CARMA Evaluation Seminar – the celebration of an amazing experience!

“Amazing experience!” is how Ana Fernandes, an English teacher from Portugal, described her participation in the CARMA Evaluation Seminar, that took place in Istanbul, last November. The purpose of the seminar was to gather a group of 23 teachers and experts in (non-formal) education – who have participated in the pilot experience of the CARMA project – to share with their peers their experiences in using RMA and other Non-Formal Learning Techniques in their classrooms, as part of their classroom activities.


One of the main aims of the CARMA project, funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Programme, includes the application of the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA) and other Non-Formal Learning (NFL) Techniques, such as “The Box of Emotions”, “Coding”, “Petal Debate” and “Group Investigation”, in everyday classroom activities as a collaborative learning approach to increase the motivation and engagement of students and learners. This approach was piloted by a group of 26 teachers and 7 non-formal learning experts, from seven European countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Turkey, France and Belgium), during the full academic school year, complemented with sharing sessions where teachers presented the results of the experimentation to other colleagues, parents and stakeholders. The results of this phase were shared and debated during the CARMA’s European Evaluation Seminar, that took place in November, in Istanbul.

For two days, this group of European teachers and experts together with the coordinators of the CARMA project and its Policy Expert in school education, reflected on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Analysis) they faced during the delivery of the non-formal methods and RMA with their students and in their schools. In their feedback, it was highlighted that the overall experience with CARMA has increased interaction not only between students and teachers, but also between the teachers themselves. With the application of RMA and NFL techniques, teachers felt that the social abilities and the self-expression of their students and learners had increased, as well as their sense of responsibility towards learning. In their feedback, teachers and experts also referred that this experience has also planted the seeds for a better relationship between students and teachers, as students became less bored of formal education settings, as much as they also felt safer and more open to participate in classroom debates and activities.

However, the pilot experience also confirmed that teachers (and even students) are not actually prepared to implement teaching activities or to use alternative learning methods, that are not foreseen in the curricula. Hence, an initial feeling of “waste of time” was generally felt by the teachers, until they had a grasp of how the techniques could be implemented and which benefits they could (would) observe. In their feedback, most teachers highlighted the importance of teacher-training in alternative learning techniques and methods, focusing on the implementation of the methods (as there is a wide variety), the importance of “pre-planning” (and the adjustments that are required in terms of timing and relation with the school curricula) and, finally, on how the assessment of the learning process occurs. Also, when asked about weaknesses of the CARMA RMA and NFL techniques, most teachers referred the fact that students and learners are not used to giving opinions and ideas or even expressing emotions. This posed for quite of a challenge in the beginning of the pilot, which was quickly surpassed with the continuance of the implementation of the actions. Yet, the opportunities that this group of teachers and experts recognised were also significant!

“When we integrate NFL methods, we don´t stop formal education: we try to optimise formal education.” – this was how Linda Castañeda, from University of Murcia summarised the overall experience in Spain – and the optimisation can be quite simple to implement: it could start right at the teacher educational programmes, where they could learn already from an early stage about RMA and NFL techniques through CARMA activities; or, specifically regarding the CARMA’s resources,  these could include the integration of non-verbal communication techniques, such as theatre and drawing, as an opportunity for students and learners that have more difficulties in expressing themselves verbally. It could also consider the creation of non-formal evaluation mechanisms and resources that could accompany the techniques.

Ana Fernandes, a Portuguese teacher, was one of the CARMA pilot participants, and has implemented a few non-formal learning techniques in her English classrooms. During the Evaluation Seminar in Istanbul, Ana was interviewed by CARMA partners and revealed “It was an amazing experience and I will, for sure, continue to implement these techniques in my classroom because I can see how my students are getting better abilities when dealing with the subjects that I am teaching. Furthermore, it has also been an interesting experience for myself, as a teacher, because when I am teaching, I am doing it for my students and myself, and not just for the system”.  

The feedback from teachers during the seminar raised important points to consider concerning the provision of inclusive and effective education to meet the school education challenges we face in Europe today, such as reducing the rate of early school leaving, increasing basic skills among young people and increasing the social inclusion of learners. Teachers offered key suggestions to policy makers, leaders in school education and to their own school institutions on how to change current education systems to effectively motivate and engage students and learners through collaborative teaching and learning.

Teachers’ feedback will be developed as a set of policy recommendations for school education based on the results of the piloting.

