domenica 20 luglio 2014


XXX RIDEF: Preparazione del RIDEF : Foto di Cristina Contri Lavori in corso a Reggio Emilia: ringraziamo che sta lavorando per preparare la ricezione di quasi 45 ...

mercoledì 16 luglio 2014

My name is Ingrid

My name is Ingrid. 
I was  a Professor of Educational Science, since I retired from work in 2010. But I’m still giving courses at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
I taught and I’m still teaching Educational Science, and my favorite  fields of research and teaching were
Freinet-Pedagogy  and Intercultural Education (= work with different  groups of migrant     children)
Here are some of my books treating these subjects.

Since 1973 until now, I am teaching  students who want to become teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools.  About 1980, I got in contact with Freinet Pedagogy, and since then the ideas and “technics” of Freinet  took a large part in my thinking, writing  and teaching about good school practice.
Later on, I went to national and international Freinet Meetings, and took responsabilities in Freinet teacher training in Germany and in the Directory Board of  the FIMEM (from 2010 to 2012, I was the International Secretary of the FIMEM). I studied French and German, and I speak and write French and Spanish fluently, but I apologize for my English.I even made some  attempts to learn the Turkish language, but I found it very very difficult…
From 1975 to 1993, I worked at the University of Duisburg, in the Ruhr District of Germany, where millions of migrant workers lived (and still live) with their children (most of them from Turkey). There I started – together with a group of young teachers – to introduce Freinet Techniques in classes with a high amount of migrant children, who had to learn German as a second language. We tried to work with Freinet techniques, for instance we went out of the classroom with the children, in order to explore the surroundings of the children’s homes and their (ugly but interesting) part of the town. And we invited them to use the German language in natural situations, such  as buying fruits and vegetables on the market. So they  used their German vocabulary in authentic speech acts, and – back in the classroom –made rehearsels by  “cooking” fruit salad and vegetable soup together.

This is only an example how to refer to Freinet Techniques in order to develop individualized and living instruction of German as a Second Language. It is a shame that school success for migrant children in the German school system is very hard to reach, and that a high porcentage of them still fail. The challenge actually is to insert the children of refugees in German schools. How can we give them a fair chance of success?

martedì 8 luglio 2014

Teaching/learning experiences

Teaching children

 I have took part Comenius-program three times in my elementary schools. Now we have got together seven European countries: Finland, Estonia, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Greece and Cypros. It is very interesting to travel to other schools in Europe and get to know their school life. We have done many kind of activities with pupils in the age 6-12 years; short mowies, a story book, songs,  a cooking book is coming, Skype connection between schools etc. We use eTwinning as well.  Our language is English but we try to learn every language a bit and of course we learn much about other cultures. If you want to see our activities you find some of them here:

Teaching adults
I teach Italian to adults in a folk college. They come to the lessons once a week for 1,5 hour. Of course people are tired after the work. They need much different kind of activities: music, films, listening the language/grammar in video, pair exercises, stories and experiences about Italy (travelling and culture), even tastes. I try to get them move a bit during the lessons. I create pair exercices also by myself. Like this:
There are two students. The other one tries to create his dialogue in Italy and the other student knows the right answer. He can help if needed. Both of them have got the conversation paper Finnish-Italian.
Student B starts.

Student A                                                                               Student B

- Hello!                                                                                    - Ciao!
- Ciao. Come stai?                                                                   - Hello. How are you?
- I am fine, thanks.                                                                   - Sto bene, grazie. E tu?
- Sto benissimo!                                                                       - I am really fine!
- Shall we go to the bar?                                                          - Andiamo al bar?
...                                                                                               ...

This exercises can be very easy in the beginning. I think, repetition is really important in learning languages - and that the students try to speak much even if they make mistakes.

Anne from Finland

lunedì 30 giugno 2014

Literacy, Art, dance, creativity and play activities

I had interesting and good experiences as an educator, trainer and but also as a learner, that I would like to share with you, they are so many and i have to much to say about each one, that I really can't do it, so, I'll select a few that I maybe can be usefull for your own contexts and do a hard sinteses. Dance and literacy are rarely together, but as dance is one of my passions, I try to develop activities on this field and I was lucky to work with choreographers that used as base input poetry, stories and writting activities.

Experiences as LEARNER:

Italian for Foreigners

I had a very good experience on Officina Creativa Interculturalle as a student of Italian for foreigners mainly because they were flexible, sensitive and understandive enough towards the situation of being a foreigner. Our fears, needs, expectations, dreams, particularities and isolation situation, where included as part of the lesson and used as theme for learn italian language. Independent of all ages, cultures, life situations, italian level, we will always start and finish with a simple activity together, which help us to connect with each other, that shared the some common strugle.

The strongest point of this experience was the hosting, the enviorment of open arms, listening, looking, mediator of diferent cultures and gather promotion, and the creative, personal and non formal education methodologies.

The weakest point of this experience was the dificulty to adjust the diferent levels of italian, assure the continuity of evolution between classes, lack of evaluation moments for exchange feedbacks and the certificate of learning that is recognized.

Story Telling Course

On this course we were learning how to tell a story and all the process behind it, that mades each story teller different from another and the same story being told diferently as we put so much of our sensitivity and non verbal language inside but underline. But while we were learning we were listening each others stories repeatly and surprisly I wanted to hear it more and more which made understand how much we connect through these activities.

The strongest point of this experience the quality of the teacher's listening and feedback that made us improve and get more and more to our own style of storytellers.

The weakest point of this experience was that we could only choose the tales we would work.

Dance in community workshop, and course

In this workshop I learn how to connect to many different inputs with dance, from video, stories, choreographies. One example: with the theme weather, from a video of clouds movement drawing without look at the paper, selecting from all those lines shapes, write a story about it, tell it, and then dance it, while some of us do the music for it.

