Uschi Gern schlägt eine Partnerschaft zwischen DGLS und BulRA, der Bulgarischen Lesegesellschaft vor

Patenschaft zwischen DGLS und Bulgarischer Lesegesellschaft?

Im Europäischen Komitee  wurde die Idee entwickelt, dass seit langem existierende Lesegesellschaften Patenschaften für  neu entstehende Gesellschaften übernehmen.

Der folgende Beitrag der Präsidentin der bulgarischen Lesegesellschaft, Lydia Dachkova, steht in diesem Zusammenhang. In der DGLS-Mitgliederversammlung im Januar 2003 werde ich eine Partnerschaft zwischen der DGLS und BulRA vorschlagen und mögliche Aktionen umreißen. Anregungen und Vorschläge jeder Art sind herzlich willkommen unter gern.u@t-online.de

Im folgenden Text stellt Lydia Dachkova die Arbeit der BulRA vor:

Bulgarian Reading Association (BulRA)

The Bulgarian Reading Association is a fairly new organization. It was officially established and registered in 2001.

The development of the association was triggered by an IRA international educational project titled RWCT (Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking). With the generous support of the Open Society Institute, New York and the national Soros Foundations the project was disseminated in 28 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.  The target group were classroom teachers, university faculty, trainers from inservice teacher training institutions, educators. Thus, representative of these communities became the ones to get in contact with IRA members, university faculty from USA, UK, Canada and Australia, who offered series of trainings in the different countries following the RWCT project model. The trainers, IRA members from the councils in Chicago, Springfield – Missouri and Ohio, brought also IRA publications and shared their experience from their councils. Therefore, it was normal to have members of the RWCT network together with other educators to become founder members of BulRA. At present there are members from more than 11 large and small places. The number of towns and villages where BulRA has extended its activities in cooperation with local partners is about 30.

From the very beginning BulRA works closely with representatives of the Bulgarian Union of Librarians. The first event was a joint activity of 2 schools and the Sofia City Library hosted the closing event. The IRA branch in Springfield, Missouri sponsored it. Throughout a couple of months teachers applied different innovative methods to stimulate their students’ imagination and creativity, as well as encourage and motivate them to become authors themselves. The final products were books with poems and stories written by those primary school children and illustrated with their drawings. They were exhibited in the library and then given as presents to children from an orphanage, who participated in the children’s celebration in the library.

A great part of BulRA’s activity is connected with educational and training activities. Some of the projects are initiated and administered by the association while in others it is only a partner.

In 2002 the majority of the initiatives were under the umbrella of a big project titled “Active Learning and Critical Thinking”. There are3 main lines of activities:

1. On University  Level

A New Course for Undergraduate Students, University of Veliko Turnovo.

The course is student-centred, interactive teaching, developing critical thinkers; introducing a new syllabus organization, based on interactive teaching and learning; introducing a new evaluation and assessment system.

Quality Assurance in University Teaching

These are 2 modules training seminars, RWCT based. The facilitators are from USA, UK, Bulgaria and the participants – university faculty from the universities in Veliko Turnovo, Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, Varna, Sofia University, New Bulgarian University, Sofia.

2. On School Level

Putting good practices together.

This is the second half of training of groups in Assenovgrad, Blagoevgrad, Russe, Sofia – 2 seminars per group. The target group are: teachers from schools teaching grade 5-12, where teachers of lower grades have been involved in innovative programs. The focus is teacher training seminars, RWCT based.

3. Publishing

The Critical Thinking Journal, a Bulgarian version of the international bilingual journal – English/Russian (Thinking Classroom/Peremena).

The international journal is a publication of IRA since June 2002.

BulRA is also involved as a partner only in projects, initiated and administered by other organizations, in most of the cases regional departments of the Ministry of Education or school themselves, or NGOs. These are mainly along the line of training.

An equal chance for the first steps at school, Razgrad, North Eastern Bulgaria. The project leader is a BulRA member. The Target Groups are: teachers of first graders from Razgrad and the region, working with Roma children; prospective 1 graders for 2002/03 academic year; students’ parents. Main focus: training teachers in programs for Bulgarian language learning for children whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian; introducing basic literacy to children who are to be 1 graders in 2002/2003 academic year; working with parents as partners for literacy development of their children.

Methods for realization of civic education through the teaching of history, geogaphy, chemistry and biology, Veliko Turnovo, North Cetral Bulgaria.  The Target Group: teachers from Veliko Turnov and the region. Focus is introducing interactive methods of teaching and learning.

Creative leaders in literature teaching, Gabrovo. The Target Group: teachers from Gabrovo and neigbouring small towns. Focus: developing creative and critical learners and their critical literacy.

In support of Educaton Reform, Turgovishte, North Eastern Bulgaria. The Target Group: teachers of humanities in Turgovishte, Silistra and the small neigbouring towns and villages.. Introducing new methods and approaches in teaching and learning. IT in contemporary education.

School Integration, Vidin, North Western Bulgaria. The Target Group: teachers from Vidin and the region; students with different ethnic background. Focus: introducing new methods of teaching and learning in support of creating new climate of student-student and teacher-student interaction in mixed environment in support of further literacy development.

2. On University Level

Interactive Teaching at higher education, In Partnership with Civic Education Project (international NGO). The Target Group are CEP fellows and partners from local universities (Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova). Focus: developing critical literacy.

Centre for Critical Thinking. Yambol, South Eastern Bulgaria. In Partnership with the Peace Corps, The Regional Department of the Ministry of Education and The Yambol City Library. The target groups are: high school teachers from Yambol and high school students. Focus: developing critical literacy and computer literacy; Internet as a meeting space for communication and creativity; establishing data banks with literary works of famous authors, methodological resources for teachers and works of students.

Let me read to you. It is still in the process of planning, in partnership with the Bulgarian Union of Librarians, American Cultural Centre, several schools across the country and their school libraries. Promoting interest in reading and literacy development in Foreign Language and Native Language among school children.

BulRA and its activity was represented at the annual IDEC meetings: December 2001 in Talinn, Estonia and July 2002 in Ediburgh, UK as well as the World Congress of Reading in Edinburgh. On behalf of the BulRA members and board I would like to extend our gratitude for giving us the chance to introduce our activity to the colleagues in Germany. Being a young organization BulRA and its members are open to sharing experience with associations with longer history.

Lydia Dachkova, Ph.D.
President of BulRA,
36, Solunska str.,
Sofia 1000
Bulgaria
e-Mail: dachkova@osf.bg

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