Kaunas Dainava Pro-Gymnasium belongs to the Kaunas Network of Learning Schools, where we learn from each other’s experiences, improve, apply innovations and feel committed to sharing valuable ideas. This is based on initiatives in schools, opportunities for cooperation and professional development. The school is new to the Learning Schools Network, but the experiences of other schools this school year have encouraged it to share its SEE (Social Emotional Education) experience. During the event, a team of teachers from the school presented SEU’s methodological tools to activate, motivate and personalise the content of teaching, to develop students’ higher thinking skills, and to teach them how to plan their learning and achievement.
In her presentation “Learning success: the importance of social-emotional development”, Jolanta Vengalienė, the school principal, presented the three elements that determine a student’s individual growth and success on the path of learning: self-knowledge, competence in learning, and integrated learning. Ramunė Barkauskienė and Vita Masaitienė, methodologist teachers of primary classes, presented the first stage of the self-knowledge system “Growing Personality” – the self-study system for pupils of grades 1-4. The presentation on “Whole Child Development through Coherent Social and Emotional Education” discussed key activities that are successfully integrated into mainstream education. To be successful, social and emotional education needs to span the whole school life. All levels are equally important: parents-teachers, pupils-to-pupils, teachers-to-pupils, and teachers-to-teachers. In her presentation “4 Myths about School, Teachers and More”, Lina Daukutienė, a senior teacher of primary school, briefly presented her personal adaptation to the institution, as well as her experience of qualification development and other experiences that she had when she started to work at Kaunas Dainava Pro-Gymnasium.
Of course, it’s important to do something that gives you wings and makes you want to take others to uncharted distances. This was the topic of the presentation “Technological Creativity in Primary Classes” by Sonata Pliupelienė and Daiva Klimantavičienė, Methodist Teachers of Primary Classes. In their practical insights, the teachers emphasised that technological creativity is one way to create and learn. Technological creativity involves the use of various technological or digital tools such as coding, 3D modelling, mobile app development platforms, virtual reality environments, and many others, such as Scratch, Cospaces, Tinkercad, Twine, Genialy, Piktochart, Autodraw, and others. Experimenting with the tools, the teachers have noticed that mathematical, critical and logical thinking is developing, and by spreading the good technological creativity contagion, they believe that success on the learning path will be guaranteed.
SEU teacher Alfreda Petrošienė in her presentation “I am a personality. Self-knowledge” introduced the self-knowledge system “Growing Personality. Step 2” for grades 5-7. The teacher said that self-confidence and the ability to communicate are the keys to success and happiness. Self-confidence influences adolescents’ relationships, their thoughts about themselves, and their actions in and out of school. But how to develop it? The audience was told how SEU classes focus on building students’ confidence, communication skills and self-knowledge. Only someone who knows himself or herself well can plan for educational success and higher academic achievement.
Nijolė Čimielienė, a mathematics teacher and methodologist, in her presentation “Planning and recording the content and achievements of mathematics learning”, drew the attention of the participants to the importance of joint agreements with students, the presence of clarity, and the planning of timely support.
“From textbook to QR code” – that’s how Lina Kranauskienė, a methodological teacher of English, talked about active learning tools that are successfully used in everyday activities. Senior teacher of English Jolanta Žukauskienė, teacher of Russian and English Irina Jermoškina, teacher of Russian Rima Žvirblienė, teacher of Russian Rima Žvirblienė, teacher of English Greta Jonaitienė, methodologist. Foreign language teachers presented the successes of the Inclusion Weeks, shared practical tips on how to use creative methods, experiential education practices using QR code, the idea of one picture, and integrating international projects. Teachers agreed that the success of a lesson is often determined by interest in the task, the problem, and an attractive result.
The virtual journey “From Antiquity to Modern Lessons” was led by Lithuanian language teacher Auksė Urbonienė and history teacher Aušra Kvederaitienė. The presentation presented a carefully designed framework for the integration of classical education, illustrating, with practical examples, the challenges of a journey through cultural epochs, the links to current issues and realities, and the value of the times. The fragments of the activities discussed by the teachers confirmed their high level of qualification and cultural awareness competences.
It can therefore be argued that social and emotional education is an inevitable part of learning the subject. We are glad to have had the opportunity to share experiences and ideas that others can apply in their daily work.
Jolanta Vengalienė, Director of Kaunas Dainava Progymnasium