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Enrol on our open access online course Primary to Secondary smooth transitioning to prevent ESL

This course has enabled open enrollment. Teachers, school staff and educators can self-enrol in the course using the following link:

Alternatively, they can sign up at and use the following join code: Y6NC7E

Please find below all the information about our online course. 

Context of the course

This online course for teachers titled "Primary to Secondary smooth transitioning to prevent ESL" is part of the DREAMS project, an Erasmus+ strategic partnership involving 3 schools and 2 non-profit organizations in Spain, Italy and Portugal. The priorities of the DREAMS project are to prevent early school leaving (ESL), promote social inclusion and support educators by providing innovative material and trainings to ESL and better address the needs of learners, particularly those facing difficulties or fewer opportunities. For more information about the DREAMS project please visit

As part of the DREAMS project, we have developed a workshop for students titled "The Trip". This online course will provide all the necessary steps to prepare teachers to implement "The Trip" workshop in their classrooms. "The Trip" is meant as an innovative theatre-based pedagogical approach for teachers and school staff who wish to:

  • assure a smooth Primary to Secondary School transition

  • foster diversity within their class

  • identify early signs to prevent early school leaving.

Please take into account that both "The Trip" student workshop together with this teacher online course are in their "beta" version, which means that we are piloting both resources for the first time. We will be gathering information as both resources are tried out by teachers and students in order to make the necessary changes for the final version. Likewise, there are materials that will be included in this course (ie. workshop case studies, best practices in transition, etc.) which are still in progress.

This online course will only be available in English.


The main objective of this online course is to prepare teachers to implement the DREAMS workshop "The Trip", and in doing so: 

  • acquire new knowledge and tools about transition, diversity and early school leaving prevention

  • acquire new knowledge and tools about theatre and creative-based methods to support students in their transition

  • gain awareness about themselves and their professional practice

  • gain tools to foster diversity in the classroom and for early prevention of ESL.

The objectives of "The Trip" workshop with students are to: 

  • try out, disseminate and validate the DREAMS methodologies (Enlaces a un sitio externo.)

  • create Forum Theatre pieces by the students, so that they can share their perspective of transition with the rest of the school community after the pilot

  • develop student skills and competences to be able to assertively address the transition

  • promote student collaboration, inclusiveness and active citizenship among students

  • involve students in pedagogical decision-making and design

  • deeply understand students’ needs, motivations and ideals in relation to transition, and learning in general

  • foster motivation towards learning, build student leadership and approach transition as an opportunity for autonomy

  • foster and promote diversity as an asset during transition

  • approach transition from a student-centred perspective

  • approach transition with special attention to diversity

  • detect early ESL signs to address them on time 

  • facilitate transition for students and their families.


"The Trip" workshop and this online course were developed following a learning-by-doing, experiential and question-posing focus based on the coming together of various methodologies and fields: 

  • Dramatic pre-texts and forum theatre

  • Liberating pedagogy (also known as critical pedagogy)

  • Process oriented psychology

  • The hero's journey

Dramatic pre-texts were developed by Cecily O’Neil, and were later adapted to the classroom as a pedagogical tool by Allan Owens and Keith Barber. A pre-text is a story in any form (poem, article, music, object, etc.) which is introduced to the class and serves as a “launching-pad” to stimulate creativity and situated-knowledge debates around a particular topic. A pre-text allows for stimulus to think about a topic, provides introduction to the topic in a creative form, suggests roles, tasks and actions that might be related to that topic, determines a location, atmosphere and different situations that might be useful in shaping or guiding the debate/creative process around that topic, and encourages the exploration and transformation of the topic at hand. The benefits of “pre-text” pedagogy is that it allows children to relate to learning from a very personal, yet socially-engaging perspective, since they must constantly juggle concepts between how they feel and their personal experience with their context and with others around them. 

