Special Edition: MCAST

The first GIVE Transnational Project Meeting in Como, Italy was attended by the Deputy Director of Curriculum – Key skills and Learning Support Unit, Duncan Vella, and the Erasmus+ Programmes Coordinator Jodie Bonnici as representatives of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST).

The MCAST representatives at this meeting are both participating in the GIVE Technical Unit and have been active in the data collection and deliverables required for WP2. Jodie Bonnici is also participating in the Quality Assurance and Communication Management Unit.

While several meetings have been held online since the start of the project, this was the first occasion where the GIVE MCAST Team was able to meet their colleagues from Italy, Spain and Finland. This was an excellent opportunity for the MCAST representatives to get acquainted with the partners and learn more about how each partner implements inclusive practices at their respective institutions. It also gave the MCAST Team an opportunity to talk about the various inclusive initiatives undertaken by the College and the organisational structure in place to ensure all groups and communities within the student body can find the support required to better facilitate their inclusion, both at the College and also in the Maltese community.

While MCAST has long-standing relationship with Cometa, this was the first visit by the GIVE MCAST Team members. Learning about the origins of Cometa and having dinner with the Cometa families was a great experience which helped foster a better understanding of the Lead Partner and where the idea for the GIVE project originated from. This dinner on the first meeting day also served to get all the participants to introduce themselves and get to know each other in an informal setting, which has a positive influence on working relations between participants.

The programme allowed for several such occasions for informal interaction and allowed for a better understanding of how the participants became involved or interested in the topic of inclusion. This meeting highlighted how many people are doing a lot of good for the sector of inclusion in general, with GIVE participants respectively participating in several projects and initiatives across Europe.

Besides the sharing of practices, the meetings served to clarify the aims and objectives of the project and where the project currently stands in achieving them. Moreover, the project timeline was discussed and revised to better accommodate all partners. The MCAST Team will be leading WP4, which is scheduled to commence in 2022. This meeting aided the MCAST Team in identifying exactly how WP4 depends on previous WPs, and meeting the Leads for WP2 and WP3 in person allowed us to establish better communication with the participants working on these WPs. This allows the MCAST Team to more adequately prepare for the start of tasks under WP4, including who will be involved in the development team and how.

The practical workshops held on the last day were particularly effective in aiding the MCAST Team visualise the workflow for the deliverables required of WP4. The first workshop consisted of sharing and fixing the Table of Contents and adding more teachable practices. The first part of this workshop allowed the participants to review the collection of practices gathered so far, a satisfying moment for everyone as the participants saw for the first time the tangible results of the data-collection procedure undertaken earlier in the year.

Once the participants confirmed that the practices were appropriately located within the Table of Contents and amendments were discussed, the participants were given time to add more practices implemented in their respective institutions and give brief explanations. This was an excellent platform for the partners to discuss and compare practices, identifying how similar practices can be executed differently or adapted depending on the given institution’s needs.

The second workshop was particularly useful for the MCAST Team as it elucidated the concept of a Teachable Practice through praxis. Partners were given time and guidance to expand on a specific Pedagogical or Governance Practice which is also Teachable. Through a description of the practice and its goals the MCAST representatives were able to identify the varying Phases of the Teachable Practice.

The phases were broken down into simple instructions that could be used as a guide for adopting the practice. By trying this out and discussing the results during this workshop, the MCAST Team will now be better prepared to repeat this process with other Teachable Practices for WP3. Seeing the Teachable Practices broken down in this manner also aids in the conceptualisation of the training courses MCAST will lead the development of in WP4.

It is worth noting that the MCAST Team travelled with the representatives from the Malta Chamber of Commerce. This gave participants ample opportunity to discuss how the long-lasting cooperation between the two Maltese partners can be further improved through this project.

This included discussions on dissemination opportunities in Malta, as well as the organisation of or participation in promotional events and conferences to expand the GIVE project’s reach in Malta. Moreover, the Maltese representatives were able to identify areas where the Malta Chamber of Commerce can be of vital aid in achieving the goals of WP4, particularly due to their pre-existing relations to several local stakeholders.

Overall, the physical meeting held in Como improved relations between participants and enhanced commitment towards the project. The MCAST Team is grateful towards Cometa for hosting this meeting and the participants have returned with renewed vigour towards the GIVE Project.

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