Magic messages

During the project we had a unique opportunity to meet many amazing people, thanks to whom inclusive education is becoming a permanent element of school daily life. One of the participants of the Warsaw training shared with us her experience and thoughts on why, according to her, this topic is not something new, but something not understood.

Joanna Guga-Wyrzykowska is an English teacher with 20 years of experience. She began her adventure by teaching in a public school. She worked with young people at the secondary level, , She was the coordinator of several EU projects, during which she helped teachers to broaden their competencies through the study of English. Currently, she has held the position of director of teaching at Junior Academy- a language kindergarten and Oxford Academy language school for 3 years.

As she says, inclusion has always been an emerging element in the field of education, , however, not everyone realizes that they practice its principles. Ms. Joanna has been educating herself on the topic of inclusive education for years, using all the tools available to teachers. Among other things, she has earned certification as a trainer of TUS, or Social Skills Training. According to her, this should be part of the core of teaching at every level of education, as it greatly facilitates and supports action at school. Such training teaches, above all, acceptance of diversity, problem solving, caring for one's own well-being, or reading body language. It also teaches empathy and how to function in a peer group, and is not aimed only at adolescents. It can be aimed at any age group.

During our conversation, Ms. Joanna emphasized the key motto that accompanies her work: "everyone important. We have an equal right to develop and realize our potential, we are different and have our individual potential. It is important that students, but also teachers and parents, feel accepted, can trust and have freedom of action. Joanna Guga-Wyrzykowska is a big believer in the power of "magic messages." One of the exercises she does with her kindergartners in the framework of magical messages is to prepare students to participate in school life, but also outside of school. Children act out scenes through which they can learn how to respond in a healthy way to whatever they encounter. The magic messages they are supposed to respond with are "Good job" an invaluable edifying message, "I can do it" gives support, and "Well, it's hard" when things don't go well, because failure is normal and "I can do it". Experience shows that later children share these positive messages with the next groups they encounter and spread their knowledge of how to respond to difficult situations.

In addition to such activities, all sorts of events are held at the Junior Academy to make everyone feel important. Junior Academy is attended by children from English-speaking countries and beyond, so both American Thanksgiving Day, Irish St. Patrick's Day and Polish Flag Day are celebrated. Parents of children from different countries come and share their traditions, as they are just as important an element in the teaching and learning process as the teachers or the students themselves. The textbooks chosen by the school are selected by a methodologist, who is guided in her decisions by the recommendations of the British Council. This is, among other things, because the British Council is guided by three core values: equality, diversity and inclusion. At the same time, which is worth emphasizing, the goals and methods of teaching are adapted individually to each group of students. Each group enters into a contract with the teacher, most of which is proposed by the group participants, project methods are used so that everyone can demonstrate their talents - these are just a few elements that create a harmonious atmosphere where everyone works together.

According to Ms. Joanna, trust and full support for all participants in the education process, i.e. students, teachers and parents, is the key to a truly inclusive environment. Everyone should add something from themselves and be open to discussion.

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The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This website and the information it contain will not be updated after July 2023, as the project is closed.

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