As part of the pre-text workshop, students are able to engage in Forum Theatrea tool from the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology. Theatrical tools are a useful mean for individual and social transformation. Through theatrical exercises and staging we can work with reality at many different levels: visualizing it from many perspectives, analysing it, experimenting with it, generating creative strategies, and rehearsing for real life. Simultaneously, we are developing personal, relational, and social insight, awareness and skills. Theatre allows us to think about and act upon ourselves – mind, body and emotion – and our connection with others and with the world. A methodological approach to theatre which is particularly useful to understand and work on the connection between the self, to others and to the world is the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO). TO was developed in the seventies by Brazilian playwright Augusto Boal, and it is based on Critical Pedagogy (Paulo Freire, 1970) – where all people, no matter their age, background or situation, can teach and learn, be the owners of some knowledge, have the same right to speak, be heard, and propose options, contents, problems and solutions. TO is used to analyse power structures to identify abuses of power perpetrated and perpetuated systemically in our daily lives. TO uses theatrical games and exercises to de-mechanize our perceptions making us aware of ourselves and our context. By using the participants’ experiences as core narratives to analyse the complexities of our own realities, this methodology allows us to search for and collectively create  alternatives to conflicts that often prove difficult to resolve from an individual position.

Forum Theatre is the basic tool within Theatre of the Oppressed. The structure of Forum Theatre is based on presenting a short play which is stopped at the moment of maximum conflict. After the facilitator stops the play, s/he invites viewers to open the debate and to go on stage to replace the protagonists in order to change the situation.

The facilitator provides data to feed the debate, engage the audience and asks questions to generate a collective reflection about our behaviours in order to bring about awareness and change in our attitudes.

Thus the participants in the audience through their performances on stage with the other actors, can intervene in the play and offer their thoughts, desires, strategies and solutions. The scene is reinterpreted as often as the different interventions proposed by the audience. Each alternative proposed is discussed and analysed to explore the feasibility of the proposed solution. 

To broaden our scope regarding group facilitation and to deal with the numerous emotions and reactions that might spur during TO-based workshops, we mix the methodology with Process Work. Process Work or Process Oriented Psychology (POP)  integrates and uses contributions from various disciplines to facilitate the transformation and growth of individual and collective groups: community and organizational development, diversity and leadership training, counselling and group facilitation. Process Work focuses mainly on developing a state of consciousness by helping individuals and groups to realize how they perceive and live their experiences, learn to change their approach, and find the information which is not noticed or marginalized (and hence limits a person’s ability to respond). Much of the information we need to transform ourselves and to grow challenges our ordinary consciousness. Without realizing it, we marginalize certain aspects of our daily experience: emotions, desires, dreams, intuitions, fantasies, moods, etc., because they come into conflict with our basic belief system or with the dominant culture to which we belong. Process Work teaches us to connect with our deeper self and learn to be creative and flow amid extreme circumstances. Through different tools and exercises, POP allows us to:

  • redistribute power and give importance to the mood of the groups

  • talk about different unresolved or difficult to solve issues

  • respond to the feelings of frustration generated due to mistrust or fear of the higher spheres of power

  • challenge the hopelessness of achieving change

  • rediscover the desire to train within and to experience the community

  • improve the quality of group processes

  • save time in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of processes

  • transform conflict into spaces for reflection and action

  • reconsider the forms of organization in order to achieve group equality and ensure the fairness and balance of power

  • encourage the participation and commitment of all people involved taking into account group diversity

This tool is aimed at finding new ways to understand social beings, and make more sustainable communities based on principles of coexistence in diversity.

We put all of the previous methodologies together to shape "The Trip", a dramatic pre-text following the structure of the Hero's Journey . The hero's journey is an archetypical narrative defined by Joseph Campbell. In the hero's journey, the protagonist must undertake a ritual-like path which involves the following stages: 

"The Trip" is a pre-text developed for students to undertake their own journey in the context of school transitioning, which means that as students do the workshop, where they will experience moulding the characters and storyline, they will be simultaneoulsy undertaking the hero's inner journey related to their own path: 

For more information on the “Pre-text” methodology please consult O’Neill, Cecily (1995). Drama Worlds: A Framework for Process Drama or visit 

For more information on Liberating Pedagogy please consult Paulo Freire (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed available in numerous languages. 

