Published: 29.11.2019

In mid-November, the second international training within the Erasmus+ project entitled Non-formal Learning in the Formal Education took place. The aim was to teach representatives and volunteers working for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the Netherlands how to communicate DofE to different target groups, hence the Lithuanian meeting was called Communicate!

The exchange was attended by the Czech Republic Dagmar Pike from Gymnasium TepliceHana Konečná from the Integrated Secondary School Moravská Třebová Marek Winter from Gymnasium Rumburk. The DofE National Centre was represented by Daniela Ryskova.

I'm sure you've come across the experience of wanting to explain the DofE to someone who hasn't heard of the programme. Do you remember how that went? Perhaps there was confusion in the conversation about how DofE actually works, what the benefits are and that you don't need to speak perfect English to do the programme. Sound familiar? In our experience, this has probably happened to everyone who loves the DofE and is passionate about delivering it and/or supporting young people on their journey through the programme. Although the DofE really is a comprehensive and universal programme for everyone, communication about it shouldn't be like this. Just imagine if you went to explain the DofE to your headteacher and used the same arguments to get a friend excited about joining. For this reason, participants focused on how to communicate the DofE to young people who might get involved, how to communicate to their parents, or perhaps colleagues, and also to management.

The whole training was in the spirit of 'learning by doing' and was based on sharing experiences and field work. On the very next day, the participants had the opportunity to meet representatives of all four target groups of Lithuanian DofE supporters. Dagmar Pike and Marek Winter highlighted this experience as one of the most beneficial. Dagmar met with the parents of the gold participants and appreciated being able to talk openly with them about their views on the DofE. Marek met Lithuanian DofEers and found the conversations with them very interesting and enriching in the perspective of his position as DofE Coordinator. Hana Konečná and Daniela Ryšková had the opportunity to meet with five management representatives at different institutions and learn interesting information and approaches to DofE in Lithuania from a managerial perspective. They were both pleasantly surprised that principals in Lithuania see DofE as part of the school's strategy and some are directly involved in the activities. For example, one of the headmistresses confided that she takes the DofE students on expeditions and as a reward she prepares tea and something sweet for them to take to the end of the expedition. 

It was also interesting to observe that the DofE is perceived positively everywhere, regardless of nationality, and that any communication barriers between target groups are similar. This finding was fundamental to the whole training and helped participants to more easily think of ways to communicate the DofE better. The whole group agreed that no one fully realised the power of presenting the benefits of the DofE. Reflecting together, Mark, Dagmar and Hana agreed that being able to identify the needs of an individual or group (and the resulting benefits of DofE) was absolutely key. Marek aptly remarked that "if you can name the benefits concretely, it is much easier to present the DofE." If you too would like to know what else the participants have figured out with the help of experienced trainers Inga Naujalė and Žilvinas Mažeikis, look out for the handbook that will be available in 2020.

We are pleased that the Czech participants take away practical and easily applicable outputs from the training, which they already use in practice. The very next day after her return, Hana Konečná wrote to the DofE National Centre: 'The training was very sophisticated in its preparation for presentations to different target groups. In the school I spoke not only to students but also to colleagues and management. And I have now subconsciously worked differently with each group, with tangible success, getting them all excited about the award to varying degrees."


#nonformalteachers #worldready #dofeczech

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