Over the last two years, a Lithuanian training and consulting company has been working closely with the Teachers’ Development Centre from the Lithuanian Ministry of Education on a major educational project. The aim of the project was to reform Lithuanian primary education, with a specific focus on improving students’ practical problem solving skills and creativity. Thinking Schools International (TSI) provided training, expertise and guidance for this major initiative.
Primary schools in Lithuania have been invited to apply for funding in order that they may pursue the journey of becoming Thinking Schools. The initial interest was so overwhelming to the extent that the window for applications had to be closed.
Nick Symes, TSI, with team of National Trainers – from left to right: Jurgita Steponaitiene, Vilma Novikiene, Rima Backiene, Nick Symes, Kristina Kuznecova, Julius Paplauskas, Giedre Lecickiene
TSI is now working closely with two Lithuanian training agencies, Shibui Partners and Thinking Organisations, in order to develop a team of 6 National Trainers and through them to establish Thinking Schools Lithuania. The first tranche of training for this team was undertaken in August 2014 and it is hoped that their work with primary schools will commence in Autumn 2014.
The Background Process:
In September 2012 representatives from Lithuania visited the UK on a fact-finding mission including visits to various Thinking Schools. It was agreed to identify a small group of pilot schools that might pilot the whole school approach and become the first thinking schools in Lithuania.
In May 2013, TSI Global trainers spent three days in Lithuania working with 75 primary school teachers drawn from a number of different schools across the country. They were introduced to Growing a Thinking School from the Inside Out followed by training in Visual Tools for Thinking. They were tasked with taking the outcomes of the training back into their classrooms.
In August 2013, a further three days training took place for the same group during which they shared classroom practice using the visual tools and also undertook training in Dispositions for Mindfulness with a focus on Habits of Mind.
In December 2013 there was a further return to work with the same group of teachers. This time the main focus was to draw together the threads from the various trainings into the bigger context of the strategies required to become a thinking school. As in Norway, the activity that has been taking place in the Lithuanian schools that were represented during our training attracted considerable facilitating early discussions about how the TSI whole school approach might be scaled up across the country.
Below is a visual representation of the primary school teachers training which took place in May 2013.