Watch the CARMA Evaluation Seminar video to find out more about what the teachers recommended to innovate the classroom. For further information about CARMA, please contact the project coordinator Mrs. Rosina Nduke rosina.ndukwe[a]

CARMA and the Outcomes of a fantastic meeting in Istanbul

CARMA – Evaluation seminar in Istanbul

How to transform the scholastic practices to favor interaction, creativeness and the mutual learning between teachers and students?

On 22nd – 23rd3 November 2017, teachers from 7 countries were together again after one year of starting their journey with the CARMA project.

The CARMA journey has been challenging, inspiring and collaborative. After meeting in Palermo in October 2016 for the European Workshop on collaborative competences, teachers for one year have been testing and implementing non-formal techniques and the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach at their schools with their students.

CARMA Evaluation seminar was held in Istanbul (Turkey) and being hosted by DOGA schools allowed teachers to see and learn from the practices used at DOGA schools. During the two days of the seminar, teachers discussed on what they have learnt, what has been an impact of non-formal methods on their students and themselves, and what they can do next to support the transformation of school practices.

Teacher Barbara from the Institute Duca Abruzzi Libero Grassi shares her experience about the CARMA Evaluation seminar:

carma-seminario-valutazione-1080x675Those days in Istanbul, at the CARMA Evaluation Seminar, will stay in my mind as an everlasting enrichment. Meeting again dear colleagues, exchanging ideas and points of view, comparing methods and experiences, trying to overcome the limits of familiar traditional teaching methods, I perceived all that as a part of a bigger programme to work on future good citizens in order to build up a better and still livable society. As educators we can’t ignore that times are changing – have changed – and we have to do the same. The old, rigid way of teaching/learning should be replaced by or at least integrated with the informal ones. As well as children, also students learn (better) by natural exposition, by learning by doing, by having all the senses stimulated, by using direct experience, or through maieutic, for example. And I don’t know if it is a new way of teaching/learning, because it was already and successfully used in ancient Greece by Socrates. But for sure I know that there’s nothing to be scared of, or doubtful about, in using NFL methods. They are appreciated by pupils and teachers, they are useful to manage our actual educational reality, and moreover. They work. They succeed in motivating students, in making them aware of their need to learn, grow, cooperate, and create a collaborative group in their present class and possibly in their future world.

My participation in the Seminar, even in such enchanting city and in such challenging environment, has not been a “pleasure trip”, because those days were hard work, with non-flexible times, and needed concentration and a big use of energy. But you know what? I didn’t feel it as a loss, but as a gain.

My mind is broader (but not so much to make my brain run away, I hope!), my natural curiosity has been fed, my very motivation to teach has grown up, and I’ve come back to my pupils as a stronger teacher and hopefully as a better human being.

The great Umberto Eco used to say that “Culture is Memory of Experience”. Let’s experience, then.”

The CARMA project, that was launched in January 2016, is about introducing non-formal educational methods into formal school environments with the aim to transform classroom practices so to increase the motivation and engagement of students

After the Evaluation Seminar, on the 24th November 2017, CARMA partners held the fourth partnership meeting where partners discussed the upcoming steps of the project, the development of the resources for teachers and policy makers and how to promote the impact of CARMA on educational systems and inform policy change Now, that a full evaluation of the impact has taken place, the results show that the project proved to bring an added value to school communities, and it is important to empower more schools across Europe that motivate students through the use of non-formal learning methods.

The CARMA project is co-funded by Erasmus+ KA3: Support for policy reform, Prospective Initiatives Forward-Looking Cooperation Project and addresses the promotion of “innovative, collaborative teaching and learning” within school education.


Follow the project on Facebook or visit carma-project-eu.
For further information, please contact Rosina Ndukwe:

CARMA projects meet in Istanbul to debate on the future of non-formal learning methods for student’s motivation

Istanbul will be the venue for a 2-day meeting between CARMA’s partners, the non-formal Learning Experts and teachers participating in the pilot experience, coming from 7 European countries, where the future of the non-formal learning methods for student’s motivation will be debated.

Starting with an analysis of the results of the implementation of the national pilots, presented first-hand by the teachers involved, the event will be an important moment to understand how each school and each classroom is responding to the implementation of non-formal learning practices and collaborative methods, through an inclusive approach that promotes interaction, creativity and reciprocal learning between the teachers and their students. This will be an important moment for the project and for the products that have been developed, such as the CARMA Teacher Assessment Model, as the conclusions and discussions that will follow will determine the improvements and refinements to be made in the upcoming months.

