An Unforgettable Week in Italy: Reading the Stories of Time

December is the busiest month of the year, full of fairy tales, magic, intense preparation for Christmas and New Year celebrations. In that time expectations are high, wishes are made and dreams come true. One of those dreams fulfilled was the ERASMUS+ project LIFE international meeting in Italy held by I. S.I.S. “L. DE’ MEDICI” in a town of OTTAVIANO on 6-10 December, 2021. Developing Literary and Interpretative Skills through Stories was the title of the mobility.

The week filled with unforgettable experiences was opened with a welcoming ceremony held by Italian team in L. DE’ MEDICI school. The participants introduced themselves and their respective schools, enjoyed ice-breaking activities. It was followed by the tour round the school and the explanation of the educational system implemented at the school, which consists of several departments, such as cookery, bar tending, fashion, etc. The morning session was closed with the magnificent lunch cooked and served by the students of L. DE’ MEDICI school supervised by the teachers.

The seminars, given by Mrs. Carola Flauto, a teacher of the school-cum-professional writer, were the main highlight of the week. During the seminars the teams from the participating countries: Italy, North Macedonia, Turkey, Lithuania and Croatia learned about the variety of types of short stories (action, adventure,  comedy, crime, detective, drama, mystery) came to realization that any human feeling, idea, situation can be illustrated by and pictured in a story. During the second seminar Mrs. Flauto presented basic story related notions, such as plot, character, setting, and theme. The seminars were followed by hands-on classroom activities. The participants were developing their literary and interpretative skills through story-telling activities, acting out stories and games. All the activities were connected to the belief that there is a story behind everything and every person as well as every object has a story to tell.

Once again the idea came to life visiting the historical ruins of Pompeii, where every stone, every street and every building has centuries of stories to tell: stories of people, who lived, dreamed and died in the town. The participants developed their creativity and built cultural competence trying to imagine who the residents were, their daily activities, and the tragic end of the town.

The visits to other historical sites followed. The participants had a chance to visit a winery on the slopes of Vesuvius learning about deep wine yard growing traditions of the region, Naples with its thousands of years’ long history, Amalfi included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The participants listened to the stories those places have to share, enriching their understanding of European traditions and values, understanding the historical context of present day developments.

On the last day the participating teachers discussed learning materials relevant to the topic of story-telling, shared their experience of using stories for teaching English as a foreign language,  developing students’ creativity, literary and interpretative skills, creative thinking, comprehension of their own culture in European context. The plans for the upcoming mobilities were discussed and the dates for the further mobilities in ERASMUS+ LIFE project were decided on.

Italy, we have learned from the stories you told us, and now we are looking forward to seeing the participants of ERASMUS+ LIFE project in Lithuania!

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