Here we are to talk about education and the new challenges in this field

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why school projects are good, really good

My first international school project started in 2001 – so long ago. Everything was at the beginning then: finding partners, setting up international projects. But, I was lucky to find a school from Milan, Italy and to start work together. We designed a bilingual school magazine, in English and French, called Youth Magazine / Le Journal Europeen de la Jeunesse, on different themes, such as music, sports, fashion, and cuisine. It was a real success. 

Then, every single school year I involved my students in a school project. I can count about 50 so far. And I love doing this job as the advantages for students and teachers couldn’t be found anywhere else.  Of course there are disadvantages too. You can’t set up a project without having some money, as you need it for the final products (for instance paper, cartridges, internet connection, etc). And they need time – if you are not willing to spend some time on working on the project, give up. And they can create conflicts, as not all the students or teachers can be involved, and you, as coordinator, must be aware of this.  But the advantages are so many…
First of all you can discover: your partners, another country with its background, culture, language. And you discover yourself, as you can’t introduce yourself to your partner without knowing who you are and what you want, where you come from, what makes you unique. One of my favorite school projects involved a school from Tehran, Iran. We worked together in the Mondialogo School Contest – we created a magazine on our holidays and we were simply amazed to see so many similarities, even if we come from two different cultures, two different religions… 
If you are lucky enough and you have a grant, you can visit your partner, together with your students and colleagues. In this way you get to know your partner even better.
Another important aspect is the language. You can practice the language of the project (mainly English or French) and your students become aware of the fact that this language is alive , not only in their textbooks or notebooks.
After a project everything improves – your students’ knowledge, yourself, your teaching methods. You can get and share experience, you know new people and you discover the people around you, as you work in a less formal way.