English teacher at Ignalina Česlovas Kudaba Progymnasium, LAKMA board member
In November 2013, a group of 10 teachers, who are members of various subject teacher associations in Lithuania, had an opportunity to do a short-term internship in Poland. The visit was organised by the Education Development Centre. Our aim was to get to know more about the activities of the teacher associations in Poland and the recent changes in the Polish educational system.
We visited a number of official institutions of the Polish educational system and found out about the current educational reforms, the ongoing international projects, the various forms of developing teacher professional competences as well as the functions of school headmasters, particularly in motivating teachers.
The internship programme included visits to different institutions in Warsaw, such as Education Development Centre, Mazowieck Region Teachers’ House, Lyceum named after Ruy Barbosa, and also a visit to the Educational Centre in Augustuv.
One of the most interesting events during the internship was the meeting with the representatives of the association of non-governmental organisations “Szansa” (The Chance). They told us how a group of freelance educators, psychologists and actors created an effective way of working with children and youth, which emphasizes their daily involvement in creative activities. Adult educators invite children and teenagers to do various things together, but try not do dominate. This kind of approach gives confidence to young people and helps them become responsible for their ideas and actions.
Overall, during the visit to Poland we were greatly impressed not only with the scope of recent changes in their educational system, but also with the enthusiasm and inspiration of the people implementing new ideas and carrying out new projects.
Though we didn’t have a lot of spare time, we managed to visit a few tourist attractions, such as the Old Town of Warsaw, the Museum of Frederick Chopin and the incredible Copernicus Science Centre.