Report for LTTA 3 – Varna, Bulgaria 

26 JULY – 01 AUGUST 2021 

The third LTTA training within the KAFFI (To Know and Face Functional Illiteracy) project funded under Erasmus +, Key Action 2, took place in Varna, Bulgaria from 27 July to 01 August 2021. The meetings` main topic was “Creative training for the development of knowledge and skills”. 

All the 29 participants arrived on 26 of July at hotel “Cherno more”. 

The first meeting day -27.07.21- Tuesday started with welcoming made by prof. Mariella Ciani – KAFFI project manager and manager of APS Brainery Academy – Italy. She spoke about the phenomena “Functional illiteracy”, explained how to combat functional illiteracy, and the role of the education, critical thinking, lifelong learning and the non-formal teaching in this process. 

The meeting continued with warm welcoming from Yordanka Nencheva, PhD – host partner project manager and Chairman of Association “To Preserve the Woman” – Varna, Bulgaria. 

All the participants introduced themselves and each of them received a gift from the Bulgarian team. 

The Bulgarian team started the presentations. Yordanka Nencheva, PhD – Manager of the Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration for elderly Women – “Impuls” presented the different types of trainings, the target groups, methods and approaches for creative learning. 

She explained the educational and creative learning processes and the relationship between trainer and trainee. There was a short movie regarding the creative human activity. 

The second Bulgarian presentation was delivered by Danail Pavlov PhD, Chief Assistant in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov “- Varna. He spoke about the “Using the principle of “KISS” in science education as a best practice for combating functional illiteracy” Mr Pavlov explained the STEM approach, the importance of the STEM skills in the 21st century. He introduced the National Program “Building a School STEM Environment” in Bulgaria. Subsequently Danail Pavlov explained the nature of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle, some history facts and application nowadays in education and especially in Science education. He concluded with a very bright sample of what is happening in our body when you eat a piece of “Baklava”. 

The next Bulgarian presentation was conducted by Vyara Nikolova – Founder and Manager of schools “Materika” and Foundation “Materika”, 

pedagogue, master of physics and mathematics. The topic of her presentation was Suggestology, suggestopedia – innovative methods for creative training of knowledge and skills”. She presented this method to discover the potential of the human personality developed by the Bulgarian psychotherapist Prof. d-r Georgi Lozanov. She introduced the creative art methodology, which turns the educational process into an experience with a natural balance of emotional and analytical awareness of the cognitive content. The communicative suggestion was explained as a major factor that is always present around us that has 4 main types in terms of freedom of perception – free communication, directed non-manipulative communications, clinical suggestion and hypnosis. Mrs Nikolova pointed out the unconscious factors that determine the way in which the potential of the human individuality can be reached – Prestige, Infantilization, Dual planning, Rhythm, Intonation, Pseudo-passivity. She spoke about the parasconsciousness and the weak signals that allow the learning process to progress and flow seamlessly and quickly, without losing energy to unconscious criticism, with an increased understanding of what has been learned. A comparison between traditional and sugestopedic learning results was made and it clearly showed the advantages of the method. 

The meeting continues with last Bulgarian participant Akseniya Nikolova, who spoke about “Organization, optimization and efficiency of the learning process”. The presentation was based on 21 principles focused on increasing our overall levels of productivity, performance and output on making us more valuable in whatever we do. Different methods to reach high levels of performance and productivity were presented based on the Brian Tracy`s book “Eat that Frog”. 

After a break, the agenda continued with presentation from Spain by Andrés López Abellán and Lluis Fernández Navarro. They demonstrated “Finding out history and literature of a specific city through playing games and competition resources” The specific city was Madrid and the subjects practiced were Spanish literature, English skills, Math, History and doing sports. The game consist of 8 tests to be solved by each group of 5 people and the speed is determinative. The tests requires finding different places, orientation, flexibility and smart thinking. Each successful taken test provides one piece of a puzzle. When all the test are taken the eight pieces have to build a complete picture and when it is turned over a meeting address is discovered. The first group finished is the winner. 

