaction between a student and a teacher)
Strategies for strengthening positive student behaviour at school (prevention and intervention)
Support for positive student behavior at school (specific procedures and strategies, physical environment at school, procedures, expectations).
With the conclusion of the project, we are finally waiting for the final meeting of the representatives of the individual participating schools.
What was the most successful method for the training participants, from the knowledge brought from Iceland
Perhaps the greatest success was achieved by the method of working in a group with clearly assigned team roles:
Group Leader/Chair: Makes sure everyone understands the instructions and participates.The chair will call on the teacher if no one in the group knows the answers or what to do.
Organizer/Time Keeper: Works with the Chair to organize the time the group has for each project or task.
Presenter: Together with the other members of the group, he decides how the presentation should look.
Negotiator: Makes sure everyone in the group gets along; so that no one is left out; and if the work is successful, he praises and encourages.
Courier: The only one allowed to leave his seat. Brings materials such as paper, pens, etc.
Depending on the number of students in the group, an individual may have multiple roles.
At the training sessions, primary school teachers and I tried this method in pairs and threes.
Small autumn school of inclusion
As part of the Sar Upre! How to do it! a three-day training session for primary school teachers took place in Kytlice in České Švýcarsko. Eight teachers tried individualised teaching. The participants were given the task of developing a model lesson (and not being afraid to try something new that they wouldn't dare to do in regular lessons) and then present it to the present class of 10 pupils, some of whom had special needs.
The participants of the small autumn school then received a reflection on their model lesson in the afternoon and were further trained in other methods of inclusive education, while the children had their own program. the small inclusion school was led by the project's experts: Jitka Jilemická, Jiří Kocourek and Iveta Němečková.
What awaits us in November?
We are starting the 5th round of training on the subject of Inclusion in pedagogical practice under the baton of the expert of this project, Mgr. Jiří Kocourek, Vietnamese, mediator and intercultural worker. The training will address, for example: The way of using other subjects (IEP, teaching assistants, intercultural assistants, interpreters, educational advisors, special pedagogue, psychologist, PPP, doctors...), Use of knowledge about inclusion for the creation of SVP, Problems that are solved from on the part of teachers and counseling facilities, the entire training will be conducted in the form of a guided discussion.
At the end of November, the Little School of Inclusion is waiting for us, where teachers can try inclusive education in practice.
What is happening with the new school year 22/23
We continue to implement the Sar Upre project! How to do it!, which aims to broaden the horizons and increase the competence of primary school teachers so that they can provide personalized individual support for each of their pupils.
With the new school year comes another wave of training for teachers on the topic of inclusive education, for all 3 participating locations (Prague, Ústí nad Labem, Olomouc). So what topics can teachers look forward to?
3. training on the topic of Psychological-pedagogical diagnosis of pupils in the classroom with a link to teaching methods, which will bring the teacher's tool closer to knowing the conditions, course and result of the controlled process. Based on this diagnosis, it is possible to forecast further education in order to develop the personality of each student.
4. training Methods and forms of work with an emphasis on the differentiation of studies. Teaching methods and organizational forms changed together with changes in society. This is precisely why we encounter different teaching methods in education. This training will help teachers to appropriately choose a teaching method with an individual approach for each student.
Both of these trainings are prepared and delivered by our expert Mgr. Iveta Němečková, head of the department of education for Prague 3. In the course of the training, topics such as individualization in teaching based on different temperaments, types of learning, different types of intelligence according to H. Gardner and many others are addressed. These trainings have received positive feedback from teachers. Since the groups already know each other from previous trainings, the participants' experiences are also shared every time.
The Small School of Inclusion is also being prepared - a three-day practical training that will take place until the second half of November. The unique concept will welcome teachers and their students. Program participants will thus be able to test new knowledge in practice and receive valuable feedback on the spot. If you are interested in participating in the training, do not hesitate to contact us
What we learned from sharing experiences from practice in the field of inclusive education in Iceland
In April, we went on a visit to Iceland organized by our partner Evris Foundation in project Sar Upre! to gain experience with the educational methods that work there.
First, we got to know the UNICEF school, which is built on the principle of educating children about their rights and responsibilities. The school includes a management group, which includes 12 children, 6 employees and a parent. Children and adults also approve a class charter together, in which they specify the rights they think are most important. Through the Charter, children learn that rights are universal and understand that their rights are linked to respecting the rights of others. A group of children from the school also put on a performance that their parents came to see, despite it being a working morning. This is because it is common in Iceland for parents to attend school events and employers regularly take them off work for these events. The result of the UNICEF school is greater self-esteem and well-being of children, reduction of bullying and exclusion, better school attendance, greater engagement of children and young people in learning, involvement in decision-making about schools, promotion of global justice and less prejudice.
