Am I European A Comenius School Project by xyo14123


									“Am I European ?” A Comenius School Project
Thornhill School has been working with European partner schools since 2000. Rob Browell describes their
Comenius School Project “Am I European ?”

Thornhill School is now in its final year of a three            contrasting the range of housing styles and
year Comenius project. The project was initiated by             residential environments around each of the towns.
Corinne Morniroli who attended a Comenius Partner-              Family members, pets etc. were also examined.
finding Seminar in Maastricht during November
2000. By the end of the seminar there were six                  Year 3 is exploring leisure and holiday time. A survey
schools who had decided to develop a working                    of festivals celebrated throughout the year is being
partnership: Liemers College and Zwijsen College                conducted, and the story behind each retold.
from the Netherlands, Liceo J.Stellini in Italy, Goethe         Favourite holiday destinations, both national and
Gymnasium in Germany, Frederikshaven in                         international, are being researched, as well as
Denmark, and Thornhill School. Three weeks later                typical part-time jobs that students undertake in
all schools were represented at a preparatory visit to          their free time, and how much each earns. The
Udine, northern Italy (Liceo J.Stellini was not                 impact of tourism on the local and national
awarded a grant and so the mountains had to move                economy is also being examined.
to them!!) in order to thrash out the content of the
three year project, means of communication                      There have been approximately 60 year 9 pupils
between the institutions and to begin to put together           involved in the project over the last two years. This
the rather lengthy application form. As the project             year only one class is participating. Pupils were
was to be in English, Thornhill was selected as the             initially involved in the design of module contents, in
project coordinator for the first two years. The                each stage of the planning, and their views and
meeting was a very positive process and vital in                comments have always been sought when staff
developing staff relationships, which were key to               have held their annual project meeting. Within the
making the project a success for all. At the end of             school the pupils have been responsible for the
the meeting we had put together a fairly                        collection of data and putting together the reports
comprehensive application form. All the schools                 for each of the modules studied. ICT has been used
applied but the Danish school was not successful in             extensively when putting the final documents
receiving funding and as a result they were unable              together, and communication has been by a
to participate.                                                 combination of e-mail and uploading of information
                                                                to a website for the project (currently under
                                                                construction!). Each group of pupils has taken
                                                                charge of communicating with a specific school.
                                                                Once the information was uploaded each of the
                                                                groups had to examine the information received
                                                                from the schools, as well as respond to any issues or
                                                                questions raised by the other schools. Whilst it all
                                                                sounds cumbersome it has worked out! Pupils have
                                                                been an important part of the decision-making
                                                                process, and at each project meeting their
                                                                responses to the planned tasks helped us modify
                                                                our plans so that they were fully inclusive.

                                                                Project meetings between the staff have been held
                                                                at Goethe Gymnasium (Stolberg, Germany) and at
                                                                Thornhill school. The final project meeting is to be
                                                                held in the Netherlands and the two Dutch schools
                                                                will act as co-hosts. Each school selects two pupil

“Am I European ?” is the title of the project. It
investigates similarities and differences in the lives
and experiences of participating pupils in each of
the schools.

Year 1 focussed on school life. Throughout the year
pupils had to collect information about the different
environments, subjects studied, rules and
regulations, teaching styles experienced and extra-
curricular activities. Images of the school were
taken and manipulated using digital methods and
scale drawings were prepared and scanned.

Year 2 examined home life, comparing and

delegates for the meetings - this has been organised        evening, and on the following Saturday morning all
usually by the schools holding a competition among          staff and pupils attended a visit to the National
the pupils - as well as a couple of members of staff.       Glass Centre.
At the Thornhill meeting in February 2003 pupils not
only reviewed the modules of work for the final year,       All pupils have gained considerably from the
but also worked together on a collaborative music           experience. Similarities and differences have been
project in school time. Chris Mullin MP attended the        explored, contemporary EU issues have been
opening discussion and addressed the whole group.           examined and pupils have made lasting friendships.
Social activities were carried out too. On the Friday
evening parents and pupils were invited to a bowling

 The International School Award
 The International School Award (ISA) is given in recognition of all the work in the international dimension that
 a school has done during an academic year. The best thing about it is that you can start from nothing and
 have the award given for your first year of international work.

 The first thing you have to do is a school audit of the international work that you already do or have done.
 Then put together an action plan to say what you intend to do the following academic year. The next
 submission dates for the action plans are April 2004 and June 2004. If your action plan is approved, you will
 be asked to submit a dossier of evidence for your international work for the academic year 2004-2005. The
 dossier has to be submitted in July 2005, the decision is made over the summer, and the awards are made in

 You don’t get any money for the ISA, but you do get a very nice certificate, ISA status which lasts 3 years, and
 a logo for your school letterhead.

 At the moment, only two schools in Sunderland have the award and another is working through its action

 For more information, have a look at There is lots
 of information and case studies, and this is where you can download the application form and other useful
 documents. You can also phone John Rolfe at the British Council on 020 7389 4419.

 Teachers’ International Professional Development (TIPD)
 This programme enables teachers to learn from good practice overseas. There are four strands:

 Strand 1:        A group of teachers and an LEA facilitator form a project group to examine a certain theme
                  in another country. The length of the stay is usually between five and eight days, with travel
                  days in addition. A minimum of two teachers per school participate.

 Strand 2:        Two teachers from the same school take part in a short-term exchange overseas.

 Strand 3:        Study Visits to Developing Countries – this strand is 50% funded by DfID, the Department for
                  International Development.

 Strand 4:        The School Determined Programme allows individual schools to make their own bid for a
                  visit in which between two and four teachers participate. The intention is that they visit an
                  existing partner school. This strand of TIPD is massively undersubscribed at present.

 There is more information as well as news and case studies on the British Council website
         as well as the DfES site


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