This-year’s Festival was special, as it was the first meeting after the period of pandemic. A total of 20 school teams, 140 people, took part in that event. The objective was to meet, share experiences and encourage each other to further work. The School with Class Team focused on the issues of integration and inspiration. Representatives of schools from all over Poland were present, including from Dydnia in Podkarpacie region, or Czarne at Pomorze. There were pupils of early school education, and students of sixth year of elementary school, and of vocational high school. Despite such diversity, we managed to make a team where students listened to each other, worked together, and had a lot of fun.
After PAFF Program Director Marianna Hajdukiewicz and President of School with Class Foundation Agata Łuczyńska welcomed the participants of the Festival, the Teacher of the Year 2022 Iwona Pietrzak-Płachta told them the fairy tale about the country where people shared good words. Iwona Pietrzak-Płachta is a librarian at School in Pliszczno and she runs there the Wings Rental and supports students with various stories. At the Festival she shared ideas on how to create a space at school that facilitates building students’ psychical safety and wellbeing.
In the second part of the meeting the students took part in We Are Building A School Of The Future workshop, where they used the work methods which they have learned participating in School with Class program. Their schools of dreams were created with agile method. Looking at school communities and their needs they applied the design thinking method. And they described what they would like to learn at their school of dreams with the method of reversed teaching. They created the school models with the integration spaces furnished with sofas and a swimming pool under the palm trees. There was a lot of green plants, relax zones, and comfortable desks with chairs. There is no place for boredom in such as school, and the atmosphere there makes students feel creative and safe.
At the same time a workshop for adults was held where a herd of WielBłąds[In Polish a „camel” is called „wielbłąd”. Since „mistake” is „błąd”, and „wiel” is similar to wiele=many, „wielbłąd” may be read as meaning „many mistakes”], that is mascots to be used in working on mistakes in the process of learning, was presented. Marta Florkiewicz-Borkowska, a winner of Irena Sendler “Repairing the World” Award and co-author of the idea of using the Wielbłąds, spoke about the idea and practice of this method. She encouraged teachers to use the free-of-charge teaching aids and “adopt” the mascots which will be distributed to Polish schools by September.
At the end of the meeting the students presented results of their work, using their presentation skills acquired thanks to participation in the School with Class program. The adults were impressed by their creativity and the level of self-awareness of their needs. Again, they have learned how important it is to include students into the teaching/learning process. They admitted the need to put the school into the hands of the students more often and that way build their sense of responsibility and having an influence on their life.