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Group Dynamics and Social Skills in the Classroom (Δυναμική Ομάδας και Κοινωνικές Δεξιότητες στην Τάξη), 24-07-2016 to 30-07-2016
Start date: Jul 10, 2016, End date: Jul 9, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

-Workframe/Context and background:The Special Elementary School of the Young (juvenile) Offender's Institution (otherwise known as youth detention centers or juvenile detention centers) of Volos, Greece, has a special population of students composed of diverse social, cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds. These young people are furthermore challenged in terms of learning and mental health. Most are Roma, with Greek, Albanian, Bulgarian, and other ethnic backgrounds, most are Christian Orthodox or Muslims. Many are school dropouts, facing illiteracy. Many are also mentally challenged students, students with antisocial behavior and other learning difficulties and so on. The correctional institution itself does not offer these young people any positive activities whatsoever. Therefore, this task is left to the school, exclusively. Among our curriculum activities, we consider active citizenship, social engagement and eco/environmental training as crucial. We believe that through this programme we can design approaches which could be directly implemented in our field of work. Our students are not motivated in principal. We employ an arsenal of techniques, mainly positive reinforcement through token economy (coupons for positive behavior and school attendance, multidisciplinary approach, etc.), however we always seek new approaches to add to our repertoire. We participate in this project with very specific targets and with very specific plans for the implementation of the subject in consideration. All members of the team will fill a form as to what are each one's specific interests. Moreover, each one has to present to the rest of the group practical implementation methods of the taught subject in the classroom and extra-curricular activities.-Profile of the participants:We demand highly motivated participants, especially for Erasmus+ programmes. Ideal participants should be able to incorporate the offered knowledge and tools in their work frame. They should also be able to describe how they will achieve maximum dispersion, not only for professionals of related scientific fields, but for the total personnel of other schools. Of course, a working knowledge of the language used in the seminar is required. Good team spirit, communication skills, cooperativeness, initiative, even leadership skills are appreciated. We would like to pinpoint that we include colleagues with less than enough experience and working years in our school, in order to motivate the entire professional team. Ideally, postgraduate studies, self-presentation and presentation skills, particularly in large groups, and an adequate scientific work (papers, publications, projects, presentations, etc.) will be considered as additional selection bonus. However, the ultimate requirement is consisted by these traits in a participant’s profile which will represent our school in a positive way, in other words they will serve as “ambassadors” not just for the school, but our educational system and our country. -Impact, dissemination and long-term benefits:1) Initially, the project will presented and spread to all school staff (even those who will not participate in the seminar), as we have already established internal training with presentations in areas where each member of our team has some expertise.2) Dissemination in a local level will be achieved through seminars targeted to special and general schools in the area (material will be created ad hoc) within six months of the seminar.3) An ad hoc web page is already created, and it will include the current programme too. Also, a newsletter platform will serve to achieve dissemination at a national level. These implementations are planned within two months from the seminar dates. The newsletter will be updated regularly, and will include new data, experiences and relevant material. All our material will be open source.Of course, we are always open to use any convenient form of communication (email, skype, phone, etc.) with our partners and other school staff who might be interested. Contact data and pertinent details will be included in the web page as well as the newsletter.In the long term what we already pursue, is an attempt to change the institutionalized framework, enriching the daily lives of our students with anything facilitating active citizenship, social and ecological awareness and ultimately one's self. As standard curriculum tools unfortunately don't suffice, we have to be inventive as we advance through each academic year. Of course, we rely on the principles of pedagogical and psychological science, alongside with testing and experimentation. We estimate that the specific project engaging an international team and also supported by an organization with extensive experience in the subject, will provide us with fresh approaches in our challenging task.

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