The extracurricular activities are a bridge through which the children from different ethnic communities have a possibility and space for mutual everyday gatherings, spontaneous and free communication, cooperation, mutual learning and spending time together. When creating the extracurricular activities, it is crucial to have in mind the following questions: Which and what kind of activities would children like to attend every day? How should the activities be organized in order to keep the attention and motivation of the children? What areas are in the focus of interest and curiosity of the students?
Knowing that in the regular teaching process there is always a lack of space for promoting the game, the research activities and projects, and in order to overcome this situation in our classrooms, the extracurricular activities have immediately proven to be an excellent choice and a form for organizing rich, motivating, creative game activities, through which the attention of all children can be attracted, but also their motivation for these activities will be continuously fostered. That is why the various game situations are the basis through which an immediate cooperation and connection of the students from different ethnic background can be easily reached.
Their schedule is determined by the responsible teachers, but it is important to emphasize that this schedule is flexible to the maximum and that it should always accommodate the current school events or more important events on a local municipal level.
The extracurricular activities should be in function of development of the children’s talents, skills, abilities, as well as in direction of strengthening their self-confidence, the positive picture about themselves, but also the positive relation and image about the school.
The role of the students
Students and parents are the main most important partners, supporters of the Nansen model for intercultural education. Special attention has been put to the relation towards the students as an equal subject in the shaping and creating of the regular teaching process, but also of the extracurricular activities. When creating the extracurricular activities, it is necessary to respect the previous knowledge, desires, interests, abilities of the students. That is why, the individualized approach should be continuously promoted through the extracurricular activities, where the complexity of the tasks will be appropriate to the development possibilities of the students, but will at the same time contain a small “dose” of material, which will be in function of encouraging the development, i.e. will be in the zone of the future development. The immediate realization of the extracurricular material is clearly leading us to the conclusion that the everyday planned material (within all existing sections) is being prepared and presented on different complexity levels, in order for all students to be able to independently reach the desired final product, result. It is an obligation of the teachers to identify the speed and tempo with which each student will be able to realize the assigned goal and not to be discouraged or demotivated because of the complexity of the current activities.
The results from the integrated extracurricular activities
Improved and enriched didactic component in all groups, upgrade of the knowledge, acquiring skills for successful approach to other cultures, domination of interactive activities and group work, individualized approach towards each student and individual progress; improved and acquired techniques for active and independent studying by the students.
- Exceptionally high index of group cohesion, compactness in all groups of students, which confirms the absence of any potential risk of interethnic tensions and conflicts in the ethnically mixed groups.
- Successful promotion of the inclusive component and permanent inclusion and independence of the students with special needs for active participation in the extracurricular activities, through which they are accepted as equal members of the group. Their progression is evident on both levels – socialization and studying.
- Reduced barriers for learning of the “other” language; cultural dialogue between students from different ethnic communities is successfully achieved. In addition, the educational exclusion among the students due to language barriers is minimized.
- The multiethnic character of the groups is visually captured through a successful multicultural design of the school space, created by the students themselves.
- Improved results and performance in the regular teaching process, as a direct result and influence of the integrated extracurricular activities.
- Developed skills among the students for constructive conflict resolution, critical thinking, flexible approach towards the problem situations, capacity for constructive approach in the research situations, both in the extracurricular activities, but also in the regular teaching process.
- Dynamic, multidirectional communication is achieved, without language barriers, enriched with skills for nonverbal communication and understanding.
- Developed personal and social competencies among the students necessary for life in a real multiethnic context.