Sinanballaj is a village around 5 kilometres from Rrogozhine, and around 75 kilometres to the Albania’s capital, Tirana. The road infrastructure within the village is poor, but the access to a better road that links Rrogozhine to Tirana is quite near.
There is the school in the village, which is a branch of the main school in Rrogozhine. It is accommodating children from the pre-school class to ninth grade. Because of the depopulation of the area, there are only around 50 children who are attending the school, with about 5-8 children per class. The school personnel counts around 12 people. All teachers come from the surrounding area. In 2012, the Rrogozhine municipality started to send one day per week a school psychologist to support the school with needed psychological services.
There was only one teacher from the Sinanballaj school who attended the 21st Century School training program in spring 2019. This was an Assistant Teacher, who started to work in the school two and a half years prior to the Programme, with the task to support the educational activity and integration to school of a child with Down Syndrome and Autism.
The assistant teacher organized occasionally some class activities, including other children in the class, in order to stimulate participation of the child with special needs. In these types of activities, the assistant teacher was able to some extent to apply critical thinking and problem solving techniques, such as six hats technique, debates in various topics, where the child with learning difficulties was assigned some role to play.
According to the Teacher Assistant, the child was not able to engage in the same capacity and role as other students. However, the child engaged in decision-making process as part of the methodology by providing his vote on the options discussed during the learning tasks. This made the child become more motivated to attend the school. The interviewed teachers report that the child cannot focus regularly on the learning process and class tasks in various subjects.
The child engages with the class on general conversations, such as talking about class rules and other similar aspects, but not indeed on the learning process, particularly not at all in in-depth learning. The Teacher Assistant works with the child using Individual Plan, which indeed is tailored in the way that hardly aligns with the curricula of the rest of the class. This is because the child still needs to learn the basic things, but is more motivated to attend classes with children closer to his age. The child engages in writing words, simple numbers, but not sentences or maths operations of any kind. The child improved also in the social and interpersonal relations with the teachers and others in the school.
“At the beginning it was difficult to talk to him or have him in the school. Now he is open to teachers, and to class mates. He has changed quite a lot in this direction”,
- a teacher of Albanian Language.
The father of the child, who was interviewed, reports that the child has become more stable recently, better manages his behaviour and emotions, since in the past he was quite aggressive at home and in school, and now is more motivated to attend school, though not regularly. However, from the beginning of pandemic, the child more hesitates to come to school because he is afraid of the situation with Covid-19.
“The child needs regular support at school, but also home with his hygiene, as well as supporting with homework, though he does not like at all them”,
- the father emphasises.
Overall, there were some observations that the CTPS activities that took place, though very few in number, could contribute to some motivation of the child to engage with the class. However, many of other activities that were reported by the teachers, classmate and the child’s father, may not be attributed to the influence of the CTPS.