We then learned about the Daily 5 Method, a literacy learning framework that promotes independence in learning and helps create a classroom full of learners from an early age. Daily 5 stands on five pillars: reading to yourself, working on writing, reading to others, listening to the word read and working on vocabulary.
We also visited the Iceland Center in Austurbæjarskóli. We were interested in the "Bridge-builders" presentation on parent education. We learned how in Iceland they approach cooperation with parents of children from multilingual households. For example, Iceland uses linguistic and cultural mediators who speak Polish and Filipino. Other tools are also various courses, seminars, information, as well as support for teachers, individual assistance and bilingual support for pupils and educational seminars for parents.
Friday we spent leairning in workshops in the Icelandic Ocean Cluster. At the workshop, we were introduced to various techniques that are used in intercultural education. One of them is the game Sit if, the purpose of which is for children to figure out for themselves what they have in common with others, but also how they differ. Game Find my group? in turn, it teaches children to experience the feeling of not belonging and at the same time how pleasant it can be, what it feels like to belong somewhere. After each game comes the part Think-Work in pairs-Share, when children reflect aloud the meaning of the task, what they learned during it and share their thoughts and feelings from the game with others.
The concept of Cooperative Learning in Multicultural Groups (KUMS) is also interesting. There are different roles within KUMS such as the group chairperson who makes sure everyone understands the instructions and participates. An organizer works with the chairman, who monitors the time the group has allocated to the given task. The negotiator makes sure that everyone in the group gets along, while the presenter, together with the other members of the group, decides how the presentation should look. KUMS follows the rules that everyone is good at something, no one is good at everything, and no one is as smart as all of us put together. The group then solves various tasks and questions together. There was also a workshop on how to fight discrimination and build meaningful connections between cultures through education and quality intercultural communication. At the workshop, we learned about the steps Iceland is taking to promote positive change. We thus took away a lot of new knowledge and experience from Iceland, which we can further use in our work.
We would like to present you with a short puppet film about inclusive education Sar Upre! How to do it! How to do it! The film is intended to support teachers from Czechia in the principles and vision of inclusive education in Czech schools, but it is intended for everyone who is interested in this topic. The script was created based on the experience of our experts in this field and was created from the cooperation of the organisation Slovo 21, z.s., screenwriter and director Radek Beran and video production company Bedna Films, s.r.o.
Why is this important for us?
"Inclusive education is much needed in the Czech Republic. Our society is very divided and it is not beneficial for any group of people. If we succeed in introducing inclusive education into our education system, it will significantly transform our entire society in the future. " - Marie Gottfriedová, director of the Primary School in Trmice
Inclusive education is not just for individuals or some of the children. Every child wants to feel an integral part of the collective. Every child has the right for it.
Project Sar Upre! (How to!) is funded by the EEA Funds 2014-2021 Education programme. Through the EEA Funds, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area (EEA) and to strengthening cooperation with 15 European states.
News in the Sar Upre project
In the framework of our Sar Upre project, which focuses on the issue of inclusive education, we held a training session that had to be postponed from November due to the coronavirus. We are also planning a training in the second module and you can look forward to a puppet film!
The third training of the first module took place in January. This time the focus was on teacher psychohygiene and stress management. The training took place in the library of the Řezníčkova Primary School, where it was supposed to take place at the end of November. Unfortunately, the experts who were supposed to lead the training were quarantined and therefore the training had to be postponed.
The training was led by Jitka Jilemnická, an experienced accredited mediator and facilitator, one of the founders of mediation in the Czech Republic, and Jiří Kocourek, who specializes in applied sociology.
Thanks to a prepared test, which included questions on sleep, diet and so on, the participants could find out whether they are at risk of burnout syndrome and what to do about it, try to "slice the stress bear", learn breathing exercises to calm down and clear their heads and generally share their experiences and frustrations from practice.
The training received a very positive response. "Well, I have to admit that I didn't really want to come here today, but I'm really glad I did in the end," said one of the participants of the training.
The coronavirus situation also affected the second module on Classroom Climate. This training had to be rescheduled from the planned January dates to February and, in the case of Olomouc, the end of March. The training will be led by Jan Korda, the principal of Lyčkovo náměstí Primary School in Prague, who has deep experience in motivating teachers and other school staff as well as in building an atmosphere of trust and staff development.
New puppet film!
Preparations for our short puppet film are also being finalized! It will be available to watch in February and we think it has been a great success, so you definitely have something to look forward to.
