Train the trainer @ Porto: Overview

In accordance with the approved programme for the implementation of the international project Erasmus+ KA2 "UKROTHE" "Study Programme Occupational Therapy in Ukraine" "Development of an educational program on occupational therapy in Ukraine" with the grant support of the European Commission, in the period from February 13 to February 17, 2023, the European coordinators of the project organized a practical training under the Train-the-trainer week program at Porto Polytechnic Institute (Porto, Portugal) for participants of the Erasmus+ KA2 "UKROTHE" project from Ukraine, who are acquiring the professional competence of occupational therapy trainers.

The team of Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University was represented by the faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Health and the Department of Theory and Methodology of Physical Education (Natalia Zakalyak, Sofia Ruzhylo, Oksana Fihura, Iryna Turchyk and Halyna Kondratska). The university delegation was headed by Ihor Hrynyk, Vice-Rector for International Relations.

The Khmelnytskyi National University delegation included the faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and the Department of Theory and Methodology of Physical Education and Sports, namely: Lyudmyla Basenko, Inna Soltyk, Vira Bazylchuk, Oksana Pavlyuk. Besides, Nataliya Shtokovetska, a fourth-year student (Group FT-19), also took part in the training.

The Dnipro State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports was represented by the Olha Konakova – the Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy.

Occupational therapists from the "Modrychi" rehabilitation center in Truskavets – Vira Koval, Veronika Tokmakova and Kateryna Bachynska and specialists from the "CARITAS" Charitable Fund of the Sambir-Drohobych Diocese of the UGCC – Halyna Yadzhak and Anna Kilas also participated in the week’s training.

The training was led by the European partners of the project – Professor Joaquim Manuel Ventura Faias at Porto Polytechnic Institute, the head of the occupational therapy educational program and pediatric occupational therapy specialist and the team of project coordinators from VIVES University of Applied Sciences (Belgium) – Sharon Schillewaert, Anne-Marie Denolf, Charlotte Pylyser, Lorenzo Billiet and Dirk Caulier.

Portuguese partners and colleagues from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto showed the Ukrainian partners the possibilities of implementing the project program in practice using modern visualization tools in the labs of the Polytechnic Institute and clinics,.

The training participants visited the Polytechnic Institute research center where they studied the use of simulation in the educational process of occupational therapist training. An interesting experiment with simulation elements was demonstrated in the laboratory – the embodiment of the work of an ergotherapist with a patient suffering from a phobia Having experienced the sensations and emotions of various types of phobias, the occupational therapist will be able to better understand the feelings of patients who have fears of heights, spiders, etc.

A visit to the psychiatric ward at S. João Hospital (acute states) was very informative. The Ukrainian programme participants were able to see the daily routine of an occupational therapist who works with patients with psychiatric characteristics and get acquainted with various methods and means of influencing the patient’s psyche.

Extremely interesting and useful for the formation of professional skills of an occupational therapist was the training on splinting and orthotics, during which the elements of obtaining scans of parts, making models of hand orthoses were mastered. And also participation in a practical session on the application of sensory integration in different conditions and contexts, which was skillfully and at a high professional level conducted by Professor Joaquim Faias.

Each training participant gained new knowledge and invaluable practical experience in occupational therapy while working on educational cases in gerontology, sensory problems and clinical observations based on the theory of sensory integration, and mental health research.

They had the opportunity to work on ECTS files from the educational components of the bachelor's educational program in occupational therapy.

All in all, the Ukrainian participants note a very high level of "Train-the-trainer" courses, which were moderated by trainers, well-known specialists and Portuguese teachers from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto – Joaquim Manuel Ventura Faiasta, Maria Joao Ribeiro Fernandes Trigueiro and Paula Christina Portugal Cardoso.

The week’s training in occupational therapy under the "Train-the-trainer" program was definitely useful and effective for all its participants; everyone increased professional competence and improved English language communication skills.

The teams of project participants from Ukraine express their sincere thanks to the European project coordinators, training organizers, teachers of the Polytechnic Institute in Porto (Portugal) and the VIVES University of Applied Sciences (Belgium) and representatives of other organizations involved in the trainings for their excellent ideas, help and support, high professionalism and focus on the quality result of the implementation of this project.