The event will also include a presentation of the film fuoriClasse from ZaLab, an association of filmmakers and social workers, which aims at producing, distributing and promoting social documentaries and cultural projects, developed through participatory video laboratories. Through such actions, marginalized people, who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to express themselves, become authors of their own stories.

The presentation of ZaLab will take place on 23rd November (10:15) at Dila Hotel (Kadıköy) ,and participation in this session is free of charge but sitting is limited. Should you wish to attend this presentation, please register:

Further information about the main results and achievements from this European Seminar will be announced soon at CARMA’s website and Facebook page.


The second CARMA newsletter details the latest project developments, in particular, the selection of CARMA as a success story for social inclusion for the 30th Anniversary of Erasmus+ and the launch of its new interactive video showcasing the main features of the project. The newsletter also offers an insight into the experiences of teachers in using the non-formal educational methods to transform classroom practices and motivate students, presented whilst taking a caffè macchiato with teacher Barbara from Palermo in Italy. You can read it all, here.

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CARMA takes a caffe Macchiato with teacher Barbara

IMG_0261For some teachers and students across Europe, this school year has been slightly different. Traditional didactic lessons were replaced by non-formal educational activities and the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA) of Danilo Dolci. Trained teachers from Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Austria and Turkey, supported by non-formal experts, have engaged their students in collaborative learning activities with the aim to address challenges in school education. Thanks to CARMA project!

At the end of April 2017, CARMA partners, CESIE (Italy), University of Murcia (Spain), Pistes-Solidaires(France), Asist Ogretim Kurumlari A.S. – DOGA (Turkey), University College Leuven – UC Leuven(Belgium), INOVA+ (Portugal) and Verein Multikulturell (Austria) met in Pau, France for the 3rdpartnership meeting to reflect on the progress of the project and to share experiences of the teachers involved in the piloting phase across the 7 countries. Teachers are enthusiastic about the new approaches they have learnt and are testing with their students in the classroom. The impact on their students’ learning progress is already visible!

The great work that has been done in Palermo has been shared by teacher Barbara Pellegrino. Barbara is implementing collaborative learning sessions with her students at the school Institute Duca Abruzzi Libero Grassi. In the article “Caffé Macchiato”, that was published in the school’s journal “LiberaLaMentepress”, Barbara shares her insights and reflections on the potential of non-formal educational methods to transform classroom practices and motivate her students.

Enjoy reading it!


Caffe Macchiato

When I was going to school, during the times of Noah, learning was sometimes quite boring.

In particular, I remember one of my teachers. He was distant and verbose. He used to hold long and non-interactive lessons, to use textbooks written in an incomprehensible language, and to assign such a mountain of tasks that destroyed our social life.

These difficulties paid off: during the oral exam while answering the first question if we were starting with – Then .. – it was not unusual for the dear teacher to reply: – A speech cannot begin with “then”. Go back to your seat. I give you an “F”-.  Needless to say, this was rather demoralising.

Today, luckily, these things cannot happen anymore. Whilst, on one hand, the teaching structure remains quite classic, the approaches and teaching techniques have changed radically. Today, students and their needs are at the centre of the educational process. Teachers keep themselves updated, lessons are modulated, textbooks are more interesting and teacher-student dialogue is more open.

In addition,  recently in the last few years, school education has been changing all over the world: the use of “Non-Formal Learning Techniques” have been introduced and are very effective in the case of problematic situations. In other words, when there are students who have difficulty in keeping attention and motivation, the teacher abandons the formal lesson and proposes non-traditional thematic or activities. For example, to help students analyse and reflect on the topic, there is the “Six Thinking Hats” technique, which creates six characters with different roles, and different points of view that can look at a given problem from different perspectives. “The Box of Emotions” helps students to tackle classroom tensions by exploring and sharing their emotions in a safe environment. There is also “Problem Solving” or “Group Investigation“, which through curiosity stimulates and allows students to work together to find a common solution to a problem. There is also the “Reciprocal Maieutic Approach” (RMA) that has been tested out for years by Danilo Dolci, an important sociologist and educator. RMA is based on the comparison and sharing of knowledge, emotions and experiences of the students.

