Impressions of the CONFERENCE "Inclusive education through artistic activities"
When we talk about inclusive education, the quality and attention to each student in the context of education is very important, and here the arts can play a very important role and be a connecting link of activities, providing a basis for the application of inclusive practices, promoting cooperative learning, enhancing the growth of all students in learning and the development of the personality itself. Arts also promote creative expression, strengthen problem-solving abilities, develop critical thinking skills, and develop intercultural communication.
Inclusive education includes the areas of educational content, teacher training, support for the student, teacher, school, assessment, and educational organization. Arts education, theorized by strategies that address the strengths and needs of a wide diversity of students, can effectively support inclusive school culture, promote student well-being, and develop three sets of 21st century skills: learning and innovation, digital literacy, and career and life skills.
The international project InCrea+ (Inclusive creativity through educational artmaking) (increaplus.eu) aims to take into account these needs by offering teachers methodological materials, e. course of study and teaching experience related to the implementation of inclusive methods through the arts.
The primary target group of the project is students aged 11-16 and special attention is paid to establishing activities that can help stimulate creativity, critical thinking, intercultural dialogue and many other skills in an inclusive environment, suitable for students with special educational needs, students of various backgrounds and difficult socioeconomic status.
The project is implemented by 7 institutions from 6 European countries (Lithuania, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain). Kaunas Juozas Gruš Art Gymnasium (coordinating institution) and the project partner Trakai District Municipality Pedagogical Psychological Service cooperate in Lithuania. Associate partners also joined the project, a significant number of them have already tested the proposed methods and practical activities and noted the great interest and involvement of the children. During the project, a distance learning course was created for teachers, it consists of theoretical and practical material, homework tasks, self-control tests, assessment. The total duration of the course is 45 hours. After completing this course, registered participants receive completion certificates with a unique key.
In 2023 February 15 in order to present all the results created in the project and to perform several activities together with the participants, a conference was organized in Kaunas, where 74 participants gathered. During the event, theater teacher Mindaugas Gargas conducted inclusive education activities, one of which was the participants' non-verbal communication while creating a dance. Trakai PPT psychologist Anželika Teresa Jachimovič gave a report on inclusive education and the 21st century. skills. Gymnasium psychologist Monika Matonytė and Trakai PPT psychologist Asta Jakonienė invited everyone to the communication club, where even when dealing with matters requiring concentration, there was laughter. Carlotta Maria Crippa, who coordinates the project at the international level, introduced the participants to the structure of the Moodle course and briefly presented its content.
The conference was closed by Aušra Lavickienė and Jūratė Gudžiūvienė, whose silk painting class allowed the participants to get involved in the role of a creator and the opportunity to make unique hand scarves, which the participants took away as souvenirs filled with emotions and impressions. The event is implemented and financed by the Erasmus+ program Strategic partnerships project InCrea+ No. 2020-1-LT01-KA227-SCH-094736. The official end of the project is February 28, 2023, but we hope that the results of the project will be used in various educational institutions, as well as non-formal education institutions.