A Cyprus delegation of 5 primary school teachers participates in the International Exchange Workshop in Expo Milan 2015

The International Exchange Workshop in Expo Milan 2015 brought together teachers from 12 European and 2 African countries to discuss about sustainable food systems and share their Global Education experiences in the frame of the EAThink2015 project. Teachers not only had the chance to participate in celebrations and events in Expo2015 related to the World Food Day (16th October), but they also attended a participative workshop during which sharing of individual experiences and fruitful exchange of best practices took place.

At Cascina Triulza, the space dedicated to civil society at Expo 2015, near the “Food Cloud Exhibition”, the stand of EAThink2015, the International Exchange Workshop for Teachers took place. The international workshop for teachers aimed at sharing a common methodology for working with their classes, creating a common glossary on food and sustainable agriculture, strengthening their competences in Global Learning and development issues and sharing their previous experience on the subject. A delegation of primary and/or secondary teachers from Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain took part in the 2-day workshop, together with a small delegation from Senegal and Burkina Faso who have already experienced a training on food-related issues.

As part of the International Exchange Workshop, teachers were invited to deliver a presentation on school priorities and main challenges related to sustainable food systems and Global Education and provide their experiences from the pilot application of Global Learning Units developed in the frame of EAThink2015. For the Cyprus delegation, the priorities are summarized in 6 key points:

  • Put into practice the principle of “take care of myself, the others, the environment”
  • Familiarize students with local agriculture and local products and stress the importance of preferring them over imported ones.
  • Promote rational consumption and healthy eating habits
  • Foster knowledge in sustainable development, agriculture, alternative food systems and global development.
  • Cultivate attitudes to reduce food waste
  • Reverse the negative perception of children regarding the agriculture and farming professions

Not only the teachers had the opportunity to talk about their national context and experiences, but they also received training by experts and worked in small mixed groups for a more effective exchange. Thus, they benefited from specific training on global learning through the definition of DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising) values and principles by a DEAR expert, Mr. Massimiliano Lepratti, and from structured opportunities for discussion and sharing with colleagues by other countries in the frame of group work; each group was assigned with a different EAThink thematic, e.g. agriculture and small-holder farming, alternative food systems, food waste and rational consumption.

The Cyprus delegation of 5 primary school teachers highlighted the importance of this important sharing of experience and found the Expo 2015 an exceptional context where information and ideas for global learning activities on food production and consumption was omnipresent. After this experience, they are trained to transfer their acquired knowledge and skills to their colleagues in Cyprus and use the skills they acquired in other educational settings. Here below, some thoughts from this unique experience by the participants in the International Exchange Workshop:

“The EAThink2015 workshop was a valuable experience for us. Our meeting with colleagues from other countries, the exchange of opinions on modules and teaching approaches was a very useful tool for us. Through the discussions, the presentations and even our tour in the Exhibition, we received and offered many new ideas which we can also apply and extend. It would be useful to keep in touch with the partners via a common exchange platform for the development of the project in each country and at individual level.”

Dimitra Chatzistavrou-Chrysostomou, Agios Athanasios 2nd Elementary School

“Hearing the views of teachers on how to incorporate our subject in School Curriculum was a nice experience. It appeared that there are parameters, such as the extent of the educational system’s centralization and the type of modules that can facilitate or complicate the teacher’s work. Moreover, it seemed that not all countries deal with the same issues, e.g. a Maltese teacher said that at their school, in contrast to the case in ours, children do not throw their food away. We also got ideas for activities that we can apply especially with regard to food waste (which was the main subject of our group work).”

Praxoula Constantinou-Shiambi, Makedonitissa 1st Elementary School

“My participation in the workshop in Milan helped me acquire several experiences related to the project through my interaction with teachers from 12 countries. Furthermore, my participation in the workshop gave me the opportunity to present the work done at my school and to find out relevant information about the work done in other countries.”

Nicolaos Papaevripides, Agios Ioannis of Nicosia Elementary School

“My participation in the International Exhange Workshop for Teachers was a valuable experience for me, both at a personal and professional level. We had the opportunity to exchange views with teachers from other European and African countries on how we implement environmental education issues emphasizing on sustainable food systems, smallholder farming […]. The presentation by Massimiliano Lepratti on […] how we can link a local environmental education issue with global issues, e.g. migration, food waste, etc, was very interesting.”

Giorgoula Andreou, Makedonitissa 2nd Elementary School

“The group activity during the second part of the workshop was particularly interesting, since it provided to teachers the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and reflections on project thematic areas, such as local/ global products, fair trade, sustainable food systems, school vegetable gardens, etc. […] I was also proud on behalf of my school students of their participation in the photo competition in the frame of which they were awarded the first prize when I visited the Food Cloud Exhibition at the exhibition Milan Expo2015.”

Olga Economidou, Linopetra Elementary School