Italian partner presented “Non – formal education – positive practices“ by Lavinia Pezzette. A comparison between formal and non-formal education was made and pointed advantages and disadvantages of both types of education. She shared two positive practices from the non-formal education: children – summer camp and association adult education courses. It was shown how the children – summer camp can develop different skills using Vocabulary, 

Dodgeball, Rugby, Music, Body parts and many others. Some of the characteristics and advantages of the non – formal education were presented as the fact that there is no age limits in this type of education, the individual is at the center of the learning processes and that there is a possibility for the timetable not to be set. It was also mentioned that in non-formal education it is possible to evaluate the learning process through questionnaires and interactive activities while the formal education do not use these methods. 

Two of the polish partners – Joanna Komorek and Аlina Doroch presented their “Creative training to develop knowledge and skills” with an energizing game at the beginning. All the partners by countries were asked to list as many items as possible in different categories like: red items, sour, cold, things that are the size of a clenched fist, that are used to warm the body etc. After finishing, the lists all groups exchanged and discussed the results. 

The presentation continued with definition and different aspects of the creative thinking, the six principles that facilitate creative thinking were described as the principle of diversity, the principle of deferred evaluation, the principle of rational irrationality, the principle of competent incompetence, the principle of fun and the principle of validity. 

The best practice shared by the Polish team was the mind maps. Different types and methodologies were pointed out and also the process of creating a mind map in 6 steps-definition of the main topic, main branches, adding key words, maintain a hierarchy of concepts and graphic design. Different examples of mind maps were shown and few applications to create mind maps. At the end of the presentation, each team was asked to create their own mind map on one of the topics provided by the presenters. All the created mind maps were presented and discussed by the participants. 

The next presentation was A cognitive method: discussion by the Turkey partner`s representatives Sitar Keser and Rifat Dumrul. The team spoke about the cognition, which refers to mental activity including thinking, remembering, learning, problem solving, understanding, language usage and so. They pointed out and described various methods to develop cognitive competencies as lecture, discussion and computer-based trainings. The presentation ended with discussion on whether vicious and dangerous sports should be banned by law or not… 

The first day ended with organized dinner at traditional restaurant “STARIA CHINAR” with Bulgarian cuisine. 

The next meeting day 28.06.2021 started with positive practices on “Digital and media Illiteracy”- presented by Slovenian participants – Andreja Petrovič and Jerca Božič Kranjec. They presented digital literacy is an important part of functional literacy and various definitions related to it. Mrs Petrovič pointed out the importance of our digital skills in the time of pandemic and 21 century as a whole. She also show different statistics of Digital User Skills, age 

of Internet users and purpose of Internet usage. Different ways to use digital media were discussed and demonstrated such as 360 video, augmented reality, mixed reality, QR code generator, interactive pdf. 

The difference between digital literacy and media literacy was emphasized so as the process of media literacy. It was demonstrated how the process of media literacy takes place in a Slovenian school with few short entertaining films made by the students. The problem with the fake news spreading was also mentioned and how we can fight against it. 

The Greek partner held the last 2 presentations regarding “What is peer to peer education” with moderator Margarita Papagianni and “Implementation of Peer-to-Peer education in practice” moderated by George Ntanis. 

Peer education is the process of trainees to train formally or informally other trainees, during which the exchange of experiences between them is allowed, spreading learning. Peer education tries to promote the research, exploration and critical thinking of each of the trainees. There is a team and a trainer / facilitator. The facilitator has to coordinate the procedure of peer education. 

Advantages of peer education were introduced as: that the process is educational and participatory and the participation of all trainees leads to the acquired knowledge. The peer education allows deeper learning beside traditional education, as the participatory learning (problem solving, discussion and solution creation) permits a longer conception of the idea. 

The peer education facilitation is the art of track, the detection of the group needs and talents, in order that creative freedom will come out. 

Mrs Papagianni pointed out different teaching methods that have to be adopted in the framework of Peer-to-peer education like role play, guided discussion, simulation, games, observation, brainstorming etc. She also gave strategies and indicative topics on which peer education could be applied. 