The central figures in the activities of the Sar Upre! How to do it!, focused on inclusive education in Czech schools, are educators from all over the country. The first training module on "Teacher Psychohygiene" took place in Prague and Ústí nad Labem. Teachers are a role model for their students, so it is extremely important that they can easily manage the stress factors of their profession. The training in the Olomouc Region had to be postponed due to the anti-epidemiological measures of the Government of the Czech Republic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been for second year interfering with project Sar Upre! activities. The follow-up training module for teachers on "Classroom Climate", focused on teacher communication with pupils, which was planned to take place in Prague and Ústí nad Labem at the beginning of December, had to be moved. We hope to make it happen during January 2022.
There is currently intensive communication with our Icelandic partner to coordinate a visit to Iceland of the Sar Upre!expert team, where they will gain experience and examples of good practice of other European countries in the field of inclusive education. We hope that the expert team will be able to go to Iceland on International Roma Day on April 8, 2022.
We are finishing a short puppet film on inclusive education. A short puppet film will playfully help to understand the whole system of inclusive education. Screenwriter and director Radek Beran works on the film, and the materials for the screenplay were provided by the expert and school principal Marie Gottfriedová. The Bedna Films studio took over the filming.
Text: Vladislav Nagaitcev
Sar Upre: The first training sessions and puppet movie!
The activities within the Sar Upre project are intended to lead to a better implementation of inclusive education in Czech schools so that teaching can develop all children without distinction. Teacher training is designed to help with this. The first two have already taken place. A short puppet film will also help in understanding inclusion, which we have also already shot and are looking forward to seeing the result!
Teacher training in Prague and Ústí nad Labem
Teachers from all over the Czech Republic are very important for all Sar Upre activities. In order for inclusive education to run smoothly and lead to better participation of all pupils in learning, it is essential to have properly trained teachers. We are very pleased that the first teacher training has already taken place in our capital city and also in Ústí nad Labem.
The aim is for teachers to find out what educational needs pupils have and also what their strengths are. It is necessary to find out what activities suit them. The teacher's role is very important because they can motivate pupils and also be their mentor. Our training courses will help teachers on this path and answer the frequently asked question "how to do it?" in the context of inclusion.
The puppet film will help in understanding inclusion: Filming has already taken place
As part of Sar Upre's activities, a puppet film focusing on inclusive education was to be produced. And we are proud to announce that the filming a few days back has already taken place!
The film is especially aimed at teachers from all over the Czech Republic. This short puppet film will help them to understand the whole issue of inclusive education.
The script is written based on the experience of our experts in the field of inclusive education. The scriptwriter and director Radek Beran is working on the film. The script was written by expert Marie Gottfriedová. The film was shot by Bedna Films studio.
Is inclusive education really needed in the Czech Republic?
Inclusive education is very much needed in the Czech Republic. Our society is very divided and it is not beneficial for any group of people. If we succeed in implementing inclusive education into our education system, it will significantly change our entire society in the future. We will see it as a cohesive place instead of a divided society. We will not be selfishly oriented only to ourselves. We will be more capable of empathy and mutual support. A healthy society will emerge. For these reasons, I see inclusive education as a necessity.
What country can you cite as a good example in the inclusion system?
There are more countries that are doing better now. But I would really like to highlight the Nordic countries (Finland / Norway / Sweden), which have a really good level of education and this can be seen in the society. These are countries where crime is low and where society is cohesive. Where we can live quite safely without fear, because people have an anchored value framework that is reflected in all aspects of their lives.
Society anchored this way must have roots somewhere. I believe that they are rooted in education. Education, focused not only on encyclopedic knowledge, which I learn to renounce in testing, and then forget about it, but also an education that is focused on competencies, cooperation, communication, research or discovering of the world. Our society must move towards this.
Who helps to change the situation of inclusive education? Who is the "agent of change"? Public sector or non-profit?
They are mainly non-profit organizations and pedagogical teams. Unfortunately, I would say that the state's participation is relatively weak in this case. Our state does not have a clear vision and does not have a value-oriented way in which education should work.
Have you met with support from the Ministry of Education?
Before the pandemic, I only had a formal relationship with the Ministry of Education. Everything changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. After the lockdown I established closer contacts with the Ministry of Education. I feel a much greater willingness on their part to listen. We are currently addressing the level of support in methodological materials. I perceive the situation positively. International cooperation is also very important.
What was your path to inclusion?
