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Empower teachers to embrace diversity
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project Empower teachers to embrace diversity aims to educate teachers of the COB Roda Roda Gasse in crucial competences to successfully deal with the high diversity at the school, in order to support all students best in their learning. The COB Roda Roda Gasse is a secondary school in the 21st district of Vienna and has a very high diversity in their student’s population regarding cultural background, language background, social and academic skills of the students. Out of the 245 students at the school have 70% another language than German as mother tongue and all in all there are students with more than 20 mother tongues present. Additionally 18% of all students have Special Education Needs. To support the learning and the development of this highly diverse group of students in the best way, COB Roda Roda Gasse has put a focus on the development of two fields, namely foreign language education and the development of targeted pedagogic and scientifically supported activities for students for developing their social skills. During the project Empower teachers to embrace diversity two teachers will participate in education about theater pedagogy and circus pedagogy, to support the newly founded school theater group and the newly founded school circus. Both the school theater group and the school circus provide a unique opportunity for the students of COB Roda Roda Gasse to develop their social skills in a hands-on and playful manner, while fostering tolerance. The students also learn in a learning-by-doing manner, how to solve conflicts and how to deal with aggression. The further education in theater pedagogics should also allow the school to offer social skill course with theater pedagogical elements to students with a difficult socio-cultural background from different classes. Additionally a third teacher will be sent abroad during the Empower teachers to embrace diversity project, with the aim to further develop foreign language skills. The long-term objective behind this action is to establish teachers as positive role models for multilingualism and thereby encourage students to see their own multilingualism as strength and as a skill worth developing. An additional benefit of the further development of foreign language skills is the positive effect on the communication with parents, who cannot speak German. Last but not least should this action also facilitate collaborations with schools from abroad, which will foster and strength the thought of a strong and united European community in the students of the school, which is a very valuable long-term benefit. The three teachers that will participate in this project should act as multiplicators in the teacher’s body of COB Roda Roda Gasse with sharing the acquired knowledge through workshops and presentations with their colleagues and with acting as positive role models and thereby inspire other teachers to consider an advanced training abroad, in order to foster the further development of the school.
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