The implementation of Peer-to-Peer education in practice was the last best practice presentation. The procedure of normal implementation was described and also 2 Peer-to-Peer Programs: Digital Marketing where The facilitators presented the tools of digital marketing and trained the young about them and 2nd Peer-to-Peer Program: Sustainable Develop Goals After a dialogue between the participants and with the guidance of the mediators, Goal 10: Reduce inequality was selected. The most interesting part of the implementation was pointed out as the collaboration between the two programs in order to create and present together the material they learned. The benefits of the training method and the feedback from the two Peer-to-Peer Programs were also presented and discussed. 

After a break, Yordanka Nencheva offered to the group was different interactive games, solving tests and case studies. During an open discussion, the participants exchanged ideas, positive and innovative European practices in 

teaching of knowledge and skills through non-formal education of functional illiterate adults. A list with characteristics of the successful teacher was created together with all the partners and a system of criteria for a good teacher was built up. 

The second day continued with a visit to the “Golden Sands” Resort and the “St`s. Constantine and Helena” Resort by bus with a guide in English. The evening ended at the traditional restaurant ” Ivanchov Khan” with a show – the ritual called Nestinarstvo, or walking barefoot on burning embers. 

The next day the group visited the University of Economics and met the Rector Prof. Evgeni Stanimirov PhD who welcomed the guests and presented the profile of the university. He shared his views on topics related to the quality of the education, including trends that directly affect the education system; financing and achieved results in the educational system; educational content. Special attention was given to the functional illiteracy. 

The meeting was also attended by the Vice-Rector for Internationalization Assoc. Prof. Radan Miryanov, who presented the international projects on which the university is working. 

There was an interesting discussion with the participants. During the discussion, Dr. Nencheva launched the idea of developing criteria and an index for measuring functional illiteracy, which would add value in the fight against this phenomenon. 

Prof. Dr. Evgeni Stanimirov presented a plaque at the University of Economics – Varna to Dr. Yordanka Nencheva and Prof. Dr. Mariela Chani as a sign of gratitude for their work on the very important topic of functional illiteracy. 

After the meeting, there was a visit to the History Museum and sightseeing of the Golden Treasure with a guide in English. Thus, everyone got acquainted with part of the historical heritage of Bulgaria. 

Subsequently a meeting in the Municipality of Varna took place with the Deputy Mayor Kosta Bazitov, the Director of the Social Activities Directorate Ms. Tanya Vasileva and Director of the ENOP Directorate Ms. Ani Nikolova. 

The group also visited the Regional Informational Center Varna with presentation of Victoria Marinova, PhD and successfully implemented European programs in Bulgaria. 

The next (30.07) day visit was at the Association “To preserve the woman” -Center for social integration of elderly women “Impulse” and Center for children with autism disorders “Life under the rainbow”, where the activities of the Association were presented and the group received an information about the training programs of the Intergenerational centers. Attendees shared their admiration for the results achieved, for the excellent expertise of the team of the Association “To preserve the woman” 

During the lunch and afterwards there was an interesting discussion and 

sharing innovative European practices for non-formal adult learning and also discussion on the handbook`s structure and content. There was a meeting with Dr. Sonya Tsekova and Mrs. Emilia Angelova – members of the Board of the Association “To preserve the woman”. 

The following day 31.07.2021– Saturday there was project coordinator`s meeting in one of the host partner`s offices. The coordinators discussed project activities so far and planned the next stage and meetings of KAFFI. Discussed were the financial and organizational topics. 

The closure of the third LTTA was with gala dinner with Certificates ceremony at Sea Terrace. The honorary consul of Italy in Varna and secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Varna Ivan Tabakov, took part in the ceremony. 

Next project meeting is planned in Istanbul 28.09-04.10.2021. 

The following conclusions are made: 

1. The meeting passed at a very high level, with high organization and professionalism. 

2. Valuable positive practices, methods and approaches for overcoming functional illiteracy were exchanged between the seven European countries. 

3. Good friendly contacts were established, each partners` experience was enriched. 

4. We reported the positive results in achieving the main objectives of the project “KAFFI”. 

5. The schedule for continuation of the project activities at the final stage was discussed. 

6. The conducted Feedback Survey showed the high level of satisfaction from LTTA 3- Varna Bulgaria 26.07-01.08.2021. 

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