It started when I became a school principal 16 years ago. In the very first school year, parents came and applied for the admission of a disabled daughter to our school. I am very grateful for that, because at the beginning of my career I was in contact with differences. Every child is different and that is the reality of life. The girl was very clever, intelligent and empathetic. It was really just a matter of technical matters - building a ramp, an elevator so she could get to school. Gradually, I realized that the stories of children who do not appear to be handicapped are much more difficult ... It is our duty to take care of all children. We must create the conditions for their growth, that is why we are teachers, that is why we are here.
WHAT DOES INCLUSIVE EDUCATION BRING US?
Inclusive education is a way of designing our schools, classes, curricula and lessons so that all children can participate and learn. Inclusion is also about finding different ways of teaching so that classes can actively involve all children. It also means looking for ways to develop friendships, relationships and mutual respect between all children and between children and teachers at school.
Inclusive education is not just for individuals or some children. Every child wants to feel an integral part of the team. Every child has the right to a personal approach.
Inclusive education is a way of thinking about how to be creative, so that our schools are a place where all children can get involved. Creativity can mean that the teacher will have to learn new ways of teaching or will design his lessons so that all children can participate in them. Inclusive education reflects the need for all our children to be valued and accepted throughout their lives. Creating a healthy environment for growth is up to us and our teachers. There is always room for improvement and education should be constantly evolving. As part of the Sar Upre project, which focuses on the inclusive education of children in primary schools, we work with an international team of experts and collect examples of good practice. The created methodological materials will serve as an aid for teachers on the way to inclusive education.
Main principles of inclusive education
Every child can learn
Each child regularly attends a class appropriate to his age
Every child receives an "tailor-made" educational program
Every child receives knowledge that meets his needs
Every child can participate in joint and extracurricular activities
Every child benefits from cooperation between home, school, community
How to do inclusive education?
When teaching and leading activities that lead to inclusive goals, it seems very good to follow a few of the following methodological principles. The following simple steps can lead students to understand more deeply the meaning of the things that are happening around them, to understand them in context, to begin to perceive that even though there exist groups between them,those groups are made of individual people. They can work better with concepts that are not explain rigidly. Each tool can be an obstacle or an aid. Concepts shouldn't be just followed, but also we should keep thinking about them, filling them with new content and using them for our lives. Again, these methods significantly increase the motivation to learn in general.
If we compare two different cultures, we first verbalize what is similar and then what is different. At the same time, we emphasize that if the personality of the person is not found on the surface, it can be found below the surface (reasons, more general characteristics, etc.).
The educator can verbalize and teach students to perceive that what they see has its causes. Speech does not have to be a stimulus yet. Two people with the same behavior can have two different reasons for this behavior. Conversely, people with the same goal may behave completely differently.
The teacher can always verbalize in any topic and subject: how the topic appears in general, but also how the topic differs in different countries, at different times, in different groups, in different individuals. Always point out that an individual is something other than a group. That an individual can co-create a group and vice versa the group can act on the individual.
The educator can work with students in a way they can realize, that any verbal description, article, concept is a necessary reduction of life around us. We have to create concepts and words and opinions in order to grasp our world in some way, but theconcepts cannot be identified withthe reality. Therefore, we must understand terms as variable boxes with variable content. One thing is a model (for example, a description of a personality or culture in a book), another thing is a reality that is always much more varied. Whenever we describe a group, it is important to know how much we researched it, when and how much we really know. Is this a misconception about her? Is it one subjective experience? Is it a long-term knowledge of the group? Is it a study of the group?
It is always very important to compare each theory with practice. Theories are excellent for explaining some phenomena, but one theory can never explain completely real life. Therefore, it is not essential to lead students only to the knowledge of theories, but it is necessary that they are able to use them in life. Therefore, the origin of philosophy was accompanied by the idea that philosophy is an applied science
We are organising initial meeting with interested elementary schools
In mid February we are organising two initial meetings with interested elementary schools.
The meetings will take place on Tuesday 16th of February from 10:00 AM till 12:00 AM and on Thursday 18th of February from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM, on-line via Zoom.
We would also want to present our new poster SAR UPRE! How to do it!
On Tuesday 26th of January 2021 a meeting with new Czech project coordinator took place
There was an on-line meeting of project team members with new Czech expert Jan Husák.
The first introductory meeting with school that will take place this February was discussed.
This year will be full of activities with focus on inclusive education
On December 2, the 1st international meeting of project experts took place via application zoom.
Due to the situation associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic and emergency measures, the meeting of experts had to take place in an online environment. The experts introduced themselves to each other. The Czech side then presented to the Icelandic side the Czech education system, the legislative anchoring of inclusive education in the Czech Republic and what the real situation is in practice. Icelandic experts will share their experiences at the next zoom online meeting on Thursday, December 10, 2020.