Workshops for Roma school assistants and supporting teachers
Workshops were organized for Roma working at school as Roma school assistants. This professional position was establish in Poland - in practice in 2001, and in law system - in 2005 as a kind of “cultural bridge” between schools and local Roma communities in order to improve the level of education, combating school drops out among Roma community and facilitate so called Roma education supportive teachers to recognize specific needs of Roma origin pupils. Because of lack former experience in this field, lack of any professional experience among Roma school assistants, low level of their formal education and lack of precisely formulated duties and objectives there was an urgent need to work it out. It was done during 4-day workshops for c.a. 15-20 Roma school assistants and 15 supporting teachers from Lower Silesia region each year.
To disseminate this good practise the Roma school assistants and Roma eduacation supportive teachers from other regions in Poland were invited to share their experiences and duplicate this kind of professonal meetings in their regions. This kind workshops was duplicated in Malopolska Region, inhabited by large number of Roma..
The workshops consists every year of few modulus:
- Roma history and culture modulus and how to teach about it,
- Roma language,
- teaching on Roma Holocaust,
- educational law system,
- media and communication,
- drug prevention,
- analysis of current problems, including special schools problem.
All participants were delivered every year with many additional materials, mainly books, puzzles with Roma flag, CD with Roma music, CD with language material form Manchester University, new published related reports etc.
All participants spent together whole 4 days, including organized evening cultural activities like: exhibition, cinema, theater, opera - in order to get them used to this kind of cultural activity and to build (successfully) informal social network among them.
Language of the supporting documents:
Langues des documents annexes:
- Civil society, including Roma community
- local or regional
Workshop with lectures, brainstorming, discussions, presentations, working papers which were distributed to relevant authorities as a proposal.
Finally, the work out proposals became a model for objectives of all Roma school assistants in Poland.
Pointed out during the workshops practical problems that Roma school assistants face during their work (including employment contracts for assistants, the payment problems, conditions of work etc.) became significant items in the agenda of Roma Team within Joint Commission of Government and National Minority and were used to guarantee the safer conditions of employment for them (stable contracts, higher salary, possibility to develop professional skills etc.).
Governmental Program for Roma Community in Poalnd 2004-2013
4-day session for approx. 30 participants – c.a. 7 500 EUR
Replicated every year
What are the keys to success of this action? :
Creating the atmosphere of team work between Roma school assistances and supporting teachers and make the improvement of Roma education their common goal.
What were the main difficulties encountered?:
- lack of common trust between Roma and non-Roma,
- mutual prejudices on both sides,
- deep conviction that Roma/teachers are the one and only holders of the truth.
What would you recommend to those carrying out a similar action?:
- making the workshop for Roma school assistance together with presence of supporting teachers in order to build personal relation and team spirit,
- keep it systematic – few days each year.