The COVID-19 pandemic posed multiple challenges to the implementation of RENYO’s activities as they were planned. Various and diverse measures were taken in all partner countries to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, to which all RENYO partners had to adapt activities and methodologies.
In the past months, partners delivered trainings on the Authentic Inquiry Methodology and the use of the Learning Power Platform to educators working with young people in conflict with the law. The trainings of educators scheduled after the outbreak, were in most cases converted to online meetings and conducted through platforms and interactive tools such as Zoom or Padlet. In some cases, these trainings were slightly delayed to allow for rearrangement of activities and adaptation to the new unexpected situation. While this shift understandably weakened the social interaction between trainers and trainees, it also offered the opportunity for partners to explore and learn new digital tools and approaches to education. Furthermore, it also allowed some partners to reach out to a larger and more distant audience of educators (e.g. in Sicily CESIE trained educators from different provinces of the region as opposed to only the ones in the surroundings of Palermo).
The following step of the project, which is now underway, involves the educators directly, who will apply the Authentic Inquiry with young people living in the secure or community settings they work in. From the feedback received so far, we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is posing challenges to this phase of the project as well. With the closing of schools and the intermittent shift to online classes, with the occasional isolation of staff members or entire communities, greater pressure is put on educational staff who often struggles to find the time and tranquility to engage in the Authentic Enquiry process. Nonetheless, feedback also suggests that there is great commitment on the side of the educational staff to overcome these constraints and carry on the project with the best possible results.