These methods neglect old inflexible deductive methods and focus the attention on inductive methods based on the selection and analysis of what is familiar and near. And if everything works as it should, relevant.

CARMA – a story of social inclusion for the 30th anniversary of Erasmus+

The project, CARMA, RMA and other non-formal learning methods for Student Motivation has been selected as a success story for social inclusion for the 30th Anniversary of Erasmus+, and is featured in the anniversary campaign that celebrates the achievements of Erasmus+ so far and reflects on the future Europe that we can build together.

CARMA is co-funded by Erasmus+ KA3: Support for policy reform, Prospective Initiatives Forward-Looking Cooperation Project and addresses the promotion of “innovative, collaborative teaching and learning” within school education.  The project has been recognised by Erasmus+ as an example of how innovative and inclusive strategies within education at local level are being developed as part of an overall EU strategy to reduce early school leaving to less than 10% by 2020.

CARMA focuses on the introduction of non-formal learning practices and the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA) of Danilo Dolci as a collaborative learning strategy within school education to transform classroom practices and address challenges in school education. With pilot schemes already launched across schools in Italy, Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, positive results already indicate changes in the engagement and motivation of pupils, with many actively looking forward to their next non-formal lessons. Teachers have also benefitted from specialised training in an international setting in the field of non-formal education and the development of competences in collaborative teaching and learning. CARMA will use the findings from the pilot phase to provide key recommendations to policy makers on how to best combat early school leaving and promote the inclusion of disadvantaged learners.

The 30th Anniversary of Erasmus coincides with another milestone of European integration: the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which promotes an ever-closer union within Europe. Both anniversaries celebrate a common goal: uniting European people. Widely recognised as the most successful EU programme, Erasmus+ provides us with a concrete example of the positive impact of European integration and international outreach, having enriched the lives of nearly 2 million people from Europe and beyond between 2014 and 2016 alone!

Throughout 2017, many events will be organised across Europe to celebrate the 30th anniversary including a flagship event at the European Parliament in June. Find out more at:

The CARMA partnership has a diverse collection of 7 organisations working within the teaching and education sector including; CESIE (Italy) – Project Coordinator, The University of Murcia (Spain), Pistes-Solidaires (France), Asist Ogretim Kurumlari A.S. – DOGA (Turkey), University College Leuven – UC Leuven (Belgium), INOVA+ (Portugal) and Verein Multikulturell (Austria).

For further information about the CARMA project please contact Rosina Ndukwe:

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Inclusive approach to secondary school teaching to tackle early school leaving launched across Europe

Press Release

CARMA is the name of a European funded initiative that promises to launch an inclusive approach to secondary-school-level teaching, based on the introduction of non-formal learning practices and collaborative methods that promote interaction, creativity and reciprocal learning between teachers and learners.

Based on the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA) of Danilo Dolci, a group of European partners from education and training backgrounds, has been working on an inclusive and innovative assessment tool that will allow teachers to monitor and respond rapidly to student’s learning progress, while it also informs parents and update the wider school community about the learner’s constantly changing needs.

Since early 2016, CARMA’s partners have been dedicated to intensive research on the phenomena of Early School Leaving (ESL), on collecting best practices concerning collaborative learning (CL) and on identifying existing national frameworks for assessing teachers’ competences. As a result of such investigation, a comprehensive report entitled “Early School Leaving – Statistics, Policies and Good Practices in Collaborative Learning” (1) has been produced.

In this report, CARMA’s partners showcase statistics about ESL in light of distinctive factors such as gender, ethic minorities, foreign born and degree of urbanization. The analysis is taken one step further into the different national contexts and it is quite interesting to see that while in Austria and in France the rate of ESL (7.3% and 9.3% respectively) is below the target for Europe 2020 Strategy – which is set to 10% – all other countries of the partnership, present rates that are above this (10.1% in Belgium, 14.7% in Italy, 13.7% in Portugal, 20% in Spain and 36,4% in Turkey).

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CARMA EU Workshop for Teachers: “chances for big changes”

In the beginning of sunny October a group of teachers from 7 different European countries were sitting in a terrace of Baida convent, embraced by a spectacular view to the mountains, having all of Palermo under their feet and were telling stories. Stories about their teaching methods, about their students, their personal stories and stories for social change.

