Teachers from the secondary schools that are involved in activities for conducting joint classes – “Arseni Jovkov”, “Zdravko Cvetkovski”, “Brakja Miladinovci”, “Boro Petrusevski”, “Dimitar Vlahov”, “Josip Broz – Tito” and “Vlado Tasevski” from Skopje participated in training for conducting joint classes at a distance with students that study in different languages of instruction. Around 40 teachers and coordinators of the School Integration Teams, representatives from the City of Skopje, the Vocational Education and Training Center, OSCE Mission to Skopje and USAID’s Youth Ethnic Integration Project team were among the participants in the training.
Ardijana Isahi Palosi, from the Vocational Education and Training Center, presented the process of organizing the joint classes before the attendees and pointed out that the schools and the City of Skopje are involved in the successful implementation of these classes. The progress on a central level, local level and school level in terms of ethnic integration in education was also presented.
During the training, the discussion incorporated the ways and approaches for conducting classes in two languages at a distance. The attendees found out more about the teaching preparation and the process of planning through distance education. Among the key points that were pronounced were planning the maximization of interaction between students, especially in times of distance education and conducting the teaching process in two languages of instruction.
“There should be a positive atmosphere during the classes that encourages mutual collaboration, support and trust among students. A fundamental element of the new pedagogy is technology, the focus during the preparation is on the content rather than the ambient, the educational dimension is directed towards time and work. Planning and preparing the teachers as implementers is the most important to achieve a good result in the schooling part and the educational part,” says Ardijana.
The teachers learned more details and acquired skills for organizing the classes towards collegial cooperation, disseminating the resources in multiple languages, working with the students, managing challenges, developing competencies and similar. They agreed that every teacher should carefully listen to the students and encourage them to freely express themselves in all languages of instruction. Also, they shared that the success of the joint classes depends on the support of the parents, the school management and the local community.
“The whole training was important. We acquired meaningful knowledge about the ways to conduct a joint class during COVID-19 as well as the technical opportunities for conducting the joint classes and the pedagogy for distance education,” stated the teachers.
In the end, the participants discussed focusing more on the interaction during the classes apart from just teaching the material.
Majda Josevska – Stojoska, a representative from the OSCE Mission to Skopje, said, “Nowadays, technology makes bridging the physical barriers of integration such as ethnic shifts or studying in different school buildings possible. The teaching process should animate and unite the students through a previously thought-out interaction”.
This school year, the joint classes will be conducted through distance education in seven multilingual secondary schools in the City of Skopje. Through these classes, the students will continue to study and cooperate with each other, to build mutual trust and to acquire skills for living together in multiethnic surroundings and new friendships.
This activity is part of the Youth Ethnic Integration Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of MCEC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.