For more information on Forum Theatre please consult Boal, A. (1992) Games For Actors and Non-Actors. Routledge: London.

For more information on Process Work please visit

For more information on the Hero's Journey please consult Campbell, Joseph. (1949) The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Bollingen Foundation: Princeton.

Course structure

This online course is based on four basic premises:

  • Students should be the protagonists in their transition process

  • The transition is a rite of passage

  • As educators, we cannot ask students to do what we have not done ourselves before

  • Students are diverse, and their diversity is an asset. 

As such, teachers who will be responsible for the implementation of "The Trip" workshop will undergo a set of preparatory exercises as part of this online course. All together, the course has the following structure: 

0. Introduction

This is where you are now. After you finish reading this document, you will have all the necessary information to get started with the course. Don't forget to complete the initial self-evaluation before continuing with the course!

1. Inner work: preparing yourself to accompany the transition

These are a set of individual exercises to connect with your creativity, with your diversity, with conflict and with your inner child. This set of self-exploratory exercises will equip you to better guide the students when implementing "The Trip". 

2. Technical exercises: getting acquainted with theatre for the classroom

These are a set of practical and theoretical exercises to get you familiarized with the different theatrical tools you will be using when implementing "The Trip"

3. Preparing to implement "The Trip"

In this module you will find a set of tasks related to preparing for the workshop such as exploring the diversity present within the classroom, setting up beginning and ending rituals for workshop sessions, and deciding on the workshop facilitation team, among other tasks. 

4. "The Trip": student workshop for smooth transitioning

This module provides a step-by-step guide to implement the student workshop. 

5. Presenting to the school community

This module offers guidelines to present the results of the student workshop to the school community using forum theatre. 

6. Piloting with students

This module is mandatory for teachers who are piloting the student workshop for the DREAMS project. It offers guidelines, templates and student evaluations. 

This module will be optional once this online course is in its final version, and once the DREAMS project has come to an end. 

7. Cases studies

This module will offer all necessary tools to develop a case study based on the implementation of "The Trip". It is mandatory for teachers who are piloting the student workshop for the DREAMS project.

Once the DREAMS project has been completed, this module will offer case studies for Italy, Spain and Portugal, where teachers can see examples of how "The Trip" student workshop was implemented. 

8. Evaluations

This section includes self-evaluations and course evaluations, which will help the DREAMS project team improve the course. This module is mandatory for teachers piloting for the DREAMS project, and will be optional once the course is completed. 

9. Annexes

This section includes useful documentation and resources that might come in handy such as a icebreakers, EU resources for teachers, handbooks, etc.

In the final version of this online course, there will be a final module with annexes which include DREAMS project outputs once these are ready. 


  • This course requires a dedication of approximately 11 hours to complete. 

  • Piloting the workshop with the students will require approximately 18 in class hours (count with some additional hourse for the preparation of materials). 

  • Teachers who are piloting for the DREAMS project will have available 4 mentoring sessions (mentoring sessions will be held with the team of teachers) of an hour each:

    • first mentoring session: after completing the online course and before starting to pilot

    • second mentoring session: after the first couple of sessions with the students

    • third mentoring session: before ending the student workshop

    • fourth mentoring session: after ending the student workshop

  • Individual teacher mentoring is not foreseen, unless explicitely required by the teacher. 

  • Teachers piloting for the DREAMS project are expected to complete all piloting and course documentation, evaluations and case study components of the course.

  • Teachers piloting for the DREAMS project will get accredditation after course completion (including piloting).

It is important you complete the entire course before proceeding to pilot with students. Once you have piloted with the students, you can come back to the course to complete the corresponding tasks such as evaluations and case study documentation. 

If you have read up to here then you are ready to get started! We wish you a pleasant and fruitful journey :)


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