Storytelling, together with other non-formal techniques, were introduced to teachers of secondary schools during the CARMA European Workshop for Collaborative Competences for Teachers organised and hosted by CESIE in Palermo. The European Workshop, as a part of the CARMA project, was aimed to support teachers in developing their skills and knowledge in collaborative practices providing theory and practical experience on how to use the range of non-formal learning techniques and the Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA) as an assessment tool with their students in the classroom and within the school environment.

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CARMA – Innovating school culture through non-formal learning

The second partnership meeting for the project CARMA – RMA and other non-formal learning methods for Student Motivation took place in Murcia, Spain on the 19th and 20th September 2016, hosted by the University of Murcia.

CARMA focuses on the introduction of non-formal learning practices and collaborative learning within school education to transform classroom practices and address challenges in school education.

During the second partnership meeting, partners reviewed the project’s progress and outcomes achieved so far including the results from the desk based research and surveys carried out in each country. The desk based research investigated trends and statistics on Early School Leaving, best practices in collaborative teaching and learning and national frameworks to support teacher assessment. The online survey which has collected more than 1100 respondents of which are teachers, students, parents and stakeholders across the 7 countries of the partnership: Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Belgium, Portugal and Austria, explored and identified specific needs faced by schools and sought to gain a deeper knowledge on how to adapt non-formal learning methods to each school system.

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CARMA launches online survey on Collaborative Learning

The project CARMA – RMA and other non-formal learning methods for Student Motivation, has launched a European wide online survey on collaborative learning aimed to explore the real needs of all stakeholders in the school community: students, teaching staff and professionals within school education, parents, school service providers, civil society organizations and policy-makers in school education.

The survey has been launched in the seven partner countries; Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey, France, Belgium and Austria will investigate practices and opinions concerning the collaborative learning and non-formal education methods being used at secondary schools.

Partner organisation are responsible for distributing the survey to 150 respondents among a wide range of education sectors at both local and national level.

To participate in the survey for students click here

To participate in the survey for teachers click here

To participate in the survey for parents click here

To participate in the survey for stakeholders click here

Based on the questionnaires a comprehensive report will be created, including the results from all partner countries, in order to support schools to help tackle early school leaving and support disadvantaged groups of learners.

The CARMA project, co-funded by Erasmus+ Key Action (KA3): Support for policy reform, Prospective Initiatives Forward-Looking Cooperation Project, addresses the Priority 3 “Promoting innovative, collaborative teaching and learning” and launches an inclusive approach which fosters interaction, creativity and reciprocal learning between teachers and learners.

The CARMA project aims to develop, test and introduce at schools non-formal learning techniques as a collaborative learning strategy to innovate school culture and through the involvement of policy and decision makers in school education to transform classroom practices.

The partnership is made up of 7 partners from 7 different countries which include CESIE (Italy) the Coordinator, the University of Murcia (Spain), Pistes-Solidaires (France), Asist Ogretim Kurumlari A.S. – DOGA (Turkey), University College Leuven – UC Leuven (Belgium), INOVA+ (Portugal) and Verein Multikulturell (Austria).

For further information about the project, please contact Rosina Ndukwe:

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INOVA+ participates in the CARMA Project to foster the adoption of non-formal learning methods in school education

Education and training are key pillars for the development of societies. In this sense, the European Commission and the EU countries agreed on the Strategic framework for Education & Training, which includes a set of benchmarks for education to be achieved by 2020, namely: the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10% and fewer than 15% of 15-year-olds should be under-skilled in reading, mathematics and science.

The structure of the educational systems, the school environment and the skills of the school staff are important factors for students’ engagement, motivation and performance, as well as, for their learning process. Facing this context, the project CARMA – RMA and other non-formal teaching-learning methods for students’ motivation aims to develop, test and introduce at schools non-formal learning techniques as a collaborative learning strategy to innovate school culture and transform classroom practices.

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CARMA – Motivating students through collaborative learning

The Kick-off meeting for the project CARMA – RMA and other non-formal learning methods for Student Motivation took place on the 18th and 19th of February, 2016 hosted by the project coordinator CESIE in Palermo, Italy. The Kick-off meeting brought together CESIE with the 6 other partner organisations which include the University of Murcia (Spain), Pistes-Solidaires (France), Asist Ogretim Kurumlari A.S. – DOGA (Turkey), University College Leuven – UC Leuven (Belgium), INOVA+ (Portugal) and Verein Multikulturell (Austria). CESIE was honoured to host EACEA Project Officer Emilia Venot who also participated in the Kick-Off meeting of the Project.

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