In the autumn semester, Klaipėda University has 38 international students who came under the Erasmus exchange programme. Foreign students attend lectures in English, and sometimes in Lithuanian, and take part in practical classes. On November 7, Erasmus students Onur Armagan from Turkey and Zheni Simeonova from Bulgaria gave an interactive class to the children from the Klaipėda school-kindergarten Varpelis in Klaipėda University.
Smart technologies in education
According to assoc. prof. dr. Dalia Baziukė, Director of the Centre of Information Systems and Technologies of Klaipėda University, that was one of the practical assignments for assessment: “During the class, students created interactive games on a smart board which allowed to involve children in the process of education and to develop both their technological skills and the knowledge of English.”
The kindergarten children who will start school next year had to do different assignments in the class: to arrange numbers from 1 to 10, to write the first letters of the English names for vegetables and fruit, etc. “English is no news for children today, however, it is not easy to see a carrot (Lith. morka) on the board and to write the letter c instead of m. Due to the assistance of the young teachers from abroad, the children coped with the assignments”, said dr. Baziukė.
As stated by dr. Baziukė, technologies help to keep children’s attention much longer than their education through traditional methods. “The children were very active in the class, such classes are like a game for them during which they master information. Moreover, when we use a smart board, we save on paper and stationary.”
The geography of educational studies keeps expanding
According to Sada Ramanauskienė, assoc. professor of the Department of Pedagogy, Faculty of the Humanities and Education Sciences, increasingly more foreign students come to Klaipėda University to study education sciences. “As the conditions of accomodation and studies in Klaipėda University have been improving, the number of students from abroad is increasing. KU students also go abroad to the EU member states to study under the Erasmus and other exchange programmes.” Dr. Ramanauskienė explained that Klaipėda University had signed a number of collaboration agreements with universities that implement similar or identical programmes of educational sciences. That created better opportunities for organising lectures for foreign students.
“During their studies, students of educational sciences do practical assignments: organise educational activities in kindergartens or give lessons at schools. We collaborate with kindergartens and schools of the city of Klaipėda where students do their traineeships, practice, and consolidate the theoretical knowledge acquired in lectures”, said dr. Ramanauskienė.
The stereotype for Lithuanians was wrong
Onur Armagan from Turkey told us it was his first trip abroad. “Before coming here, I looked for online information related to Lithuania. I read that Lithuanians were rude, impolite people. However, on coming here, I found the environment to be totally different: people are friendly and try to help even if they don’t speak English”, said Onur.
In Bulgaria, Zheni Simeonova studies non-formal education for schoolchildren and adults. “Childhood pedagogy may also be part of non-formal education. In other words, to be a professional of non-formal education, I have to know about the formal education as well. Therefore, the experience at Klaipėda University is very useful for me”. Onur studies teaching English in Turkey, therefore, he attends a number of lectures together with the students of English Philology.
“I did not expect to work with kindergarten children during the Erasmus studies. Still, it was an exciting experience, and I think we did well, even though I was a bit uneasy, as I have never worked with young children”, shared his expressions Onur Amargan. “In fact, it was very easy to deal with children, as they are different from adults who just sit back, observe, and expect something. It is much more interesting with children – they are active, get involved easily, and never lie. However, because of the language barrier, I was happy to have their educators in our class“, said Zheni Simeonova.