From the children's book of Jutta Bauer's “Screaming mother”, we plan a serie of multicultural dance classes, as the pieces of the penguin went to different part of the world, and we will rescuing his body parts focus the movement atention on those through the diverse local traditional dances.

Research and Dance Composition workshop

From the portuguese poetry of the book of Casimiro de Brito called “Where the body Ends” I learned how to work books both text through movement and dance composition in relation with the architeture of a public space.

Experiences as a TEACHER/TRAINNER:

Multiculturality through Dance workshop

I develop this workshop connecting the body expression with cultural inputs like traditional musics, enviornment, objects, ideas, symbols, history references from participants and common sense knowledge.

The activity was part outdoors so we use as input the architeture and the diversity of the space relating them with the world cultures.

The strong point was the diversity of inputs as impulse to movement, as it could suit the diversity of participants and the possibility to present how to work the diferent aspects of body movement and expression.

The weak point was find the coherence between the complex diversity and reach participants level of understanding.

Portuguese Culture Events

I organized portuguese culture events about literature, music and some particular places as city of porto. The idea is to present, to promote, to enchant, to enthusiast people about it and mainly connect them with a diferent, distant and foreign people and culture.

It was a challenge to get people interested on a language that though very close to italian it wasn't their own.

The strong point of these events were using the interactive art instalation and pathways methodology to present portuguese literature work very well to get people more active on their knowledge exploration and free to explore acording with their own interest.

The weak point of this events was that participants were a bit lost because there were not enough prepared guides and maybe not enough guide lines for the amount of things to explore since that the interactive and active experience is something that adults are not used to and are not expecting on a


Multicultural events

On these events adults were gather to find a meeting of at least two cultures about a theme that would be explored according with these cultures in order to promote a bigger intercultural dialogue on the cultural events and take advantage to involved local foreigners to teach us about their culture.

It was organized one about mythology (with Portugal, Germany, Greece and Holland) and one about Food (with Greece, Portugal and Hungary).

The strong point of these events were the surprising ability to enjoy the process of the activities proposed and the pleasure to find a place where they could connect with strangers through activities different from daily and with culture as mediator.

The weak point was that it was hard to involved them on the reflect process of those activities as they associate event and non formal education activities as a moment to enjoy the company of each other and have fun as priority and as a secondary level learn something and even less to be aware of it.

Workshop of book building “The Book that it isn't”

In this workshop adults, children and persons of all ages were invited to create a book never seen before from waste materials. It had to had a cover where the title, author, date, place and promotor (editor) would be placed, and then its content with some way of organize the pages with story content. The books where placed in the Library together with normal book, with a poster explaining what were they about and a basket with ideas for inviting readers to build at home more of these books, for a month.

The strong point of this activity was a great way to make understand what is behind the process of a book, the creativity required to it's building and the intime and afective connection created by build and sign the book made as the author.

The weekest point of this activity was the small community impact that it had.

English for children through literacy and play activity methodologies

One of the most effective ways to learn to speak and understand a language is the need and the enjoyment of use it.

On the children's English classes I  worked teaching english and literacy through songs, nursery rhymes sculptures, puppet theatre and theatre, dramatic expression, story telling, outdoor traditional games (that included verbalizing english sentences) were included. Besides that one of the biggest focus of my work was the play activities recreating literacy contexts such as: restaurants, supermarket, teddy bear hospitals, pretending travel experience, travel agency, shopping centre and the shops street and hotels. Finally we develop works about stories like art instalations and workshops of building their own books or of English vocabulary (to add to library school). 

The strong point of this classes were that the enjoyment of the kids, how much they learn in paralel about multiculturality and how to play.

The weak point of this project was that it was hard to explain all that was required to understand to develop this activities in english, specially because their if their capacity of attention would be finish after the explanation then to play in english it was hard.

domenica 29 giugno 2014

My teaching experience . . .

I teach Italian as a foreign language in a private school of Athens. In this school the students have a free choice of a second foreign language among Italian, French, German and Spanish (the first foreign language of course is English). They study their foreign language from the third elementary class until the third class of high school.
            So my students are from 8-15 years old !
            Therefore for the 3rd elementary class the main idea is to get the students close to the Italian sounds, the Italian pronunciation, culture and music. Basically I use flashcards, songs and videos with main educational tool the interactive blackboard.
            For the next classes they learn to write phrases, to decline verbs, to speak. The role-play activity is very constructive and they empower their communicative skills so as to reach at the last class of primary school to the A1 level. The students at this age participate to the PLIDA juniores exams of Società Dante Alighieri and they obtain the certificate of A1 level.
            For the high school I enrich their vocabulary, we improve speaking-reading and writing skills and the students reach at the B1-B2 level (PLIDA exams).
            As a weakness I have to refer that the students study Italian as a foreign language and not as a second language, which is very different. Second of all, in the context of a private school and the language exams of A1-A2 and B1-B2 level it becomes very difficult to find enough space for cultural activities and non formal education. I try to induct cultural stimulus and have a methodology based on a communicative context.

            A small sample of my work:
  • Visit to the Italian Institute of Athens with the students of elementary school. The students had the chance to speak in Italian, participate to an experimental workshop of Italian geography, attend an exhibition of photography dedicated to Venice and taste the famous Italian pizza….

  • Summer Workshop: “Greetings from Europe” where the students of Italian Language create their own postcards from Italy with the technique of a collage among monuments, photos, greetings in Italian and stamps from Italy for their friends. 

  • My body: a small workshop for the small students of elementary school.

  • My desires: The desires of the 3rd class of high school !