Adapting to School: The Guidebook for Teachers and Students
By Irmak Akinci Canbaz
Ogretmen Agi (Teachers Network) is an NGO based in Istanbul, Turkey; aims at teacher empowerment through creating a sustainable learning environment in which teachers can collaborate with their colleagues and stakeholders to education from various disciplines.
In Turkey and many other countries, different models of education has been implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of face to face learning, since September 2020, the schools have been opening up and closing down due to safety regulations. “Adapting to School” guidebook that was prepared by Guidance and Psychological Counseling Community of “Ogretmen Agi”, designed originally to ease and support the adaptation to face to face education process in September 2020 when the school were reopening their doors.
Guidebook consists of three sections:
- Manual – Manual for effective usage of the guidebook and information about guidebook’s preparation process in order to provide reference for potential similar works in the future
- Socio – Emotional Kit – Importance and definition of socio – emotional skills and suggested practices (15 different practices) to be applied in schools in order to strengthen children’s such skills
- “Hats of Life” – Suggested workshops designed for meeting teachers’ socio – emotional needs
*Guidebook itself is attached as .pdf document in Turkish. It can be provided in English upon request
This solution was created by the collective efforts of “Ogretmen Agi ( https://en.ogretmenagi.org/) Guidance and Psychological Counseling Community” members consists of Ogretmen Agi staff and 16 Guidance and Psychological Counseling teachers. Community received insights and contributions from academicians ( Prof. Dr. Zeynep Simsek (Istanbul Bilgi University) and Prof. Dr. Ozgur Erdur Baker (Middle East Technical University) ) and survey results conducted with 1536 teachers from all over Turkey. Dissemination process is also being carried out by the collaborations of various different NGOs and provincial and district directorates of ministry national education.
The guidebook consists of different activities for teachers and students aiming to solve distinct aspects of the issues emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidebook can be used to enhance socio-emotional skills of the students who couldn’t acquire or practice such skills due to pandemic. The guidebook also aims to nurture teachers’ socio-emotional skills and support their adaptation process which has been an issue in terms of teacher wellbeing. Since September 2020, various webinars and workshops has been organized to disseminate the guidebook and its approach. The guidebook received positive feedback from teachers attending such activities.
Observed impact is as follows:
- 14 (5 trainers training for “Hats of Life Workshops”, 5 Teacher to Teacher Workshops for “Hats of Life Workshops” and 4 Teacher to Teacher Workshops for “Socio – Emotional Kit” online workshops and webinars have been organized. By doing so, we reached 400 teachers from 51 out of 81 different cities in Turkey.
- These workshops took place with the collaboration of different stakeholders from different parts of the country which included Ministry of Education and its local branches from Aydin, Kocaeli, Bursa, Mardin, Batman, Istanbul and Sabanci University.
- The guidebook and its contents have been downloaded for the total of 3700 times as of April 2021 from Teacher’s Network website
- In addition to the dissemination campaigns, Ogretmen Agi cooperated with provincial and district directorates of ministry national education and 205 different NGOs across Turkey to implement the guidebook locally.
Teacher’s Network expects national and international recognition for the guidebook in order to reach many more teachers across all 81 cities in Turkey to be implemented in their schools.
Adopt & Adapt
The guidebook was designed to be easily applicable in schools in various conditions. Therefore, the activities do not require anything more than standard school supplies. In terms of time to implement, the time required for activities range from 15 minutes to week-long processes. The activities were designed according to ministry of health’s and World Health Organization’s safety warnings and regulations. They were also in accordance with ministry of education’s regulations on the adaptation process.