My name is Miklós Rózsa and I have been working for more than seven years with Learning Innovation Kft, one of the largest and most extensive adult education companies in Hungary. In our work, we always emphasized continuous cooperation with national and international partners, so I was happy to take advantage of the Erasmus+ grant to gain experience.
The most important lesson of the course "Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudice and discrimination", which took place in Bologna from 27 February to 5 March 2022, was that recognising and teaching diversity and continuously developing tolerance are essential for successful education and effective knowledge transfer. With 11 participants from Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece and Hungary - despite our different cultural and professional backgrounds - we were able to work together effectively and experientially throughout the course.
The first step of the course was to explore the concept of identity and the main challenges and concerns related to recognizing and promoting cultural diversity. Particular attention was paid to the importance of what makes us and our students who we are, not only our country but our culture as a whole: our identity, which is truly different but interconnected.
It is a well-known fact that we cannot immerse ourselves in the world of diversity without mentioning the concept of stereotypes. We have talked about why they exist and what they do, how we form stereotypes and where they lead us. We did a lot of demonstration exercises and simulations to develop critical thinking to understand how our values affect culture and vice versa.
Through various pleasant and not so pleasant situational games, we experienced as participants what it feels like to be an outsider and the difficulties faced by someone who, for one reason or another, cannot interact with the environment around them.
The last but not least theme of the week was empathy. We delved into feelings and emotions, helping teachers to empathize with others' situations. Awareness of our emotions is key, but it is also important to teach ourselves, and our students, to detect and express emotions.
It is worth mentioning that during the almost one-week workshop, in addition to working together, we managed to visit and experience a bit of the truly charming Bologna bustle as well as the fascinating Florence. We also had the opportunity to take a few moments to immerse ourselves in and enjoy the magic of Italian traditions, culture, history, and course gastronomy.