• Archil Tsulaia

Job Shadowing in the Czech republic

From 2 to 8 April 2022 in the framework of the project “1+1 Synergy for Democratic Culture” team from Georgia carried out a job-shadowing visit in the Czech Republic. The Georgian team consisted of four members: Tamar Bauzhadze, Nana Marghania, Nino Maisuradze, Suzi Beridze. The visit included the following activities:

  • Working sessions about youth projects in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, youth project problems and solving strategies, on teaching methodologies

  • Study visits to Co-working centre in Cesky Tesin, Social Incubator Havirov Elementary Business Club, Karvina 2000 Incubator for Creativity

  • Sharing practice – Georgian team carried out the role-playing game “Ten Steps”

  • Action Bound City Game in Karvina

  • Study visit to Community Centrum Archa Youth Council Karvina, Museum Tesinka, civic community leader – informal dinner, the library, book shop – meeting with Russian satirist, writer Victor Shenderovich

  • Reflections




Working sessions on youth projects

Georgian team was introduced to youth projects being carried out in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, and Poland. First, the special needs of the young people were identified. Secondly, strategies how to elevate the level of engagement of young people in community activities were analyzed. Moreover, the ways of getting funding for youth projects were discussed.


Working sessions on teaching methods

During the sessions on teaching methods the following teaching techniques were covered:

  • Tea tasting game (building trust between team members through offering them to taste different kinds of tea);

  • Who am I game (team members are asked to answer the aforementioned question several times in order to dig deeper into their own personalities and learn more about each other);

  • Working in pairs (team members are asked to choose a partner, walk around and discuss different topics; each team member has a conversation with different partners);

  • Six thinking hats method (analyzing an issue from different perspectives);

  • Human library ( challenging stereotypes and prejudices through borrowing real people instead of books, i.e. readers can ask challenging questions to real people) ;

  • Action Bound Game (app for digitally interactive hunts to lead a gamer to the path of discovery);

  • The role-playing game “Ten Steps” (challenging stereotypes and prejudices through role-playing).



Study visits

Georgian team visited co-working centres, and business clubs where they observed on the spot how the co-working spaces, school clubs. In the framework of the aforementioned visits, the Czech team introduced the strategies for getting funding for school clubs, and civic projects for both young and adults, Czech youth parliament members gave presentations on their working approaches. The above-mentioned working spaces are used for different purposes, i.e. can be utilized as co-working spaces, social cafes, language clubs, for example, for refugees from Ukraine, etc. In the aforementioned centres sometimes events are organized for both young and old people in order to build bridges between generations. During the study visit to Museum Tesinka Georgian team learnt not only about the history of the town but also observed on the spot how theatre costumes and participation in the performances can help kids/adults revive the historical legends. The Georgian team was invited for an informal dinner with a civic community leader working on media literacy and disinformation.



Findings

Working spaces/centres are used in the Czech republic for different purposes that help to strengthen civic society activism and its self-organizing skills; Civic activism aims at minimizing divisions in society and uniting potentially opposing fractions in a community; for example, by organizing mutual events bringing different generations together so that they can find a common language; Young people are encouraged to elaborate and carry out new initiatives through informal education; Multi-generation cooperation is encouraged through organizing/leading projects together. Informal education activities are designed so that they help to develop both critical and analytical thinking, as well as self-reflection and self-organizational skills among young people. Informal educational activities are designed according to learning by doing techniques.


Recommendations

Strengthening informal education in Georgia by using elements of the Czech model, i.e. designing informal educational programs in accordance with the holistic approaches; Building both informal and formal educational projects in Georgia in accordance with the learning by doing techniques, methods aiming at developing self-organizational, critical and analytical thinking skills among young people; Paying more attention to self-reflections both among students and teachers in Georgia; Youth projects and informal education minimize the distance between generations, regions, etc.



IMPRESSIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS


Nana Marghania, Civic Education Teacher at Vartsikhe Public School, Bagdadi Municipality; Expert on civic education matters at the Ministry of Education in Imereti Region:


What did you like the most about the project?

I really liked the fact that the project was focused on diverse innovative teaching methods. For example, role-playing, simulation games, etc. Especially interesting was the integration of the elements of informal education into the formal educational process. It is worth stating that I was truly impressed by the close cooperation between the local government and youngsters which helps young people to generate new initiatives and change local realities.


Is there a specific activity or method from the project that you would like to use in your professional life?

Action bound game was a real discovery for me. The students can revive historical events by playing games. They play in teams which helps them to advance their cooperative skills. Moreover, students also develop their digital skills. I am even thinking of creating a modified version of the aforementioned game for both Georgian students and teachers.


Nino Maisuradze, Civic Education Teacher at Tbilisi #151 Public School,

Head of the School Club “Frame”:


What did you like the most about the project?

As the head of the civic education school club, I was impressed by the miscellaneous informal educational approaches and activities. Young people are taught to express their feelings and opinions freely at an early stage of development via simple games such as, for instance, the “Who am I” exercise where students are asked to think about who they are five times. Thus, they have to dig deeper into their personalities and learn more about each other. Besides, the self-organizing skills of Czech society are really amazing. We can learn a lot from them. For example, civil society leaders are voluntarily trying to raise resilience against disinformation. The above-mentioned practice, in my view, can be effectively implemented in Georgian reality.


Is there a specific activity or method from the project that you would like to use in your professional life?

In my opinion, the “Six Thinking Hats” method can be effectively used in informal education. It will help my club students to learn to think outside of the box and see the bigger picture because they will have to discuss issues from different points of view.


Suzi Beridze, Civic Activist and Civic Education Teacher at American University School, Gori:


What did you like the most about the project?

I was really surprised to find out that the links between different fragments of the community are strong. Co-working centres, libraries, business or school clubs are used for different purposes. Libraries, for example, are used not only as a space where you can read books but also for organizing informal meetings and events for both students and teachers. The business sector, for instance, is readily financing social activities intended for the public good. I think the aforementioned approaches can help to develop local communities in Georgia.


Is there a specific activity or method from the project that you would like to use in your professional life?

I believe that the use of simulation games in informal education is very important. For example, the simulation “Experience Sharing” discussed at one of the working sessions can be described as a memory of the nation and helps young people to develop critical thinking skills in a historical context. Such kinds of activities, in my opinion, improve social activism skills.



Tamar Bauzhadze, Civic Education Teacher School Euro-200, Batumi:


What did you like the most about the project?

Honestly speaking, such projects give a good opportunity for sharing experiences. In the framework of our projects, Czech and Georgian educators exchanged ideas, perspectives, and educational approaches with one another. I think it is a valuable tool in the educational system.


Is there a specific activity or method from the project that you would like to use in your professional life?

“Human Library” method, in my opinion, combined with the “World Café” teaching techniques can be productively used in formal education. I believe such teaching tools effectively challenge stereotypes and prejudices and help students to develop critical and analytical thinking skills, as well as democratic values.



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