Following widely spread trends in contemporary societies, European schools and classes are becoming more and more multicultural. Such a process might occur progressively, but sometimes appears suddenly following mass migrations forced by dramatic events, such as war.
In this context, schoolteachers can be required to take immediate action to manage intercultural communication, and overcome language and cultural barriers… while they also push forward their daily duties.
The course will offer teachers and school staff the opportunity to reflect on these challenges while appreciating the enriching elements of a multicultural environment. Participants will experiment with how to use games as well as cooperative and warm-up activities to manage an intercultural classroom.
In particular, the course will focus on the Welcome Classes, i.e., the welcome model that Berlin has developed to host school-age children and adolescents among the billions of refugees escaping from the war that Germany has accepted in recent years.
Berlin Welcome Classes (Wilkommensklassen, in German) are special classes, hosted in primary and secondary schools, enrolling students who arrived in Berlin with no or little German knowledge. There, learners spend at least one school year learning basic German before being able to join a regular class.
The course will prompt analysis and discussion of the experience of the Welcome Classes in Berlin, focusing on some significant case studies. Participants will reflect on the pros and cons of the Welcome Classes experience for students of different ages and backgrounds.
Participants will also visit a school that has been hosting welcome classes for years. During the visit, they will be able to meet and ask questions to a teacher with experience in welcome classes.
By the end of the course, participants will know how to implement some good practices from the Berlin Welcome Class experience in their daily school life, as well as how to use some creative and collaborative methods to overcome the language barrier and foster inclusion.
The course will help the participants to:
- Understand the enriching elements of multicultural classrooms;
- Learn creative and cooperative activities to create a class community;
- Implement Visual Thinking Strategies and cooperative poetry to overcome the language barrier;
- Design a warm-up game for the first day of class;
- Reflect on the experience of Welcome Classes in Berlin;
- Foster inclusion at school.
Day 1 – How to foster inclusion
- Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
- Warm-up activities;
- Presentations of the participants’ schools;
- Overcoming the language barrier;
- Visual Thinking Strategies and cooperative poetry.
Day 2 – Welcoming refugees into class
- Creating a class community;
- Cooperative learning strategies;
- ICT tools to foster integration.
Day 3 – How to integrate different cultures
- Welcome classes in Berlin;
- Case Studies;
- Managing different backgrounds.
Day 4 – School visits
- Visit a school that hosts welcome classes;
- Meeting with a teacher in welcome classes;
- Job shadowing of welcome classes lessons and activities.
Day 5 – Take away from the Berlin experience
- Role-play activities;
- What you take with you from the Berlin experience;
- Sharing ideas and activities to be implemented in class.
Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities
- Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion.
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance.
- Excursion and other external cultural activities.