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Giuseppe’s Travels: the Malta Experience

Giuseppe’s Travels

I am a unique frog. So unique in fact, that I have a number 1 stamped on my right foot. And my maker’s name (high five Jana Fečová). My uniqueness can be fun at times, and I like to stand out. But I also like to fit in. And it was with that in mind that I recently took a journey in search of inclusion. I had heard that CEESA (Central & Eastern European Schools Association), an association that EISB is part of, was going to be holding a conference in Malta with the theme: Expanding Horizons: Fostering Inclusive Education through Universal Design for Learning, and Technology. I immediately knew that I needed to advocate for my inclusion in this event. And so it was.

 

My ticket was bought. My hotel was booked.  Check-in done, and bag packed. Off I went. First, a quick car ride to the airport and from then on… only the sky was the limit.

 

 

I arrived in Malta, happy to see the sea and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Even though the conference was still a day away, the Maltese people went above and beyond to make me feel welcome and show me the uniqueness of this island. Did you know that Malta has two official languages? Maltese and English. Phew. I felt right at home being able to communicate with just about everyone. So I got myself booked on a quick tour of just a bit of this fabulous island. The first stop was the UNESCO heritage site – the capital city of Valletta. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/131/ . I was truly mesmerized by its beauty. I also had an opportunity to visit one of the UNESCO heritage sites – the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/132/ Riding on a boat to the blue Grotto https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Grotto_(Malta) was by far my favorite. I got to be on the front of the boat and see the beautiful colors that the sea and the sky created together.

 

The next day I was off to the site of the conference. I got in my traveling compartment and took off to see what some of the leaders in education had to say about inclusion. Upon arrival, our Head of School Jaymes Regualos, went out of his way to introduce me to others working in my field – what a pleasure it was to meet like minded people trying to find the best practices for their students. I really enjoyed drinking my coffee around good conversations.

 

 During the conference itself, I had a chance to attend multiple sessions talking exactly about what I came for: inclusive practices in the classroom. The theory, research, case-studies and practical solutions are extremely extensive, I will delve into each of these sessions in my future blogs. The next blog will focus on summarizing the information from a session titled: “Transforming Learning Environments: the Environment as a Third Teacher”. 

 

The day was full of collaborative discussions, thoughtful conversations and motivating speakers. Here are two from my favorites:

Waking up the next day was harder than I thought. While I normally go on a froggy jump/run in the mornings, my head was spinning with new information and more was still to come. I had to find time to digest it all, so I went out and did my next favorite thing – buy Cadbury’s chocolate. This is one of the many things left behind by the English rule, along with driving on the left side of the road – watch out while hopping across the road! Malta is definitely a place of wonder – even though it is a relatively small island, it has so much to offer, I will be back!

As far as inclusion goes, the Maltese were as warm as the sun shining on my face. The people at the conference did a fabulous job with a relative rookie like me – making me feel welcome and included, regardless of the fact that I am just a little froggy in this big big lake. I came away feeling valued, inspired and motivated – feelings I wish to transfer to each and every student that continues to cross my path. 

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