In December 2019 we travelled to Pinzolo, Italy where we were to meet our Spanish and Italian counterparts. The week-long trip began on Sunday 9th December and finished up on Friday 13th December. Throughout the week we had the opportunity to share examples from each of the school’s three core practices, including Pathways to College, Mentoring and Leadership in Learning. The following is an insight into our engaging and productive week in Pinzolo.
Day 1: We were greeted to a warm Italian welcome in a cosy restaurant in the picturesque town of Pinzolo. A gathering took place for all three groups of teachers to reconnect as a whole team, as well as an introduction to those we hadn’t met before.
Day 2: On our second day we were given a tour of Pinzolo elementary secondary school and introduced to a number of students in the school. We learned more about the structure of each country’s school system and formats. Each school presented to the other Erasmus team teachers a background of their school and examples of their core practice that we had undertaken in our school. Each school had a question and answer session to learn and explore adapting new school systems that promote and build on the three pillars.
The Irish and Spanish teachers were also shown an example of a coding class that the Italian students were taking part in. During this session students were the mentors for the younger students in the school while teachers observed the mentoring and took part in coding.
Day 3: The teachers met as a team where we took part in a collaborative workshop developing practices and new systems within the three pillars of our schools.
Later that afternoon we were taken to a careers fair in Paladolomiti. Here students had an opportunity to speak to teachers and students in vocational schools about what they had to offer in terms of courses and what they will acquire from taking these opportunities.
That night we were treated to a wonderful dinner high up in Madonna di Campiglio only accessible by snow cat. It truly was an amazing experience. It was -8℃ but the cold toes were worth the food when we reached the top!
The dinner was outstanding and we all felt a real privilege to be there.
Day 4: On Wednesday the Erasmus team were brought further into the Italian Alps to explore the area either on skis, snowboard or snowshoes. This excursion took place in Madonna di Campiglio which was packed full of excitement and thrill! All teachers enjoyed the day on the snowy slopes and were treated to hot chocolate or beer afterwards in a small cafe Carpe Diem. These excursions gave ample opportunity for bonding as a strong Erasmus+ team. The views from the slopes were breathtaking unlike some of our skiing skills.
Day 5: We were given a tour of ENAIP and UPT vocational schools. We were blown away by the set up of courses and structure of these schools. They were so accommodating to students learning new skills e.g. mechanics, restaurateurs etc. We looked at machinery being built and were treated to fine dining by young restaurant entrepreneurs. The tour was a great insight into the differences between the Irish and Italian Education systems, and highlighted just how much support is in place in Italy for those students looking to become highly skilled crafts people in comparison with the Irish system.