article image

Professional development workshop in Cyprus: Changing school culture • Towards a democratic school

A successful eTwinning professional development workshop took place in Limassol, Cyprus from 16 – 18 May 2019, bringing together 90 eTwinners and experts from 23 European countries.

The conference was focused on how education can be used to promote participation, ethics and democratic citizenry, in line with the eTwinning annual theme of Democratic Participation.  

At the start of the workshop participants were welcomed by Christos Hadjiathanasiou, director of Primary Education at the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture who highlighted the important role of teachers in society: "As teachers we have an important role towards society and the kind of society we want to live in".

Dr Tereza Markidou, an experienced elementary art teacher and Scientific Collaborator at European University of Cyprus, gave the keynote speech highlighting the relationship between art education and democracy, as well as discussing examples of art practices in Cypriot schools. During her speech she underlined the importance of democratic participation and stated that “Democracy should be noisy”.

Irene Pateraki, the eTwinning’s Pedagogical and Monitoring Manager gave an inspiring opening about “Democracy in action through eTwinning” and also led an interactive session “Democracy in practice” to book end the programme. She noted that: "Democracy cannot be taken for granted and it is something we are not born with. Democracy is being taught!".

The second day saw a rich programme of  activities included several workshops such as: “Hacking hate: Empowering democratic citizenship” led by Sabrina Vorbau from SELMA Project. Participants discussed ways to promote mutual awareness, tolerance and respect, through a holistic empowerment approach, which tackles online hate, most notably in schools.

Elena Papamichael, PhD from Cyprus Pedagogical Institute Officer, ran the workshop: “Teaching controversial issues in the context of Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship” focusing on the pedagogical value of teaching controversial issues, the available techniques and strategies for dealing with unexpected controversial issues that arise in the classroom.

During the last day Claire Morvan, eTwinning’s Communications Manager, closed the session with a Networking Activity in which participants showed their enthusiasm and motivation for sharing ideas and challenged themselves through public speaking exercises.