It has been two years since Stepanivka elementary school registered for the European Commission’s eTwinning Plus program. Thanks to this program, Stepanivka’s schoolchildren have the opportunity to learn about life and culture of other countries not just from teachers but also from their contemporaries “on the other side of the screen”.
Together with teachers, children engage in international projects, learn to work in a team, communicate in colloquial English and study the world. And also, eTwinning Plus often organizes conferences and seminars for teachers.
In October 2019, eTwinning held a contest of applications for an international seminar in Helsinki. The news that Liubov Maliarchuk, an elementary school and English teacher, was selected as one of the three teachers who will represent Ukraine at the seminar in Finland thanks to her active work in international projects became a New Year’s gift for Stepanivka elementary school.
The seminar was held from 12 to 15 December. The airfare and accommodation were paid for by eTwinning Plus.
The topic of the seminar was “Democratic participation”, the Stepanivka elementary school teacher told Vikna:
“This topic is of quite contemporary importance in today’s pedagogy, for a modern school is much more than simply an institution for communication of knowledge. Schools play the key role in developing citizens who must be prepared for life in a democratic society.”
According to Liubov Maliarchuk, the speech by the Finnish elementary school teacher Sari Auramo was extremely insightful. She shared with the attendees many interesting ideas for organization of a successful international project and the online resources she uses in her daily work.
One of the tasks of this seminar was to find partners for a future school project, considering the age of one’s pupils and similarity of ideas. Liubov Maliarchuk and the French teacher Andrea Armandi together founded the project “Give second life to useless things”, which was later joined by two teachers from Azerbaijan.
Liubov Maliarchuk said that being a teacher has always been a challenge. However, most people still have a stereotyped perception of this profession. But one feature remains unchanged and the most important: love to children:
“In everybody’s mind, the word “teacher” is associated with a woman dressed in grey, shapeless clothes and holding a stack of notebooks, which she will be checking definitely at night. Fortunately, this vision is stereotyped and has nothing to do with reality. Today’s pedagogues have long departed from the last century’s cliché. A teacher cannot afford to be uninteresting to a student. A modern teacher is a facilitator, i.e. the one who controls academic process and not simply narrates a paragraph from the textbook. A teacher is a psychologist who understands children’s souls and employs a differentiated approach to every student; a doctor who knows what is aching and how to cure it; an IT specialist who can use computer technologies not just during a lesson but also during a game.”
Thanks to this seminar, teachers from many countries of the world had the opportunity to communicate with each other, share experience, and learn about the Finnish system of education from Finnish teachers. In addition, they will forever remember the positive impressions, inspiration and inexhaustible charge of energy, Liubov Maliarchuk said, and added:
“This is an example of how dreams come true, teacher’s work is rewarded and eTwinning Plus brings teachers from all over the world closer to each other.”