Twelve trainers from Italy, Greece, Germany, Romania, Belgium, and Bulgaria gathered in Foligno last week from 15th to 19th November for a one-week long training of trainers on how to tackle online hate speech. The five days were packed with information, field visits and practical exercises on the beta version of the online platform, but also with a lot of informal sharing and building of our community of trainers.
During the first day of the training, the trainers leaned about Parole Ostilli’s activities and the Manifesto of non-hostile communication with its 10 golden rules. The Mafinesto was presented by Marianna Marcucci in a very attractive and passionate way, with presentation and detailed information for each of its 10 points. Trainers learned how to present it to teachers and what are the main points that should be highlighted while presenting it. This was done through a practical task on a collaborative platform, Padlet, where trainers had to select some of the topics from the Manifesto and brainstorm on creative ways to present them to teachers and students. For this, they should keep in mind the age group of the students, with which the teachers will work. The group tried to find case studies corresponding to each principle. It was agreed to continue to build the list of cases for each principle after the training. The Manifesto itself is available in a version for pre-schoolers (3–6-year-olds) where the meaning of the 10 messages is kept, but a simpler language is used, closer to young children. The session also included an extended discussion about the inclusive (unbiased) language that is important to use in the classrooms, as opposed to one-sided vocabulary that doesn’t always take into account perspectives of identities that differ from the expected ones.
Day two was dedicated to the AMeLiE online platform – the main tool, which will be used to train teachers, share the resources, and host the virtual network. Trainers explored the platform and created their profiles. They will have a very important role on the platform – to facilitate the exchange among the teachers, to support them in using the worksheets, to motivate them to share their experience. The platform is the repository of the worksheets, the main teaching materials, which are distributed into categories according to the age groups of the students. It has social media functionalities so teachers can share and learn more from each other’s experience. Since the platform is in its beta version, the trainers could not experience all the functionalities. Those will be ready by the end of the year. But they could nevertheless surf around and get acquainted with the online environment. Teachers from partner countries also took part in this experience by joining online. The platform was shown to the trainers on spot and the teachers online, and everyone had the chance to test its functionalities and share ideas for improvements. These ideas were collected by HOU, our partner who is developing the platform, and will be implemented before the end of the year.
On the third day of the training, trainers had a break from the classroom activities and visited ATLAS, a center that deals with art therapy with technological mediation and which has expertise in traditional art therapies, along with innovative verbal and non-verbal communication approaches that have been used in several projects involving social services, schools, training institutes, university, and research centres. There is only one word for the workshop at ATLAS: amazing. It included a theoretical part and a practical session on non-verbal communication. Trainers participated in exercises including drawing, music and dance, poetry, and augmented reality. All trainers were sincerely impressed by the great work that the centre is doing with children with special needs through art and technologies.
The fourth day was dedicated to different ice breakers related to cultural activities. Bianca, one of EGInA trainers, showed a number of different techniques using metaphor cards, such as these ones. Most of the tools are suitable for discussing topics from different points of view and transforming a one-sided point of view into a more inclusive, broader perspective. These tools are also ideal for training unbiased way of thinking and its integration into everyday life. Trainers noted that it would be great to have such card sets for the teachers, too.
During the last day, the focus was on awareness-raising and how to conduct a monthly kind speech day campaign. Trainers had a deep discussion on the different ways to plan the organisation of a Kind speech day and approaches and ideas how to make it happen, how to share information about it with other teachers and different stakeholders. Detailed information about social media and different ways to involve teaches and students, as well as other school community stakeholders, were presented. Trainers had a great discussion and generated a lot on new ideas about the communication campaigns in a scholar context.
All in all, we can say that the knowledge acquired during this week, but also the bond that was created between the participants as trainers and as human beings, will help them in the next steps. What next steps? Stay tuned by checking our website and following us on Facebook and Instagram.