Interview with Shkodran Ebibi: The students’ wish to learn and hang out together is my main motivation

Joint curricular classes with students that learn in different languages of instruction continue to be implemented again this school year in seven secondary schools in the City of Skopje. Through these classes, the students learn to communicate and collaborate with each other, build mutual trust and acquire skills for living in a multiethnic surrounding. These activities are of great importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well.

We point out a successful story for implementing joint curricular classes even in these conditions when the teaching is conducted through distance learning due to the pandemic. Read the interview with Shkodran Ebibi, a sports teacher in SS “Arseni Jovkov” and discover more details regarding the implementation of these classes through distance learning.

Joint class through distance learning

The new crisis situation with the virus COVID-19 imposed the need to conduct the educational process through distance learning. This includes the joint curricular classes with students that learn in different languages of instruction. How did you manage to adapt to the situation and continue implementing the joint classes?

Before the crisis, we conducted the sport and sports activities joint classes with students from multiple ethnicities at the school gym, but the new situation prevented this way of organizing the classes. That’s why we had to find ways to conduct the teaching at a distance. As the joint classes were interesting to the students, it was reasonable to continue implementing them through digital tools. The students, who learn in different languages of instruction gathered together and discussed topics related to sport and their experiences with specific sports. My colleague and I conducted the classes in a different language of instruction and we used more applications. Through them, we communicated with each other through video calls, practiced, watched and analyzed sports games and similar.

The subject sport and sports activities can represent a challenge for distance learning. Which challenges did you face during the implementation of the joint classes?

One of the bigger challenges during the joint classes is getting to know the values of one’s own culture and the particularities of other cultures and developing a positive cultural identity. The students come from different communities and learn in different languages of instruction, so naturally, mutual understanding and respect are needed. They get to know the human rights concepts and their application in everyday situations. Of course, recognizing and reducing the stereotypes and prejudices represents another big challenge.

How did the students perceive the joint classes and what was their experience with them in the past school year?

The students are satisfied with the joint classes. Above everything else, they learned to appreciate themselves and had a chance to hang out together. They minimized the misunderstandings that come up as a result of the stereotypes and prejudices and together learned and discussed the material.

The joint curricular classes continue to be implemented in SS “Arseni Jovkov” and other six secondary schools in Skopje in the new school year 2020/2021. What are your plans regarding the teaching process in the new school year?

In the school year that follows, we will conduct joint classes again, but this time if it’s possible we will include more students. The teaching starts at a distance again through the national platform for distance education. We will continue to overcome all challenges together and to learn new things with our students in the spirit of multiethnic integration.

What motivates you in your work? What would you recommend to the other teachers?

The students’ wish to learn and hang out together is my main motivation. We, as teachers, should encourage them and support them in that.